We see quite a number of American boys wearing ruffled collars. Small ruffled collars were popular at mid-century. American boys at first from affluent families, following the European fashion. wore ruffeled collars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were worn both with Fauntleroy outfits as well as fancy blouses. We even see boys wearing them with sack suits. They may have been more popular in America than Europe because of the Fauntleroy craze in Ameica. Some boys by the 1810s were worn open collars, but this style was more popular in Europe. While fancy, the open collar was well suited for children. This changed by mid-century when collars were almost always worn closed. We see ruffled collars them at mid-century, although they were not real common and tended to be very small. As young boys and girls in the 19th century were often dressed alike in dresses, the collar was sometimes used to diferentiate boys from girls. Often the girls neckline might be cut lower while boys might have higher even though fancy collars. There were no definite rules on such matters, however, and mostly it was up to the fancy of the mothers. Ruffled collars became a major fashion statement in the late-19th century as the result of the Little Lord Fauntleroy craze. Lace collars were popular with early Fauntleroy suits, but gradually ruffled collars became more common. We see boys wearing huge ruffled collars in tthe 1890s. The collars were much larger than those worn by girls. Some of the collars were edged in lace. A good example is the Harrison boys. By the turn of the 20th century, ruffled collars becamme more common. A good example here is a boy in Washington, Pennsylvania about 1905. Ruffled collars were not just worn with Faunleroy suits. They were worn with other garments such as kilt suits and on blouses of various description. We note mothers sometimes using ruffle collars for a few years even after a boy had graduated to sack suits. Ruffled collars were worn both with and without fancy neckwear--mostly floppy bows.
Ruffled collarswere worn in Europe at the time that America was founded (17th century). They were worn by men and had nothing to with age. The styles were famously captured by artists like Van Dyke. Boys at the time after beeching wore smaller versions of the same styles that their fathers wore. and this continud throughout the next century although the collars and other stylistic details were more conreained (18th century). The first dedicated boys' garment was the sleleton suite (late-18th century). We see some worn with fancy ruffled collars, often open collars. Boys cintinued to wear ruffled collars with skelton (early-19th century). This was not the onky collar style. We also see Eton collars, but is was a choice for fashion concious mothers.
We also see these collars on some fashion outfits for fashionable younger men who might be reffered to as 'dandies' (early-19th century). Fashions became less flayboyant with the onset of the Victorian Age (mid-19th cntury). We still seeruffld collars. A good example is Thomas Smith in the 1840s, but tgey began to grow smaller (1850s) anf by the next century also disappeared (1860s). Ruffles, lace, and other collars could be extrodinrily small. some boys ruffs that just peaked out at the collar (1860s). We see quite a number of some boys with thee smll ruffs An example is American boy about 1860. Notice how small the collar is. We see somwhat larger collars (1870s). American boys at first from affluent families wore ruffled collars in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The primsary reason for the sudden popularity of the ruffled collar was of course Mrs. Burnett's book, Little Lord Fautleroy (1885). Suddenly we see large numbers of American boys wearing huge ruffled collars as part of Fauntleroy outfits. It was not until the Funtleroy craze that we see really large ruffled collars (1885-1905). Some of these ruffled collars wre huge, the largest that we have ever seen. Tounger boys sem almost overwealmed by them. We see large numbers of American boys wearing these ruffled collars. Some wore actual Fauntleroy suits. Many others wore the collars with regular suits including countless school-age boys, although nt necessarily to school. This fashion was very popular through the turn of the 20th century. A good example is B. Curtlis Sunderland about 1900. The popularity of these collars rapidly declned (early-20th century). The large collars rapidly disappeared. Ruffled collars did nottitally disappeard. We see younger boys in fncy outfits including ruffled collars (1930s). After this we only see them in fancy formal wedding outfit for litt,e boys such as ring bearers. .
Ruffled collars were worn with two garments. We note them being worn with dresses. Here we are not sure if they were part of the dress trim or a shirt-likr garment worn under the dress. A good example is the small ruffled collar worn by Willie Blatt in the 1870s. Better jknown are the ruffled collrs worn by boys in the late-19th and early 20th century. These collars could be very wide. The front had various shpes, but often there was a back flap, an eement apparently adapted from sailor blouses.
Ruffled collars was popular in America than Europe, largely because of the Fauntleroy craze in Ameica.
