Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Girl Scout Uniform Through the Decades



For over a century, Girl Scouts have proudly worn distinctive uniforms that symbolize the high ideals for which the organization stands—and yet Girl Scout style has evolved in the past 100 years, bringing new materials, designs, and other features that align with modern girls’ interests and passions.

Reflecting on our history, we opened our archives and found some rare photos you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. We hope you enjoy! And don’t forget to show us your take on #GirlScoutStyle by tagging @girlscouts on social media.

FUN FACT: In 1914, Girl Scout uniforms began to be manufactured. Juliette Gordon Low ordered a stock of blue uniforms, with khaki to be sent only by special request. But the girls preferred khaki—they were developing an interest in outdoor activities and considered it more practical for hiking, picnicking, and camping. And so khaki it was, which was used until 1928.

1924: Planting a commemorative tree in style! We’re loving this action shot of Juliette Gordon Low and the elegant hats featuring the iconic Girl Scout Trefoil.



1925: Juliette Gordon Low and two Girl Scouts. Notice the patches on the girls’ sleeves. And can you spot the difference between the two girl uniforms? One is a shirt dress and the other one is a two-piece (skirt and blouse).



1928: Girl Scouts having the best time camping and modeling those NEW “Girl Scout green” uniforms.



Girl Scout Jeanne (pictured below) at the International Festival in Chicago, Illinois, in 1930.



1935: Girl Scout Mariners climbing aboard! We’re in for smooth sailing!



1938: May the forest be with you! This cool basket backpack is the ultimate Girl Scout accessory!



During the Great Depression, Girl Scouts aided in relief efforts by collecting food and clothing, making quilts, carving wooden toys, and assisting in hospitals. Uniform silhouettes were updated, and troops began wearing berets, a trendy accessory in the early 1930s.

1940s: These Girl Scouts are serious about practicing their knot-tying skills!



In 1944, Girl Scouts sold calendars instead of cookies due to ingredient rations during World War II. Over the next few years, the look of Girl Scout uniforms went largely unchanged due to the low availability of materials in wartime. Girl Scout Intermediates and Seniors continued to wear green dresses paired with yellow neckerchiefs, and Brownies wore brown shirt dresses with short sleeves. Wartime restrictions on the use of metals led to the zippers in uniforms being replaced with button-fronts.

FUN FACT: Designer Mainbocher, a popular haute couture American label at the time, created a Girl Scout uniform for Seniors that included a short-sleeved dress with a dark-green cowhide belt and a hat.

1948: Two New York Girl Scouts model a new version of the uniform (left) and an older version (right). The new uniform features a longer skirt and button-down front and is designed by Mainbocher.



1948: The most adorable Girl Scout troop portrait. Was the cat an honorary Girl Scout? We think so!



1957: The best memories are made at Girl Scout camp!



1960s: Two Girl Scout Cadettes looking busy making the world a better place.



The 1960s brought about major social change, from the Vietnam War to the struggle for racial equality to the birth of the counterculture. The national office of Girl Scouts solicited uniform preferences from girls across the country. What they wanted: pants, a uniform with no waistline, big pockets, and a neat, sporty “un-uniform” made of easy-to-care-for fabrics. More change was on the horizon!

1970: Girl Scout Brownie with her furry friend—too cute!



1978: Girl Scout Cadettes—sisterhood forever.



Monumental political and social change continued into the 1970s, and the Girl Scout uniform adapted alongside. In 1973, Girl Scout Juniors could choose from five separates to create twelve different uniform looks. Among the options was a green A-line jumper with step-in styling, four-button placket, inverted front pleat, and large patch pockets.

1978: Picture-perfect smiles. Let the good times roll!



1981: Girl Scout Senior: On my honor!



FUN FACT: In 1984, Girl Scouts launched the Girl Scout Daisy program for five-year-old girls or girls in kindergarten.

1984: Girl Scout Daisies



1992: Girl Scout Seniors proudly showcasing their decorated sashes.



1993: Throw on your shades! It’s party time 1990s’ style!



In 1995, the official Girl Scout Cadette and Senior uniforms included a royal blue skirt or walking shorts; white long-sleeved blouse with royal blue, yellow, and green stripes; a bandana; and an insignia vest or sash.

1995: Cadettes and Seniors line up for a group shot! How about those striped shirts?



FUN FACT: In 2001, the Girl Scout Cadette and Senior uniforms were changed from royal blue to khaki, with a light-blue blouse for Cadettes and a navy-blue blouse for Seniors.

2006: Smiles for miles! Comfortable and casual in their Girl Scout vests.



2019: YES to vest trains embellished with badges and patches that spark joy! Who has one of these?



2020: The Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador uniform and official apparel collection were designed with a Girl Scout’s individuality in mind—because we know that when they can express themselves authentically, Girl Scouts change the world! The new sash and vest incorporate modern details, including pockets, button-up closure, and a cinched waist for an easy fit—design elements that are a must-have for today’s change-markers. So who was behind this major redesign undertaken for the first time in 20 years? Nidhi Bhasin (a Girl Scout alum), Jenny Feng, and Melissa Posner, three creative young designers from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City! See what inspired them and shop Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador styles today!



2021: Ready, set, dress for a sustainable adventure ahead! Inspired by vintage Girl Scout apparel and fashion trends of the ‘90s, the Daisy, Brownie, Junior official apparel and accessories got a major update with nostalgic styles and eco-conscious materials. The new Daisy, Brownie, and Junior tunic, sash, and vest are made of fabric composed of 40% recycled materials.



Our journey to becoming more sustainable also includes a cool new upcycling program! Through the program, existing sash/vest inventory and unused products will be transformed into aprons, pillows, totes, and crossbody bags available for purchase through the Girl Scout Shop and select Girl Scout council stores. The voices of Girl Scouts and parents inspired the sustainable design elements in this year’s update. Shop the new looks before they’re gone!




References:

The Cut of the Cloth, A Brief History of the Girl Scout Uniform, GSUSA, 1999
GSUSA Archives
A Century of Girl Scout Uniforms,” GSCCCblog, 2019, Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast
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