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Women's Uniforms

Changes Made in Wave Uniform Regulations

The following changes in Wave uniform regulations have recently been approved:

Wearing of gilt buttons, instead of blue plastic buttons, by CPOs on blue and white service jackets.

Removal of blue service jacket indoors by officers and enlisted women, when authorized by the CO.

Wearing of rating badge and seaman markings on the short-sleeved white shirt.

Omission of tie when authorized by CO, within station limits and only when jacket is removed.

Optional use of black handbag shoulder strap when the gray working uniform is prescribed.

These changes, contained in a letter from the Chief of Naval Personnel, dated 28 Dec. 1944, to all naval activities in the U.S. and Commandant, 14th Naval District, are to be incorporated in change No. 6 of Uniform Regs, Women's Reserve, USNR. The regulation providing for gilt buttons for CPOs is made effective by the letter. The others go into effect upon issuance of change No. 6.

Source: "Changes Made in Wave Uniform Regulations."All Hands. 335 (February 1945): 79.


44-557-Navy Nurse Corps Uniforms

Pers-34-RT, JJ55-3, 2 May 1944


1.The Secretary of the Navy has recently approved the following for members of the Navy Nurse Corps:

(a)During such time as the members of the Navy Nurse Corps have actual rank they are authorized to wear the cap insignia as now worn by commissioned officers of the Navy with similar black mohair braid and without the gold strap and buttons.

(b)A slate-gray uniform is authorized as an optional item of uniform of the following general specifications:

Color: Gray (in conformity with the officers' gray working uniform).

Style: One piece, double-breasted, open front, notched revers and collar, long sleeves with two-button cuffs; six-gore skirt with full kick pleat center front; loose belt with two buttons.

Material: Plain weave cotton, rayon, or tropical worsted.

Buttons: Blue-black plastic (22 ½ and 35 line), regulation.

Insignia: Right collar tip, miniature rank insignia; left collar tip, miniature Nurse Corps insignia.

Caps: 1. Regulation cap with gray cap cover. 2. Gray garrison cap (miniature rank insignia worn on right side, miniature cap device on left side, each 2 inches from front edge).

Accessories: SHOES, black; HOSE, beige; GLOVES, gray; PURSE, regulation.

The above uniform may be worn in lieu of service dress white at informal occasions. Service dress white will be worn at official and social occasions where formal or semiformal summer civilian dress would be appropriate.

(c)Lower pocket on white outdoor uniform-Change from bellows pocket to patch pocket in conformity with officers' gray working uniform.*

(d)White indoor uniform-Change to coat type by opening front all the way for greater ease in donning.*

* = During the necessary transition period nurses will be permitted to wear white outdoor uniforms and white indoor uniforms now in their possession or manufactured until the supply of these uniforms in stock is exhausted or those in possession are won out.

-- BuPers L.E. Denfeld.

Source: "Navy Nurse Corps Uniforms." Navy Department Bulletin. (January-June, 1944): 560-561.



46-1504-Navy Nurse Corps Uniforms

Pers-329-MEB, QR/JJ55, 13 July 1946


(Ref.: (a) US Navy Uniform Regulations, 1941, ch. XIV, "Nurse Corps.")
(Enc.: (A) Regulations Governing the Wearing of the Gray Seersucker Working Uniform, Reserve Blue Working Smock, and Navy Blue Slacks by Members of the Navy Nurse Corps.)

1.The Secretary of the Navy has approved the optional wearing of a gray seersucker working uniform, reserve blue working smock, and Navy blue slacks by members of the Navy Nurse Corps. These articles of uniform, with their accessories, shall be the same as those prescribed for members of the Women's Reserve, and they shall be worn in exactly the same manner as that prescribed for WAVES, with the following exceptions:

(a)Navy Nurse Corps insignia shall be substituted for WAVE insignia.

(b)No jacket devices shall be worn on the rounded ends of jacket lapels.

2.Pending revision of reference (a), enclosure (A) shall govern the wearing of these articles of uniform. The gray working uniform dress (cotton, rayon, or tropical worsted) previously authorized may be worn until the supply of these dresses in stock is exhausted or those in possession are worn out. - BuPers. Felix Johnson.

