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Uniforms

Prior to 1817, files of the Navy Department show no regulations providing for enlisted men's uniforms. But it is noted that in January 1813, upon the arrival of Commodore Decatur at New York with the frigates United States and Macedonia the crew was dressed in blue jackets buttoned loosely over waistcoats, blue bell-bottomed trousers and glazed canvas hats with stiff brims decked with streamers and ribbons. The first regulations covering enlisted men's clothes that can be found appears in the regulations of the Navy issued by Benjamin W. Crowninshiel in September 1817. These regulations provided for both the enlisted man's summer and winter dress. White duck jacket, trousers and vest made up the summer uniform, while the colorful winter outfit included blue jacket and trousers, red vest, yellow buttons and black hat. These regulations also provided that when men swabbed the decks they were to be barefooted and their trousers were to be rolled up. This regulation is often quoted as being the reason for sailors' bell- bottomed trousers, that is, they were made so as to facilitate pulling the bottom up over the thigh. As a result of the introduction of uniforms there became the need for a tailor, so, the rating Ship's Tailor was established in 1869 and changed to Tailor in 1885, and finally Ship's Serviceman was established in 1943.


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Information Courtesy of Naval Historical Center

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