Just as the uniform for Girl Scouts, and then early Guides, was rather vague, so even more vague was the uniform for Guiders. None was suggested for leaders of Girl Scouts, and in the November 1909 suggestions for starting a Girl Guide unit, it merely stated 'country walking dress, navy biretta, walking stick. So plenty of room for interpretation there!
By the 1912 handbook there was little more clarity:
Hat. - Dark blue Alpine felt hat, with small plume of cock's feathers. No chin strap.
Gauntlet Gloves. - Brown.
Dress. - Ordinary walking dress.
Shoulder-Knot. - White, on left shoulder.
Whistle. - On white lanyard. Walking stick.
Badge. - Enameled monogram brooch, on necktie.
Officers' dress should be plain, nothing conspicuous."
The Girl Guides' Gazette of October 1915 gave guidance on uniform for Commissioners: "The Commissioner's uniform (optional) consists of shirt blouse, pale blue tie, regulation skirt with 2 pockets, regulation coat with 4 pockets, whistle cord on right shoulder to pocket, ordinary officer's brown belt, commissioner's silver cords on left lapel and shoulder with badge, soft leather gauntlet gloves."
The Girl Guides Gazette of May 1916 further clarified the uniform for Guiders: "Officers' dress confirmed as: Girl Guide hat turned up on left side. Blue Norfolk jacket, black horn buttons, pockets, Girl Guide ordinary blue uniform and blue tie with officers rank badge. Brown leather belt, white shoulder knot, gauntlet gloves (brass buttons forbidden)."
It was in 1918 before the first photograph appeared, to give more detail to the meaning of the uniform instructions which were published in the new handbook, Girl Guiding, in January 1918:
Guider's Uniform: skirt - navy blue, not less than 8 ins. off the ground. Shirt - navy blue. Knickers - navy blue. Coat - navy blue Norfolk with patch pockets and black bone buttons. Tie - light blue or Company colour. Hat - navy blue felt, turned up on the left side with badge according to rank. (long or fancy hatpins should not be worn). Belt - worn over coat. Shoulder Knot - white on left shoulder. Whistle - on white lanyard, worn around the neck and attached to belt on right side.
Guiders Distinguishing Marks: Captain - navy blue cockade, and green badge brooch worn just below the knot of the tie. Lieutenant - Tenderfoot brooch on left of hat and gilt badge brooch worn just below the knot of the tie. Brown Owl - brown cockade, brown tie, Lieutenant's badge.
Further tweaks were added - In February 1926 the hats were altered to have deeper crowns. In July 1926 it was announced that "on or after October 1st 1926, white shirts be worn by Guiders on official occasions." In August 1926 it was announced that white shirts would not be worn by Guiders in Scotland.
It was also in 1926 that County Badges were introduced for Guiding members in England (Guiding members in Ulster, Wales and Scotland, had Country Badges instead). And in June 1933, the camp overall became an alternative summer uniform for Guiders.
Skirt - Navy blue
Shirt or Jumper - Navy blue*
Knickers - Navy blue, or black
Coat - Navy blue, with patch pockets and black bone buttons
Shoes & Stockings - Black
Tie - Light blue or company colour
Hat - Navy blue felt, or straw for summer, turned up on the left side, with badge according to rank. Plain navy blue silk ribbon, one inch wide, worn round crown (Hatpins should not be worn).
Belt - Brown leather, with official buckle, worn over coat
Gloves - Brown
Whistle - On white lanyard, worn round the neck and attached to belt on right side
Title Tape - May be worn on left shoulder
* White shirts are worn by Guiders on official occasions. An official occasion is one at which three or more companies are grouped together. Training weeks and camps are not in this sense official occasions. White shirts should never be worn when it is necessary for the Guider to take off her coat. Conferences or social occasions at which uniform is worn are appropriate to white shirts.
Brown Owl - Brown cockade, brown tie, and Brown Owl's badge worn on tie.
Tawny Owl - Brown tie, hat turned up with Brownie Recruit badge, and Tawny Owl badge worn on tie.
Captain - Tie of light blue or company colour, navy blue cockade and green badge brooch worn just below knot of tie, Tenderfoot badge on tie
Lieutenant - Tie of light blue or company colour, Tenderfoot brooch on left of hat and gilt badge brooch worn just below knot of tie.
Sea Guide Captain/Lieutenant - Navy blue felt hat, black mohair braid round base of crown. White pique cap cover to be worn May to September. Hat turned up on left side, with badge according to rank. Black tie.
As well as the formal uniform, there was a need for less formal uniform. With Guiders attending training weeks and fortnight-long camps, it wasn't realistic to wear full uniform every day, especially when undertaking strenuous and active outdoor activities. And in high summer, the serge suit was going to be too hot to wear. So as early as 1918 it was confirmed that there would be an 'undress uniform' option - in hot weather a navy blue tunic was authorised uniform for all Guiders.
