United States Navy enlisted dress uniform, ca.1945

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


The United States Navy enlisted dress blue uniform evolved little in the 20th century. The jumper or shirt includes an iconic back flap with three stripes and two stars. The Navy added stripes, called lace, in 1876. In 1944, the Navy transitioned from a cropped style jumper, tight at the waist, to the straight style seen here.The bell-bottom trousers, introduced in 1817, include wide legs easily rolled up, or removed when abandoning ship.The Navy phased out bell bottom trousers for dress uniforms in 1977, the most significant design change in 100 years.

In 1945, William Barnes “Bill” Jordan, Jr. (1927-2015) enlisted in the US Navy after graduating high school. He served over a year before attending the University of Maine. An honorable discharge "Raptured Duck" badge appears on the uniform’s right breast.

Seaman 2nd Class Jordan’s uniform includes a special feature known as "Liberty Cuffs." The embroidered design under each wrist was both non-regulation and illegal in the United States military. The practice dates to the turn-of-the-century, outlawed in 1910. Yet, it continued, with increased popularity amongst US Navy sailors serving in the Pacific during World War II. The design is only visible when sleeves are rolled up, typically when on leave or “liberty.”

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About This Item

  • Title: United States Navy enlisted dress uniform, ca.1945
  • Creation Date: circa 1945
  • Subject Date: circa 1945
  • Location: USA
  • Media: Wool, cotton
  • Local Code: 1996.7.36.1
  • Collection: Costume collection
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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