Figure 1.--Pinafores and smocks were common nursey wear for boys and girls for much of the 19th Century, but became less common for boys in the latter part of the century.
I have been able to acquire relatively little information about the
nursery in affluent American homes. I have little
information on nursery life or how the children were dressed. Pinafores
and smocks appear to have been common nursey wear for boys
and girls for much of the 19th Century, but became less common for
boys in the latter part of the century.
Available nursery photographs show girls of all ages wearing full decorative dresses or smocks, but decorative apron or pinafores are rare. The dresses are not very fitted and often blousy t o the waist with a full round skirt attached. Decorations vary from elaborate to the very plain. The boys seem to be wearing simple gowns, skirt suits, or long or short pants suits. Many of the dresses for both boys and girls are off the shoulder, especially in the 1840's-60's. A bolero style jacket and shirt was also common. Many of the photographs have pantaloons or pantalettes and stockings showing below the skirts. It is sometimes hard to tell if the child is a boy or a girl. One picture (1860's) shows four boys ranges in age from about about 3-8 years. Knee pants in the the 1860s were not as widespread as in the later 19th century. The oldest boy wears a long pant 3 piece suit. The next youngest in in a short pant 3 piece suit, the next in a long pants and matching shirt with braided trim. The youngest erars a skirt with loose shirt and jacket, and pantaloons. In the 1880s Little Lord Fauntleroy suits became popular for party clothes, with lots of lace and ruffles,
Figure 2.--This photogrph is probably a good example of American children's clothes in an American nursery during the 1910s. The boy appears to be wearing a type of knicker sailor suit, but without the traditional middy blouse. The oher child is still in curls and looks to be wearing a smock. I'm not sure if the child isa oy or girl.
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