Boys' Clothing 1890s Styles: Country Trends


Figure 1.--This minature portarit of an American boy was painted in 1890 showing the actual color of a period white sailor suit. The sailor suit was a popular style in America and throughout Europe. On the left side of the portrait is the signature -M-DE-MERBITZ- in gold and to the right is the date 1890 in gold

Boys in many countries wore some of the same styles, although there were some important difference. Fauntleroy and sailor suits were popular in England for younger boys as were wide brimmed sailor hats. The educational system had become increasingly standardized. Boys styles were stringly influenced by the uniforms required by private schools. This helped set the pattern of more mature looking styles at age 8 when many boys went off to heir boarding preparatory schools. Eton and Norfolk suits with knickers were common. Younger boys in France still wore dresses. Smocks were more popular in France than in other countries, perhaps in part because of the use in schools. Quite old boys would wear school smocks. Fancy styles such as Fauntleroy suits were popular. Boys began to wear keepants with short socks. We know less about German boys clothes clothes in the 1890s. Faintleroy suiys were worn, but they were not as common as in Britain and France. We do know that sailor suits had become very popular. Kaiser Wilhelm in the 1890s began a naval arms race with the British. Battle ships at the time were the symbol of a graet country. Germany had never had a substantial navy before and the new Imperial Navy seized the imagination of the public. The sailor suit became a major style for German boys. Younger boys still wore dresses. Smocks were not common except in rather affluent families. Fancy styles such as Fauntleroy suits reached their peak of popularity in the 1890s as were sailor suits. Many boys wore long ringlet curls, especially with fauntlerou suits, but also with sailor suits. The fashion of ringlets was more popular in America than in other countries. Most boys wore kneepants, mostly with long stockings. Some boys might wear long hair, in some cases in ringlet curls. By the end of the decade many boys were weraing tunic suits.

Belgium


England

Fauntleroy and sailor suits were popular in England for younger boys as were wide brimmed sailor hats. The educational system had become increasingly standardized. Boys styles were stringly influenced by the uniforms required by private schools. This helped set the pattern of more mature looking styles at age 8 when many boys went off to heir boarding preparatory schools. Eton and Norfolk suits with knickers were common. Younger boys might wear lace and ruffled collars, but after the foirst year orvso most boys wore Eton collars tomschool. Peaked caps were also common for schoolwear.

France

Younger boys in France still wore dresses. Smocks were more popular in France than in other countries, perhaps in part because of the use in schools. Quite old boys would wear school smocks. Fancy styles such as Fauntleroy suits were popular. Boys began to wear keepants with short socks. The most popular style was probably the sailor suit. Some boys might wear long hair, but usually not curled.

Germany

We know less about German boys clothes clothes in the 1890s. Fauntleroy suits were worn, but they were not as common as in Britain and France. We do know that sailor suits had become very popular. Kaiser Wilhelm in the 1890s began a naval arms race with the British. Battle ships at the time were the symbol of a great country. Germany had never had a substantial navy before and the new Imperial Navy seized the imagination of the public. The sailor suit became a major style for German boys and German boys wore a wide range of different styles. The German royal family is beliebed to have been a major influence in children's fashions.

Italy

No information available on HBC yet.

(The) Netherlands


United States

Younger boys still wore dresses in the 1890s. There seems to be more of a trend to differentiate boys and girls clothing. We note boy dresses bing advertized. The conventionof boys wearing drsses which has existed for centuries seemed to decline in popular in the later part of the decade. We are not entirely sure why. We think the popularity of the kilt suit and Fauntleroy suit were factors here. Smocks were not common in America except in rather affluent families. The styles of the 1880s, such as kilt suits, Fauntleroy suits, and sailors suits continued to be popular. The sailor suit was especiallly popular and was now also worn by girls, but with skirts rather than kneepants. Fancy styles such as Fauntleroy suits reached their peak of popularity in the 1890s as were sailor suits. Boys commonly wore blouses, often with large collars, with knee pants and long stockings, mostly black long stockings. Kneepants were now widely worn by boys of all ages. We see even older teenagers wearing knee pants by the end of the decade. Most boys wore kneepants, mostly with long stockings. Some boys might wear long hair, in some cases in ringlet curls. By the end of the decade many boys were weraing tunic suits. The new style of tunic or blouse suits, made in various styles (sailor, Russian, and Buster Brown) were enormously popular and began to replace the kilt suit. Boys mostly wore short hair in the 1890s. Some boys, however, wore ringlet curls. While worn by a minority of boys, we see many portraits of boys wearig long ringlet curls, especially with fauntleroy suits, but also with sailor suits. The fashion of ringlets was more popular in America than in other countries.






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Created updated: November 20, 2002
Last updated: 4:40 PM 6/10/2008