Boys' Clothes: National Styles


Figure 1.--This portrait of a "Young Boy with a Hat" is unidentified. It was painted by Belgian artist Adrien Geefs in 1898. We thus assume the boy is Belgian. The sailor suit was widely worn throughout Europe and America. Boys did not always wear sailor suits with these wide-brimmed sailor hats, but this boy did.

Boys' fashions in America and Europe varied. During some eras styles were similar across national borders and during other eras there were substantial differences with boys clothes in different countries. American boys in the 1920s for example wore knickers while European boys wore short pants. Today there are great similarities among boys clothes in Europe and America. Some boys' clothing styles originated in folk dress such as kilts in Scotland and lederhosen in Germany. Some styles were strongly influenced by royal or elite preferences, such as Queen Victoria dressing the young princes in sailor suits. Sometimes opposite pattens emerge such as American middle-class children adopting black hip-hop styles, popular in the inner-city ghettoes. Sometimes Governments have acted to set styles such as the French Third Republic in the 1870s mandating smocks for school wear so as less affluent children would not feel at a disadvantage to children whose parents could afford better clothes.

HBC Country Pages

We are preparing a series of pages on national clothing styles. We now have over 70 countries listed in our country section. Most have a linked page with at least some basic information on clothing in that country. We have developed detailed information for several mostly European counties and the United States. Many of the country pages, however, are just being sketched out at this time. So don't expect too much yet. We have a lot of other pages to do, so it will be a while before we can focus on all the countries on our list. Of corse here we need your assisatnce. HBC does not have the capability to visit or even reserach all of these countries. Do let us know if you have any text or images to contribute about your country. We are interested in adding information about every different countries around the world. The current Euro-centric focus of HBC is because European readers have been the most willing to contribute information. We have tried to create a page for each country, even if only limited information is available. This provides a location for collecting information. We hope that our readers will contribute insights into fashion trends in their own countries. HBC has collected information on more than individual countries. The information on most of these countries still sketchy. We have, however, succeeded in collecting quite detailed infornation on America and several European countries.

Africa

Our information on African countries at this time is very limited. We are interested in adding information about every different countries around the world. The current Euro-centric focus of HBC is because European readers have been the most willing to contribute information. Internet usage in Africa is smallest of all the different world regions. Few African readers have contributed information to HBC. We have, however, slowly begun to create African country pages and acquire information on individual African countries.

America: Latin

Latin America extends from the Rio Grande River south to Tierra del Fuego. Its includs many diverse countries from giant Brazil comprising half of South America to tiny Caribbean islands. We have chosen a cultural definition as Mexico and Central America are really part of North America. Most of the countries are former Portuguese and Spanish colonies, but the Caribbean area is more diverse. We are preparing a series of pages on national clothing styles. We have been able to find only limited information on Latin American countries. We hope that our readers will contribute insights into fashion trends in their own countries. HBC has collected information on more than individual countries. The information on most of these countries is still sketchy. We have, however, succeeded in collecting quite detailed infornation on America and several European countries. Our information on Latin American and the Caribbean, however, is relatively limited. Hopefully our Latin American readers will provide us some information to expand this section of HBC.

America: North

The information on most of the regions and countries we are assessing is still sketchy. This is not the case for North America, especially the United States. We have managed to accumlate a huge archive on the United States. Central America and Mexico are located in North America, but for cultural consistency, we have archived them under Latin America. The principal North American country is the United States and no other country has left such an enormous photographic record. Photography was invented in Europe (1839), but spread like wildfire in the United States. Thus from the mid-19th century there is a huge photogrphic record that can be used to follow fashion trends in considerable detail. American fashions when photography first appeared were still bring largely influenced by Europe, including children's fashions. The Little Lord Funtleroy suit was strikingly the first major contribution to children's fashions. American fashions despite the phenomenal growth of the U.S. economy following the Civil War continud to be primrily determined by European trends. The expanding American economy created an enormous market and consumers with an unparalleled potential for creating fashion trends. American children's fashions only began to diverge grom Europe in a major war after World War I. Since World War II. America has been a major influence on boys' fashions around the world. Casual styles like base-ball caos, T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers awere all American creations. Canadian fashions are quite similar to American fashions, but with a greater English influence, at leat until after World War II. Another factor has been the French Canadian population centered in Quebec.

