The Lure of the White Shirt






Another recurring theme, that possibly starts pre-puberty and continues into adulthood is the fascination for women wearing some sort of uniform. However, not just any uniform as I'm sure statistics on this subject would reveal. The uniform must contain that essential ingredient, the crisp white, shirt or blouse. Where does this start? Is it the adolescent views of girls, possibly sisters in their riding attire? Whatever the cause, the end result is that groups as diverse as the local gymkhana club, policewomen, WRNS officers and airline stewardesses attract an unusual amount of attention.




Anybody who doubts the power of the white shirt should take a look at the auction houses where women's uniforms sometimes come up for sale. British Army and Airforce uniforms might fetch $100, but a complete WRNS uniform can sell for around $ 400. Why ? WRNS wore a white shirt, the others wore green and grey!
Two of the pictures in this montage (right) show British Airways stewardesses from the 1950's and 2000. Note how the white shirt has gone full circle from military style, through casual to business-woman. On the left are more BA stewardesses from the 1970's.


AAnne Ridler (1930 - 2011), the antithesis of the English Rose Wren, plays a sinister interrogator in 633 Squadron.



Displayed above and left are charming representatives from the world of equestriennes, Italian police, British WRNS, British traffic wardens, British Airways, The evergreen Lois Maxwell (alias Miss Moneypenny), the British police, Lufthansa, US Navy and TWA. All were kindly donated by a reader of the site who knows what he likes, but strangely may not know why he likes it, or when the fascination began.

There appears to be a fascination with what lies beneath the uniform, whether military, civilian or airline. It is a rather strange obsession, since the answer is quite simply, that women will wear what their peers wear, whether they are in uniform or not! Certainly, a uniform demands (or should) a degree of smartness, however, a women in uniform has a job to perform, and in no way will she encumber herself unnecessarily.

Even the equestrienne who may wear a spinal support of some description to protect her back from the rigours of show-jumping is simply copying the sound advice of her peers.- Ivy


Dana Wynter in "Sink the Bismarck"  1960



Yes, there really was a Scottish Airlines that was formed in 1946 and lasted until 1960. Shortly afterwards, Caledonian Airways was formed in 1961, but merged with BUA in 1970 to become British Caledonian. The major difference was that the diverse tartans of Caledonian Airways were replaced by just four tartans. Costs were always a problem with these airlines. In 1987, British Caledonian was bought by British Airways and the pretty white blouse was consigned to history.


Just when the white shirt seemed to be going out of fashion, it has re-surfaced as a fashion item in the USA even if in the most unlikely of places:


















































Some of these beautiful WRNS uniforms will be for sale soon on Ebay, but not the 1048 sadly nor even the 105.


Rapid promotion for Moira: 3rd officer to 2nd officer then to 1st officer. Bt the time she's achieved Chief Officer on the right, her underwear has become far more substantial. Her poor back; all those hours of standing around and shouting at her girls.

(The corset is a Canadian Spirella 325 with front and back-lacing and four rigid and heavy spinal steels.)