Uniforms on Parade
Anchors away! Our first group of nurses are wearing stylish government issue nursing uniforms from the turn-of-the-century, complete with corsets, high necklines, and white puffy skirts. Since these gals are the first twenty nurses appointed to the US Navy in 1908, it’s only appropriate that their nursing caps resemble little white sail boats perched on their heads. I bet these uniforms were a real treat to wear during hot weather and high tide.
Excuse me nurse, but are those swastikas on your scarf? This Latvian nurse is modeling a rare type of uniform, which was worn only by Liepaja Brigade of Nurses. Good grief, didn't she know that dressing up like a Nazi nurse is definitely a fashion don’t. Apparently, they didn’t have fashion consultants back then. This photo is from 1928.
This young woman is modeling the popular “Angel of Mercy” look, accessorized with a red cross on her apron, and real angels flying overhead. This uniform is a tribute to French fashion sense.
Our next model looks like a contestant from the old TV show, “Queen for a Day.” She is sitting on her thrown, wearing her cape and white cap that is perched on her head like a crown. There was a time when nurses were treated like royalty. Now nurses are treated like assembly line workers. And people wonder why there is a nursing shortage.
According to the back of this picture, Claudette is wearing a Christian Dior culotte “everall,” in white drill (whatever that is) with a long zipper. Designed by Jorn Lanberg, this outfit was not worn with white nursing shoes—everyone knows you never wear white shoes after Labor Day—or a real nurses cap. The reason this uniform never caught had to do with its price tag. If your patients were throwing up on you, would you wear something expensive? The photo is dated October 17, 1971.
It’s back to the future in this electric dress designed by avant-garde artist, Atsuko Tanakas. The first electric dress was made in 1956, and was a combination of the tradition Japanese kimono and modern industrial technology. The first dress was made entirely of wires and more than one hundred colored light bulbs and neon light tubes that flashed every two and a half minutes. Today’s electric dress would make a great nursing uniform of tomorrow. Nurses could check IV at night without turning on lights and waking their patients.