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Message updated 25th June 2023

Tuesday 23 December 2008

In Praise of Sailors by Mitchell - 6

To complete our rummaging through sailors uniforms we finally we reach the flaring bell bottoms which - seen through our fashion-oriented eyes - could be thought of as flashy and impractical.
In some of the previous pictures in this series the bell bottom can seem untidy (19) or camp (18) but on the right man they are very masculine indeed (5) making the wearer seem tall, solid and strong but individualistic. The picture below captures this masculinity (23).

But if you think the flared bottoms of these trousers are just for show, you’d be wrong. They come from the time when sailors went bare footed to keep steady on a wet pitching deck and rolled their trousers up to keep them dry and out of the way while working. The bell bottom is ideal for this as shown in (24).

Sailors uniform drill still includes folding trousers up with horizontal creases.
The picture above is a studio pose of course, (25) below shows the real thing.


 Continued in next installment

Read this series from episode 1

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