Enclosure (A)


1.The following is the designation of the gray working uniform:

Coat[1]: Gray (Seersucker)
Dress: Gray (Seersucker)
Garrison Cap: Gray (Seersucker)
Necktie [2]: Black (two-piece)
Hose: Beige
Shoes: Black
Gloves [3]: Black
Handbag [4]: Black
Buttons: Blue-black
Ribbons [5]: Yes
Collar insignia [6]: Yes
Aviation insignia [7]: Yes
Sleeve stripes [8]: Blue
Corps devices [9]: Blue

1 The coat of the working uniform may be removed indoors. It may be omitted when authorized by the commanding officer.
2 The commanding officer may authorize the omission of the necktie only within station limits and only when the coat is removed.
3 Optional.
4 WAVES' black leather handbag or Nurses' cordé purse. The use of the shoulder strap of the black leather handbag is optional.
5 On the coat of the gray working uniform one or two rows of ribbons shall be centered on the left pocket flap and each succeeding row shall be worn above the pocket flap. When the coat is not worn, ribbons shall be worn on the dress centered immediately above the top of the pocket.
6 Metal pin-on rank device shall be worn on the right collar and gold metal pin-on corps device shall be worn on the left collar tip. The devices shall be centered on the dress collar 1" from the front edge and shall be placed at right angles to the inside edge; i.e., the neckline.
7 Aviation insignia shall be centered on the left pocket flap of the coat. When worn with ribbons, the aviation insignia shall be placed above the pocket flap. When the coat is not worn, aviation insignia shall be worn on the dress, centered immediately above the top of the pocket. When worn with ribbons, the aviation insignia shall be uppermost, ¼" above the top row of ribbons.
8 Sleeve stripes shall be navy blue mohair, cotton, or rayon braid.
9 Corps devices (embroidered) shall be Navy blue silk, rayon, or cotton embroidery except that the acorn shall be reserve blue.

2. Reserve blue working smock.-The smock is to be used as a laboratory uniform by members of the Nurse Corps taking courses such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, and dietetics. Pin-on devices of rank and corps may be worn in the same relative position as prescribed for the gray working uniform.

3. Navy blue slacks.-Navy blue slacks may be prescribed for wear on occasions when the wearing of other uniforms is not practicable, such as on travel status overseas.

Source: "Navy Nurse Corps Uniforms." Navy Department Bulletin. (July-December, 1946): 250-251.


Slacks to Replace Coveralls for W R

Navy blue denim dungaree slacks and blue cotton chambray shirts may be designated for Women's Reservists when the nature of their work requires protective covering, under latest uniform changes announced 25 January 1944 by the Chief of Naval Personnel in a letter to all continental shore stations (Pers. 34-RT-A2-3).

These items eventually will replace the aviation coverall which will not be manufactured after the dungaree slacks and chambray shirts have been put into production. When these are prescribed for work, wearing of the regulation men's dungaree trousers and chambray shirt is optional.

When prescribed by the commanding officer, the navy blue garrison cap, now authorized for male personnel, may be worn by Women's Reserve officers and chief petty officers within station limits. Wearing of sweaters is optional when necessary for protection, and when approved by the commanding officer.

Further changes in the uniform regulations also are contained in the letter.

Source: "Slacks to Replace Coveralls for W R."All Hands. 324 (March 1944): 67.


W-V(S) Officers to Wear Stars on Their Uniforms

Officers of the Women's Reserve who are classified W-V(S) are authorized to wear a blue star above the sleeve braid on their uniforms by BuPers ltr. Pers-34-ECS QR/JJ55, dated 15 Sept. 1944. The ruling affects of all Wave officers except those of the staff corps, for whom existing staff insignia has already been authorized.

The star will be embroidered in reserve blue for the navy blue uniforms and in navy blue for the white and grey uniforms. It is to be centered on the sleeve one-fourth inch above the braid with the lower ray pointed downward. The insignia may be worn beginning 15 Oct. 1944. All W-V(S) officers are required to have the star on their uniforms after 15 Nov. 1944.

