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Cotton Seersucker Uniform
(1942 - 1945)

In September 1942, a new hospital uniform made of seersucker fabric began to be used in U.S. Army hospitals overseas (e.g. in France, Belgium, England, Morocco). It was a lightweight brown and white striped fabric. The new uniform took the form of a wraparound dress with a belt at the waist. The dress had short sleeves, two concealed breast pockets, and one larger pocket sewn on the upper left side of the skirt, which was of the obligatory below-the-knee length.

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Uniform, Cotton Seersucker, Nurse’s

A seersucker, hospital uniform in wrap-around style to allow for ease of movement. It is cut along sports lines and closes at the waistline with a tie which eliminates buttons or other types of fasteners.

When worn for hospital duty, the seersucker dress should have appropriate insignia pinned to the collar: the Army Nurse Corps caduceus on the left side and the rank on the right side. The dress was worn in combination with a nurse’s seersucker cap made of the same fabric as the the dress, beige seamed stockings, women's low brown or white leather service shoes, called oxfords, or women's brown leather field shoes (in this case, woolen or cotton socks were additionally worn over the stockings).

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Chateau de Fayembois, 16th General Hospital.jpg


As army nurses often handled stretchers, which sometimes acted as beds, or worked on hospital trains or ships, where they had to climb ladders to the upper beds of patients on bunk beds, it was necessary to start distributing seersucker trousers to nurses. These, combined with shirts of the same fabric, were officially approved in August 1943.

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Shirt, Cotton, Seersucker, Nurse’s

A tailored shirt of brown and white striped cotton seersucker in the same fabric as the seersucker hospital uniform. It has a convertible shirt collar which can be worn open or closed, long sleeves with buttoned cuff closure and two buttoned flap pockets. This shirt is to be worn with the seersucker slacks.

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Slacks, Cotton, Seersucker, Nurse’s

Tailored slacks made in brown and white striped seersucker, with darts at the waistline for proper fit; left side closure and one slash pocket in the right arm seam. A sufficiently wide hem is allowed for alteration in length. They are to be worn with the nurse’s seersucker cotton shirt.

A shirt with two buttoned breast pockets and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs could be worn either fully buttoned up to the neck or with the last button undone and the collar open.

However, the collar always had to bear the Army Nurses Corps caduceus on the left side and the rank on the right, and the shirt itself always had to be tucked into trousers.

Insignia on shirt.jpg

This uniform consisting of seersucker trousers and shirt was complemented by the same headgear and footwear as the seersucker dress, i.e. a nurse’s cap and brown / white oxfords or women’s field shoes.

The first group of U.S. Army nurses to reach Okinawa in the spring of 1945. They're washin

During the summer of 1944, the seersucker hospital uniform completely replaced its predecessor, the nurse’s white cotton uniform, even among army nurses serving in the United States. However, this change did not, at least initially, arouse any enthusiasm among Army Nurse Corps members, since women considered the white uniform a symbol of their profession, for which they had to study very hard. This change, however, came about for purely pragmatic reasons. The seersucker uniform was more practical, durable, easier to clean and pack. Because of the greater variation in the seersucker uniform accessories, especially in terms of shoes (brown oxfords could be worn with the seersucker uniform and the OD service uniform, as opposed to the white nurse’s shoes), a considerable amount of space and weight could be saved in luggage, especially when deployed overseas. The fact that the same hospital uniform was issued to all army nurses also simplified some logistical problems for the army.

Shirt and Slacks, Cotton, Seersucker, Nu
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The nurse's seersucker cap was worn with a hospital dress as well as with slacks and a shirt.

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Cap, Seersucker, Nurse’s

A cotton cap for hospital duty, which opens flat for easy laundering and packing. It forms easily into cap shape and is held in place with self-lacing in the back. The seersucker does not require ironing.

Lt. Hazel Banks on left, and unidentified nurse on right. Army Hospital at Camp Butner in


Officially, three types of footwear were approved for use with the seersucker hospital uniform:

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Shoes, Service, Women’s, Low

Low women’s service shoes are stylish brown oxfords built for comfort. They have 1 ½-inch heels, rubber lifts and leather soles.

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Shoes, Nurse’s, White

White nurse’s shoes are serviceable oxfords with 1 ½-inch heels, rubber lifts and leather soles.

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Shoes, Field, Women’

A 4 ½-inch laced shoe, similar to the Army field shoe, in proper design for women. Standard shoe for the WAC and Army Nurse Corps for drill and field usage. They have 1-inch rubber heels and full rubber soles.

USS Solace Nurse Unit.jpg


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Stockings, Rayon, Women’s

A medium weight, viscose rayon stocking. It is full-fashioned with 4 ½-inch garter top and reinforced foot (reproduction).

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Stockings, Cotton, Beige, Women’s

A medium weight mercerized lisle stocking. It is full-fashioned with 4 ½-inch garter top and reinforced foot (reproduction).

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Anklets, Wool, Women’s

A medium weight, all-wool sock, English rib design with cuff. The heel and toes are reinforced with cotton.


In case of cold weather, the dress could be complemented with a nurse’s olive drab cape or a women's knitted V-neck sweater with hidden pockets on the sides. The sweater could also be worn with a shirt and trousers.

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Cape, OD, Nurse’s

A wool barathea cape of double fabric to give warmth and drape. It has a collar with buttoned tab closure.

Sweater, Coat Style, Nurse’s,

Sweater, Coat Style, Nurse’s, Heather

A medium weight, coat style, wool sweater in rib stitch. It has long sleeves and two set-in pockets.

(The sweater in the photo comes from Sophie Green's collection)

Insignia on the OD cape were placed in exactly the same manner as on the hospital dress: the Army Nurse Corps caduceus on the left side and rank insignia on the right side of the collar. When a sweater was worn, the collar of the dress was always taken out and spread over it.

Insignia on cape.jpg
Nurse Jennie Hedges and Nurse Jenon Qualset, Bari, Italy.jpg

During inclement weather, nurses could also wear a women's officer's field overcoat or field jacket over their hospital uniform. Original photos show, for example, women's M-1943 jackets or men's OD field jackets worn in conjunction with the seersucker hospital uniform.

Uniform, Cotton Seersucker, Nurse’s with

Overcoat, Field, Women’s, Officer’s

A double breasted trench coat of wind resistant, water repellent, cotton poplin. It has a buttoned-on parka hood for use in stormy weather, convertible collar and slit pockets. The officer’s overcoat has shoulder loops.

Uniform, Cotton Seersucker, Nurse’s with

Jacket, Field, M-1943, Women’s

Women’s M-1943 field jacket has fake breast pockets and a regular button front. At the waist, inside the jacket, it has a drawstring to adjust the size.

Chief nurse Maj. Spalding, 1st Lt. Lillian Ahlquist, Capt. Susan Vedder, and Capt. Dorothy
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