The sailor costume has evolved over many years, so there’s plenty of choice!
Kids can choose from the classic old sailor uniforms in blue and white through to modern replicas of real combat uniforms worn by the U.S. Navy every day.
Kids might have different ideas about how their costume should look, so it’s worth asking them first what kind of sailor they want to be.
The Breton sailor style
This is probably the easiest look to put together:
breton sailor costume
All you need are jeans cut off at the knee, a blue and white striped sailor top, and a sailor hat.
Your child could wear white plimsolls or sneakers, too. This costume is great for both boys and girls, and is good for a summer sailor style!
The vintage sailor suit
This became a popular look in Victorian times, and is white, with the classic blue flat collar and V-neck, plus a tie or neckerchief.
Here’s a variation on that theme for a girl:
girl sailor suit costume
Her collar is white, but with blue stripes. Your girl could wear a plain white dress, and you could add a collar and tie – or bow tie as above – to match, as well as adding a double blue stripe feature along the bottom seam of the dress.
Of course, there’s a much older style of sailor outfit that’s well known to many kids through the popularity of pirate movies like Pirates of the Caribbean. The character of Admiral James Norrington from these movies is a great example to work from.
He’s a typical British seaman, with the white curly wig and three-point hat, and a navy blue dress coat lined with gold buttons.
Modern sailor costumes
In the U.S. Navy, there are quite a few differences between uniforms depending on the rank of the sailor.
This navy uniform provides camouflage:
modern navy uniform
Sailor costumes can range from orange jumpsuits for Navy pilots, to formal dinner dress, but the most popular kids’ costume is probably the Admiral or sea Captain’s look, which is all white, and includes matching white shoes.
Just make sure your child doesn’t wear this one when there’s going to be food around or outdoor games to be played, because it probably won’t stay white for very long!
You can easily create this look with a white shirt, smart white pants and shoes, and an official looking hat – usually white with a blue fringe or completely blue. The hat should have the Navy insignia on the front with some gold trimming.
Other service uniforms can be blue, white or khaki. To make them look authentic they’ll need to have badges on the chest and shoulder, as well as stripes on the sleeve to indicate rank.
Of course, sailors need weapons! Modern sailors will have guns – anything from a toy pistol to a plastic assault rifle will do the trick here.
Classic sailors, on the other hand, have their swords or very early flint-lock pistols and muskets. Classic sailor swords include the smallsword and the cutlass – these are particular styles of swords that suit the 1700s era. If you want the costume to be as authentic as possible, try to find a sword style that matches the clothing.
Popeye is a character many of us remember from our own childhoods, and he’s still around for today’s generation of kids to enjoy.
There are basic, fun Popeye costumes that even include forearms with anchor tattoos that kids can wear over their real arms.
Popeye wears light blue pants, a yellow belt and a dark blue shirt with red around the collar. He also has the distinctive plain white sailor’s hat.