But clearly, this authorisation was not sufficient, as can be seen from a statement published in the Girl Guide Gazette in April 1921 - "It has been noticed that considerable latitude has been allowed to creep in, in regard to the wearing of undress uniform by Guiders at training weeks and camps. Official undress uniform consists of a navy blue jumper or shirt, worn with a short navy skirt; sweaters or woolen coats, if worn, should be navy blue. In future Commandants of weeks and camps are requested to hold inspections of undress - as well as of full dress uniform - and to see that Guiders comply with the above regulations."
July 1954 - Uniform amendment for Sea Ranger Guiders - "Sea Ranger Guiders, when wearing a tricorne, should wear the cloth county bade on the left shoulder of the battledress blouse. When wearing a beret they should wear the county badge on the diamond-shaped felt in the usual way.
1) a) Hair should be worn in a neat and suitable style.
b) Handbags (if carried) should be navy blue and of the official pattern.
c) Umbrellas (if carried) should be navy blue or black.
d) No jewellery is worn in uniform, with the exception of wedding, engagement or signet rings.
e) Uniform and mufti must not be mixed.
Jacket and Skirt (official pattern) Navy blue
Cardigan or V-neck Jersey - Navy blue
Skirt (official pattern) - Navy blue
Blouse (official pattern) - Blue and white check
Cap or Beret (official pattern) - Navy blue with cockade or flash according to appointment.
Crossover Ribbon - Navy blue or according to appointment.
Badge - Gilt or according to enrolment or investiture
Stockings - Neutral
Shoes - Brown or black leather of a suitable pattern.
Gloves (optional) - Brown or black.
Dress (official pattern) - Guide blue
Crossover Ribbon - Worn only when dress is fastened at the neck.
Skirt, Slacks, Jeans or Shorts - Navy blue
Shirt (official pattern) - Guide blue, cellular
Camp Dress (official pattern) - Guide blue
Shirt (optional) (official pattern) - Guide blue, cellular
Belt (optional) - Same material as dress, or brown leather official pattern
Anorak or Windcheater - Navy or Guide blue
The holder of a Camper's Licence may wear a green lanyard in camp.
The holder of a Pack Holiday Permit may wear a buff lanyard in camp.
Ranger Guider- Navy crossover ribbon tie with two aquamarine stripes, navy hat diamond with aquamarine edging.
Assistant Ranger Guider - Navy crossover ribbon tie with one aquamarine stripe, navy hat diamond.
Guide Guider - Navy crossover ribbon tie with two Guide blue stripes, navy hat diamond with Guide blue edging.
Assistant Guide Guider - Navy crossover ribbon tie with one Guide blue stripe navy hat diamond.
Brownie Guider - Navy crossover ribbon tie with two brown stripes, navy hat diamond with yellow edging.
Assistant Brownie Guider - Navy crossover ribbon tie with one brown stripe, navy hat diamond.
Cadet Guider - Navy blue crossover ribbon with two white stripes, navy hat diamond with white edging.
Air Ranger Guider - Navy blue crossover ribbon with two pale blue stripes, navy hat diamond with pale blue edging.
Land Ranger Guider - Navy blue crossover ribbon with two red stripes, navy hat diamond with red edging.
Sea Ranger Guider - Blouse (official pattern) white, Tie - black, Hat (official pattern) navy blue tricorn with white cover and black mohair band, navy blue cloth hat badge with gold wire embroidered trefoil.
Guider not holding a warrant - Navy blue ribbon tab tie, navy hat diamond.
July 1990 - "All the main items in the new uniform ranges for the girls' sections should be available on September 1st." "There had been some difficulties in obtaining the waterproof jackets and some of the adult range but these should be ready by November 1."
A mix-and-match selection from
Navy suit jacket
Navy button-through suit skirt
Light blue and white vertical stripe blouse, short or long sleeve
Light blue and white vertical stripe button-through skirt
White polo shirt with navy collar
Navy zip-jacket with white sleeve stripe
Navy sweatshirt with white trim
Light blue knitted jersey with white trim
Navy short cullottes
Navy long cullottes
Navy jogging trousers
Navy baseball cap
Brown leather belt with official buckle
Commissioner/Adviser - Plain navy
Rainbow Guider - Navy with two green vertical stripes
Brownie Guider - Navy with two yellow vertical stripes
Guide Guider - Navy with two royal blue vertical stripes
Ranger Guider - Navy with two aqua vertical stripes
Young Leader Guider - Navy with two white vertical stripes
June 1999 - "A new uniform addition for Adult Leaders - a navy polo shirt - has been approved."