These are some Navy uniforms from the 1890s:
The admiral, in the front, center, is wearing the "special full dress" uniform. it was heavyweight wool, with those fringed gold epaulets and a cocked hat. As described in the autobiography of Edward L. Beach, Sr., From Annapolis to Scapa Flow the uniform cost $240.
In 1890, a skilled worker could expect to make about two dollars a day. Various inflation calculators put the value of $240 in 1890 in the vicinity of $6,500-$6,900. I can't imagine having to pop damn near two grand (back in my day) for a single uniform. As it was, the service dress white was not terribly cheap and was rarely worn.
Oh, the irony...
3 hours ago