Reproduction Uniform worn by Lieutenant Commander Claire Bloom
Lieutenant Claire V. Bloom became the first woman to wear an officer’s 1804-style uniform in the modern U.S. Navy when she served as executive officer of USS Constitution from 1996 to 1998. Women were prohibited from serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1800s, so this uniform strives to maintain fidelity to the original uniforms while adapting it for Lieutenant Bloom. Since Bloom was the first woman to wear such a uniform, it is entirely unique. It includes the first 1804-style jacket to have darts in the bust, and is decorated with a single gold epaulet. The white tights were manufactured by Victoria’s Secret, and were worn by Bloom with her replica uniform. Other elements of the uniform include a coat, epaulette, breeches, jabot, waistcoat, and shirt.
The handbag that accompanies Bloom’s uniform is a standard 1990s-era U.S. Navy issue purse that she used while serving aboard Constitution. It is made of a synthetic black material and has a long shoulder strap and gold clasp. In a 1998 interview with the Boston Globe, Bloom explained that she wore the purse even with her replica uniform because it was a convenient way of carrying her things around.