Sailor Pants are an instantly recognisable, iconic garment still often seen on fashion catwalks. Their timeless appeal comes from their flattering shape – a high waist and wide legs creating a sleek silhouette. They were a staple piece in women’s wardrobes in the 1930s and 40s, inspired by 1920s Asian clothing and worn as lounge pants.
In the 1920s, there were very few options for women wanting to wear trousers. They were rarely seen in public, used only for lounging in the home, sports activities, and the beach. Lounging trousers and beach pyjamas were actually very similar, allowing women to go from the beach to home respectably.
In the 1930s came the introduction of suspender overalls for young girls. These were for messy outdoor play and were sturdier than the pretty dresses and skirts children often wore. Fashion companies soon realised that women wanted these too. Many women had taken to wearing men’s overalls for tougher, dirtier jobs, so workwear options were finally introduced for them.
But it didn’t stop there. Sailor pants were already popular with men, usually in navy blue and white designs, with contrasting stripes and buttons and anchor or sailboat motifs. Sometimes they even had a rope belt.
Women’s versions had side button openings instead of a front fly and were called slacks. They were high-waisted, with wide legs that were either cuffed or flared. They became more popular for everyday wear when stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford and Ingrid Bergman started to wear them in public.
Plain slacks were often worn for farm or factory work. They’d have elements that were considered masculine, like belt loops, pleats, and coin pockets, and were made with sturdy fabrics like denim, cotton, and wool.
Once WW2 hit, beach pyjamas fell out of fashion, as they were seen as a waste of valuable fabric. The sailor leg tapered slightly so they were more practical for factory work. These trousers were not very flattering to the female form, but demand pushed fashion houses to introduce more feminine cuts after the war. Sailor pants paved the way for the bolder bell-bottomed trousers of the 1960s and 70s.
We’ve taken all the best bits of trousers from the 1930s and 40s and bundled them up into these stylish sailor pants. The wide legs and high waist perfectly emulate the vintage look, while the front-opening buttons nod back to men’s early trouser designs.
The effect is incredibly flattering, with the trousers elongating your legs and accentuating your waist for a slimming look. Made with a viscose-mix polyester, they have a slight stretch and feel airy for the most comfortable wear. They are also very versatile and easy to dress up or down, depending on the activity.
These gorgeous trousers are perfect for throwing on when you just don’t know what to wear. Add a blouse and retro accessories to get more smarter retro look or try our Ann striped top with a cropped cardigan and beret to really enhance that 1930s nautical chic style.
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