This website has been developed as a spin-off from my main Guiding history website, www.lesliesguidinghistory.webs.com
From the first authorised Girl Scout uniforms in 1909, right through to the present-day mix-and-match ranges, a key feature of the Guiding club has been the wearing of uniform. The reason behind having a uniform was usually explained as a desire for equality - that the uniform would serve to hide differences of background, and allow all members to be and be perceived to be equal. It was also intended to combine practicality with smartness. The effectiveness of this in regard to early uniforms in particular, can be seen by the number of studio portraits which survive of early Guides and Brownies in their uniform. For many, especially in poorer districts, it was their smartest outfit.
Uniform continues to serve the same purpose of equality today, with all members wearing the same uniforms at meetings regardless of background.
On these pages, my focus will be on UK Guiding uniforms. But there will be parallels which can be drawn by those in other countries as we look at the progression in uniforms - from cotton frocks through to trousers, from formal hats to informal caps, from rigid uniformity to flexible options. There is also fashion history which can be seen in the changing uniforms with the rise of hemlines, changing types of fabrics, alterations in cut, and the changing clothes size of the average child over 110 years of history. People are quick to criticise the uniform of their day, and to consider those of other eras to have been the ideal - whatever the uniform of the day was, it was always unpopular with some!
I have tried to include as many example photographs as possible, to illustrate the text. These should be taken as generalised images - they show uniforms either in period photographs or in later recreations. As such, there may be minor errors such as badges in the wrong place, or people wearing older uniforms or badge layouts where newer ones have come in.
As well as the official uniforms, I have also tried to include some of the 'leisurewear' - an indication of the non-uniform garments permitted or issued, whether practicalwear for camps, overalls for Rangers carrying out boatwork or car repair, or leisurewear for non-uniform occasions. I'd by happy to receive information on other items from trading catalogues to add to these pages, as I'm aware this section is far from complete.
My thanks to friends who have helped by supplying images - this website was conceived and created during the Covid-19 lockdown and, as such, I haven't always had access to the resources I might have wished. A request for images helped to supply some I did not have to hand, and fill the gaps - I am grateful for their generosity in allowing their images to be used.
As with my other websites, the website fees for this site come out of my own pocket. If you would care to donate towards these, there is a button below which would enable you to do so.