This article explores the differences between WWII WAVES (US Navy) and SPARS (US Coast Guard) purses. This also showcases the WAVES white purse (there was a white cover for the usual black WAVES purse as well as a completely separate white purse).



They are roughly the same size. The WAVES purse has a snap that is visible from the outside, whereas the SPARS does not.



The inside lining is different.

The labels are in different locations. The WAVES purse has two labels whereas the SPARS only has one. The SPARS purse has a zipper compartment that the WAVES purse lacks.



The straps are the same, but the way they attach are very different. Both straps are removeable, but the WAVES straps attach on the side whereas the SPARS straps attach on the back (similar to the way the Army Nurse and WAC purse straps attach).








Both purses came with small change purses. Even those varied slightly. The material is different. The WAVES change purse is more of a solid black fabric whereas the SPARS version has a ribbing to the fabric. The SPARS version is also slightly smaller.



It should be noted, that it seems at least somewhat common for SPARS to have received WAVES uniform items. For example, I have seen multiple examples of a jacket with WAVES labels that was used by a SPAR. It is very probable that SPARS received and used WAVES purses.





Front of the WAVES purse. It is the same size as the standard black WAVES purse.


The inside of the purse does not have the WAVES label on the flap as the standard black purse does. 

The main difference between the white WAVES purse and the black WAVES purse is that there are no straps. The white purse is a clutch. You can see there was never a point to attach straps.

The inside of the white purse and the black purse are basically the same.

Like the standard black purse, the white purse has two WAVES labels. The difference is that the blue label is on the inside flap on the standard black purse whereas the white purse has it sewn in on the side (as the Coast Guard purse does).


The white purse also comes with a small black change purse.