The directive also permits officers to wear metal pin-on collar devices on working smocks. W-V(S) officers wear the rank insignia on both sides of the collar; staff officers wear the corps insignia on the left side of the working smock collar and the rank device on the right side. The insignia is to be centered on the collar one inch from the front edge.

Source: "W-V(S) Officers to Wear Stars on Their Uniforms." All Hands. 331 (October 1944): 68.


WAVES Get Slacks, White Uniforms: Summer Work Uniforms to be Navy Blue

Navy blue for work. White for dress.

These are the latest and final changes in summer uniforms of the Women's Reserve of the Navy established in circular letter JJ55-3, dated February 4, 1943.

The service dress white was approved for enlisted personnel as well as officers after it was decided to change the color of the summer working uniform from reserve to navy blue, which resulted in keeping the WAVES in navy blue the year around.

White will be optional for enlisted WAVES but required for officers.

A white, short-sleeved, cotton gabardine shirtwaist will be the shirt worn with the summer blue uniform. Enlisted women will wear their rating marks on the sleeves of these shirts. Officers will wear collar insignia. Removal of the suit jackets while working will be permissible.

Black shoes will be worn with working uniform and white shoes with the service dress uniform. It is now permissible for women to wear buckle type shoes with dress uniform, both winter and summer.

The working uniform will be a cotton gabardine suit instead of the previously announced reserve blue suit of the same material, and will be of the same design as the woolen winter uniform. The change was made because the reserve blue color, now used for winter work shirts and for officers' sleeve stripes, was found to be unsatisfactory for the entire suit.

When wearing the white uniform, women will not use the black leather should strap attached to the uniform pocket. The pocketbook will be carried in hand.

New articles of uniform for WAVES include tailored wool or cotton slacks. The slacks are to be worn with the wool or cotton uniform jacket, depending on the season, and will be used only where the work actually demands that the women wear trousers and the commanding officer so orders.

A lightweight summer raincoat and rain hat are being designed for women reservists.

Other new articles include an aviation coverall and working smocks, to be worn by women performing duties that, if handled by male personnel, would call for dungarees.

Garrison caps are not regulation for the WAVES.

The following stores have been selected by the Board of Review to distribute uniforms and accessories to members of the Women's Reserve:

CALIFORNIA: San Diego, to be elected; San Francisco, The Emporium. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Washington, Julius Garfinckel and Co., The Hecht Co., Frank R. Jelleff, Inc. FLORIDA:Jacksonville, Cohen Brothers, Ship's Service Department (U.S. Naval Air Station); Miami, Burdine's, Inc.; Pensacola, to be selected.

GEORGIA: Atlanta, Rich's Inc.; Milledgeville, Union Dry Goods (Macon). ILLINOIS: Chicago, Carson Pirie and Scott, Marshall Field and Company. INDIANA: Bloomington, L.S. Ayres and Company (Indianapolis). IOWA: Cedar Falls, Hughes Dry Goods (Accessories only), The James Black Dry Goods (Coats and suits only) (Waterloo, Iowa).

LOUISIANA: New Orleans, Maison Blanche Co. MASSACHUSETTS:Boston, William Filene's Sons Co.; Northampton, William Filene's Sons Co. NEW YORK: New York City, Abraham and Straus, B. Altman and Co., Bloomingdale's, Frederick Loeser and Co., Lord and Taylor, R.H. Macy and Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, John Wanamaker.

OHIO: Cleveland, The Halle Brothers Co. OKLAHOMA: Norman, Ship's Service Dept. (Naval Training School), Rothschild's B and M; Stillwater, Rothschild's B and M. PENNSYLVANIA: Philadelphia, Strawbridge and Clothier. RHODE ISLAND: Quonset Point, Gladding's (Providence).

TENNESSEE: Memphis, O. Lowenstein and Co. TEXAS: Corpus Christi, Perkins Brothers Co. WASHINGTON: Pasco, Ship's Service Dept. (Naval Air Station); Seattle, Frederick and Nelson. WISCONSIN: Madison, Harry S. Manchester, Inc.