Asia

Asia is the largest and most diverse of the seven contionents. It comprises the central and eastern part of the vast Eurasian land mass. This is four-fifths of the total landmass. The dividing point is basically the Ural mountains in the west. The rest of Asia is bordered by three oceans, the Arctic in the north, the Pacific in the east, and the Indian Ocean in the south. Asia is also the most populous continent. It is dominated by China in the east and India in the south. While these are the two largst and mostb important countries in Asia, the coninent is home to a large number of smaller les dominant countries. Remarkably there has been little conflict and only limited cultural exchannge between China and India, primarily because they are separated by the huge barrier of the Himilaysa. Invasions of the sub-continent came not from China, but from the west. China has been invaded primarily by the Steppe tribes, but also by a former client sate--Japan. Asia is located in the northern hemispheres, only the tip of the Malay Peninsula approaches the Equator. Ethnically the population is divided between Mongoloid types and caucasian types, again by the Himilayan divide. Asia has both the highest (Himalayas) and the lowest points on the surface of the Earth. It has the longest coastline of any continent. And it experiences the world’s most varied climatic extremes. As a result it has the most varied forms of vegetation and animal life. Civilizatiion developed first on the western perifery of Asia (Mesopotamia and Egypt). Civilizatiion first appeard in Asian in the Indus Valley, perhaps because people there were in contacy with Mesopotamia. China was the last of the great river valley civilizations and by far the most isolated. For a milenium, the only significnt contact between east and west was the Silk Road. While the last palce for civilizatiion to develop, China over time became the great source of technological advance until modern times. China was also a huge factor in Westrn civiloization. A strong China directed the war-like Steppe people west. A weak China meant a relief for Europeans from the depredatiions of rhe Steppe tribes. Given the huge populations of Asia and the fact that China was a technological powerhouse (India was also home to advanced civilizations), it is surprising that it was the Europeans in the Western that made the leap to modernity, largely creating the modern world with science and free narket capitalism. And in an even more bizzare turn of events, as China embraces the clear advantage of merket forces, many in the West embrace the same socialist policies that have proven to be such as dismal failure.

Europe

We are preparing a series of pages on national clothing styles. We now have over 70 countries listed in our country section. Most have a linked page with at least some basic information on clothing in that country. We have developed detailed information for several mostly European counties and the United States. Many of the country pages, however, are just being sketched out at this time. So don't expect too much yet. We have a lot of other pages to do, so it will be a while before we can focus on all the countries on our list. Of corse here we need your assisatnce. HBC does not have the capability to visit or even reserach all of these countries. Do let us know if you have any text or images to contribute about your country. We are interested in adding information about every different countries around the world. The current Euro-centric focus of HBC is because European readers have been the most willing to contribute information. We have tried to create a page for each country, even if only limited information is available. This provides a location for collecting information. We hope that our readers will contribute insights into fashion trends in their own countries. HBC has collected information on more than individual countries. The information on most of these countries still sketchy. We have, however, succeeded in collecting quite detailed infornation on America and several European countries.

Middle East

The Middle Eastern countries are the arc of Islamic countries from Morocco west to Iran. They encompass both North African and south western Asian countries. We have relatively few impages from these countuies. Interestingly, traditional dress styles persist there more than any other region. In fact traditional styles seem more popular in the 21st century than in the mid-20th century. This is especially true in the Arab countries. This appeas to be a reflection of the strength of Islam and the rejection of Western culture.

Oceania

Oceania includes countries of very significant ethnic and religious differences. Australia and New Zeland have poulations of primarily European origins. Indonesia is one of the most populace countries in the wirld and has a stikingly diverse population. The Philippines is also a highly diverse country wjhich has been greatly influenced by both Spain and the United states. Boys clothing reflected these differences, but after World War II, American styles have become increasingly important.





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Created: June 30, 1988
Spell checked: July 30, 1999
Last updated: 1:59 AM 2/23/2014