Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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.

Over the past century, the iconic Girl Scout style has evolved, bringing new materials, features, and designs that align with modern girls’ interests and passions.

Reflecting on our history, we’ve opened our archives and found some rare photos you likely won’t see anywhere else that showcase how the girl uniform evolved.

Don’t forget to show us your take on #GSStyle by tagging @girlscouts on social media.

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


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

1925: Juliette Gordon Low and two Girl Scouts posing for a photo. Notice the patches on the girls’ sleeves. Also, 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).


1927: A Girl Scout Brownie spending time outdoors watering plants. How do you like her shiny black shoes?

FUN FACT: In 1926, Brown Book for Brown Owls, the first official leader’s program guide for Brownies, was published and Girl Scout Brownies received their own insignia. New “Girl Scout green” uniforms were adopted in 1928 for girls and adults to replace the khaki uniforms worn earlier in the decade.

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


1930s: Looking flawless, troop! Just some final touches on that sleeve. Have you noticed how the hat changed? This hat style reflects the fashion of the late 1920s and early 1930s.


FUN FACT: The first uniform specifically designed for Girl Scout Seniors was introduced in 1938.

1938: The first Girl Scout Senior uniform—lookin’ sharp!


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


FUN FACT: During the era of 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 very trendy accessory in the early 1930s.

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


1940: The Girl Scout Mariner uniform close-up—so stylish!


FUN FACT: 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. 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 overseas-style hat.

1948: Girl Scout Senior in her button-front dress with short sleeves designed by Mainboucher. Looks cute and practical!

1953: Girl Scout Intermediate and her poster twin!


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


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


FUN FACT: The 1960s brought about major social change, from the Vietnam War to the struggle for racial equality to the birth of the counterculture. The Girl Scout national organization invited suggestions from Girl Scouts across the country, asking for their preferences in uniforms. Girls 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.


FUN FACT: Political and social changes continued into the 1970s. The Girl Scout uniform adapted as well. In 1973, Girl Scout Juniors could choose from five separates to create 12 different uniform looks. Among the options were 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!


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

1995: Cadettes and Seniors lined up for a group shot! How do you like the striped shirts?


2000s:

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 those?

TODAY: Redesigned for the first time in nearly 20 years, the NEW Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador uniform and official apparel collection are all about giving girls opportunities to express their individuality! The new sash and vest incorporate modern details, including pockets, button-up closure, and a cinched waist for an easy fit. It is a modern, wearable collection that can be worn to school, for hiking or in the outdoors, while selling cookies, or at a troop meeting—exciting! Although the NEW sash and vest are officially here, you can still wear your existing Cadette, Senior, Ambassador sash, and vest. Who doesn’t love MORE OPTIONS?


Shop the look and preorder by September 8, 2020, to unlock a 10% discount with promotion code GSSTYLE10.

Juliette Gordon Low’s original vision of an organization for girls that emphasizes inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance, and service remains today. As Girl Scouts, we will always be guided by our core values, no matter how the iconic uniform changes.

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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