Source: "WAVES Get Slacks, White Uniforms: Summer Work Uniform to be Navy Blue." All Hands. 312 (March 1943): 20, 50.


Waves to Have Exercise Suit

An exercise suit, consisting of light blue denim shorts and matching skirt, to be worn with a long or short-sleeved white shirt and blue or white ankle socks, has been approved for wearing by members of the Women's Reserve when participating in sports activities which require this type of garment.

The garment may be purchased from unappropriated welfare funds and provided as an item of station equipment whenever the CO makes participation obligatory in a particular sport for which the exercise suit is deemed appropriate.

The suit is to be purchased by the women themselves whenever the CO designates that the garment must be worn by enlisted personnel taking part in any particular sport but in which participation is not obligatory.

Whenever the CO has not prescribed a regulation outfit for sports, the garment may be worn optionally by officers and enlisted personnel while engaging in any sports activity for which the suit is appropriate.

Other exercise suits which have been authorized by local COs may be worn until the present supply is exhausted or those in possession are no longer serviceable. The new garment will not be available in the stores for several months.

For details see the letter from the Chief of Naval Personnel dated 16 Nov. 1944 to all naval activities in the U.S. and commandants of 10th, 14th, 15th, and 17th Naval Districts and NOB, Bermuda (QR/JJ55 Pers-34-ECS).

Source: "Waves to have Exercise Suit." All Hands. 333 (December 1944): 77.


What the Well-Dressed Wave Will Wear

Next spring Women's Reserve personnel will don gray-and-white, striped seersucker dresses, replacing the navy-blue cotton suit. The skirt of the new uniform dress has a generous kick pleat and set-in belt. A new button-on tie is fastened at the collarline of the bodice, eliminating bulky material at the back of the neck.

To complete the new uniform a long sleeved collarless jacket of matching design will be worn over the dress. Fitted snugly at the waist, it has one real and three simulated flap pockets. Except for the crown which carries out the striped seersucker motif, hat styles will not be altered.

Officer personnel will wear exactly the same uniforms except for insignia of rank and officer hat. The change was made to provide more convenient washable hot-weather garb, and in basic design will be similar to present uniforms.

A new working smock has been designed for spring wear for personnel of hospital corps and other activities authorized to wear smocks in place of regular uniforms. With a full-cut, bias skirt and draped back, the new navy-blue broadcloth smock will give more practical comfort.

Both officer and enlisted personnel will wear a new lightweight raincoat for spring showers next year. In basic design, but lighter fabric, it is identical with the regular Women's Reserve raincoat. An officer's havelock will cover the hat and snap securely under the chin.

Changes in winter uniform regulations for Women Reservists: (1) The navy blue shirt may be worn by all personnel at work; (2) the reserve blue shirt, or the white shirt, may be worn optionally for dress.

Black, moderately styled, dress shoes with regulation dress heel of 2-inches may be worn with the working uniform, except during periods of drill at which time the commanding officer may prescribe service shoes. Plain rayon, silk or lisle thread hose are within regulations at all times and on all occasions.

Source: "What the Well-Dressed Wave Will Wear."All Hands. 320 (November 1943): 78.



Navy Department
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Washington, D.C. 20350

[31 July 1972]


Women's New Dress Blues Aren't Blue

The Navy has announced a new Service Dress Blue uniform for enlisted women to be effective when current uniform stocks are depleted. The uniform was developed to be compatible with men's new enlisted uniform.

The uniform features changes in color, material and insignia, but retains the present style. The new uniform will be black rather than the present Navy blue, and will be made from a new 10-ounce polyester/wool tropical blend material rather than the present 12-ounce serge.

Collar devices (embroidered anchor and propellor) will be eliminated so that the uniform will match the plain collar style of the men's uniform.

The women's new uniform will feature pewter buttons and a new pewter hat device, also like the men's, which displays the letters, "U.S.N.", over an eagle.

Source: "Women's New Dress Blues Aren't Blue."OPNAV Information Bulletin. 31 July 1972: p. [1?].

Published: Thu Jan 12 10:25:13 EST 2017