Canadian Boys' Clothes: Family Images


Figure 1.--This family photograph taken about 1954 includes the sons and daughters and mom. Dad probably took the snap shot. Note that the boys are wearing knickers. This family lived in New Bruswick.

Our family section provideds a great deal of fashion and sociological data. We now have family sections for several countries. These family sections help to put boys' fashions in a better context to see how the father, mother, and sisters were dressed. In some cases the photographs will even include the grandparents. It is interesting to see how the fashions of the other members of the family changed along with the boys over time. These family pages provide useful insights into family life and how Canadians lived over time. One interesting observation is how family sizes changed over time. The family images provide insights that individual portraits do not. We will organize these images by decades. We have only a few decade pages at this time. But we are gradually adding more pages. Our archive is still limited, but we urge Canadian readers to contribute their family images.

The 19th Century

We do not have much information about Canadian families in the 19th century. We know nothing at this rime about the early- and mid-19th cetury. After the development of th inexpensive albument print (CDVs and caginet cards) we begin to see and incresing number of family images in the late-19th century. Knee ants suits became standard fr the boys. We see the girls wearing a variety of dresses. Usually it is impossible to destinguish the images from comparable American families, but our archieve is still too limited to make any firm assessments.

The 1880s

We do not yet have much information on Canadian families in the 1880s, but have begun to archive available portraits. . A reader has sent us an image of the Drummond children from Montreal in 1885. They are all dressed up and on a goat waggon. The boy wears a broad-brimmed hat and knee pants. The girls wear frilly bonnets and white dresses. We note the Burch family which lived in Ottawa. The portrait is undated, but was taken about 1886. The older brothers wear jackets with very small lapels and show the influence of the cut-away jackers that were popular in the 1870s. The youngest brother, Edward, wears ringlets and a velvet Little Lord Fauntleroy suit.

The 1890s

We have found several Canadian family portraits that we believe were taken in the 1890s. We note the Hoyt family from New Brunswick. We think the portrait is from the 1890s, but it could be the early-1900s. We also notice a portrait of the Fleming family which we believe was taken in the 1890s. We note an unidentified family portrait of five children by the Craig sudio in Owen Sound, Ontario. The children look like four girls and a boy, but we are not entirely sure about the youngest child. The cabinet card is undated, but the clothing styles clearly indicated that vthe portrait was taken in the 1890s. And we have a French-Camadian family which we know was photographed about 1895 in Quebec. It shows not only a boy and his sisters, but their great sheep dog. The girls wear smock dresses We can tell much about the boy's outfit other than it is a knee pants suit.

The 20th Century

The photographic record expanded significantly at the turn-of-the 20th century with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie and other easy to use cameras that made the family snapshot pervasive around the world. We thus have many photographic images of Canadian families throughout the century. The snap shots tell us much more about family life than the formal studio portraits of the 19th century.

The 1900s

Families could still be quite large at the turn of the century. This was especially true for French catholic families. One available image shows that sailor suits and dresses were quite popular for the younger children. Older boys wore knicker suits.

The 1910s

We have limited information on the 1910s at this time. The images that we have, unfortunately are undated. Thus there is an element of uncertainty with the families we have loaded here. We have one rural New Brunswick family, but it is undated. We are not sure yet if it is the late 1900s or early 1910s. The boys wear sailor suits. We note another image of an unidentified boy that probably comes from New Brunswick is undated, but we believe was taken during the mid-1910s. We also note a Jewish immigrant family.

The 1920s

We have found a few images of Canadian families during the 1920s. We note a photograph of a large French Canadian family taken at Ile d'Orléans in 1926. I think the Ile d'Orléans is some sort of resort, but I am not sure about this. French Canadian families were often quite large. We also note the McCormick family, grandfather McCormick and his two grandchildren, Michael and Mary, taken in Calgary, Alberta during 1927. We note the Lavoie family, a very large family in Rivière-Verte, New Brunswick. It is undated, but looks to have been taken in the late-1920s or early-30s. We also have found a photograph of the Millar family from British Colombia. They mave had Scottish connections. The photograph was found in a photographic album of several families and we do not know what the family connections were.

The 1930s

We have a few images of Canadian families during the 1930s. Our archive is, however, still limited. Hopefully as we expand this section we can develop some insight into Canadian families in the 30s. We note an image of a French Canadian family we having a picnic, probably in the 1930s. There are destince differencs from England, France, and America. We also have archived an image of a lrural French Canadian family. Tural families could be quite lrge, especially rural Ctholic families. We have archieved a smaller family, probably from New Brunswick. It is interesting because it looks rather like an English family.

The 1940s

We have only one image of a Canadian family during the 1940s. It is a French Canadian family in 1942. The family is having a family outing along the seaside in 1942. Interestingly the children are all dressed up for the occassion. The photograph is interesting because of the wide array of clothing being worn. The youngest boy is wearing a suit with long tan stockings. Another boy is wearing a blouse with a Peter Pan collar along with short pants and kneesocks, long enough to be used as long stockings. The oldest boy is wearing knickers. The girl is wearing a sailor dress. And we notice images of a substantial French Canadian family in the early 1940s. We also notice a Montreal family which we believe was taken in the 1940s, probanly the late 1940s.

The 1950s

The image on this page shows a realtively small family in New Brunswick that was taken during the winter in 1954 (figure 1). The boys wear knickers, a style that was no longer seen in America, but still occasionally seen in Europe although a different style. Note how the boys have pulled their knee socks up over their knickers. We see an Ontario family during the summer in 1955. The family is on a family outing in their car. We are not sure who everyone is, but there is clearly a mother and father. Every on is dressed informally. Notice two women dressed in pants, both shorts and capri pants, showing a major change in women's clothing. Here World War II had a major inpact. The boy look to be about 10-years old. He wars a striped T-shirt and short pants.

The 1960s

We note a Canadian family, the Sandlands, that lived in South Africa for 2 years in the lste-1950s and early-60s. The clothes look more south frican than Canadian.

The 1970s










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Created: June 22, 2001
Last updated: 12:43 PM 5/1/2017