The age of American boys wearing ruffled collars has varied over time. This coincides with two periods in which ruffled collars were especially common, the mid-19th century and the turn-of-the 20th century (late-19th and early-20th century) We do not yet have sufficent informsation to assess age trends for the ruffled collars worn in the early-19th century. We know they were worn, but probably mostly by boys from fashionable city families. America was still very rural. We know much more about the ruffled collars worn later. We note small ruffled collars at mid-century. Often they were so small they only seem to peak above the boy's jascket at the collsar. They seem to have been worn by rather young boys up to perhaps 10-years of age. This needs to be refined as we archive more images on HBC. We note much larger collars in the late-19th and early-20th century. We note a wider range of ah\ges during this period wearing thecruffled collars. This seems to hsave varied from family to family. The upper limits seems to be boys about 12-13 years of age. After the 1900s, he age of boys wearing ruffled collars appeas to hsave declined sharply.
We do not have much information on the ruffled collars worn un the early 19th century. The collar at first buttoned. Byt buy the 1810s we see open collars. While fancy, the open collar was well suited for children. This changed by mid-century when collars were almost always worn closed. We see ruffled collars them at mid-century, although they were not real common and tended to be very small. As young boys and girls in the 19th century were often dressed alike in dresses, the collar was sometimes used to diferentiate boys from girls. Often the girls neckline might be cut lower while boys might have higher even though fancy collars. There were no definite rules on such matters, however, and mostly it was up to the fancy of the mothers. We see many small ruffled collars during the mid-19th century. Some were very small, only a small fringe visible in period portraits. Others were a little larger. A good example is an unidentified American boy in the 1850s.
We see huge ruffed collars in the 1890s. Ruffled collars became a major fashion statement in the late-19th century as the result of the Little Lord Fauntleroy craze. Lace collars were popular with early Fauntleroy suits, but gradually ruffled collars became more common. We see boys wearing huge ruffled collars in tthe 1890s. The collars were much larger than those worn by girls. Some of the collars were edged in lace. A good example is the Harrison boys. By the turn of the 20th century, ruffled collars becamme more common. A good example here is a boy in Washington, Pennsylvania about 1905. Many had a back flap like a sailor blouse. Some boys by the 1910s were worn open collars, but this style was more popular in Europe and a kind of aristocratic style.
The sizes of ruffeled blouses varied considerably over the 19th century. We see some large ones in the early-19th century and some very small ones at mid-century. And again very lasrge ones at the end of the century and very early-20th century. Some ruffleled collar might cover the entire shoulders. This was of course part of the Fauntleroy craze that began with the oublication of Mrs. Burnett's book (I1885). The size varied. While some ruffled collsrs almost enveloped small boys, we also see more modest examples. One such example is New York boy Freddiec Deveraux in 1892.
The great majority of the ruffled collars we note boys wearing were white collars, probably well over 80 percent. There were, however, colored collars. These were collars on fancy colored blouses. These colored blouses were not uncommon. There were age conventions associated with the colored and patterned blouses and the collars associated with them. Most mothers when putting together a classic Fauntleroy outfit with a cut-away jacket for a uonger boy wanted a white blouse and collar. For older boys there was more of a willingness to use color and patterned blouses and collzars. Many of the Fauntleroy blouses made for older boys were done in colors or patterns. These blouses and collars were worn with a variety of jackets and often during the summer without a jacket. Unfortunately the black and white photography of the day provides few clues as to actual shades, but we note both dark- and light- colored blouses and collars. In addition to collars that were all one color, we note mixed collars, color mixed in with white fabric in the collar. These were less common than the solid colored collar. Here the fabric mix included patterned fabric as well as soloid colored mixes. We have found relativly few of the mixed collars, but examples do exist in the photographic record. We are not sure about the chronology of tghese colored collars. We have not yet found them in the 1890s and early-90s. Many if the examples date to the turn-of-the-20th century, but we are still assessing the chronology.
American boys wore ruffled collars with a variety of outfits. We note ruffled collars being worn with skeleton suits in the early 19th century. We see small ruffled collars being worn with a variety of mid-19th century outfits. e notice them bing wirn with tunics, button-pn suits and cut-away jackets. They are particulsarly noted for bding worn with Little Lord Fauntleroy suits. Ruffled collars were not just worn with Faunleroy suits. They were worn with other garments such as kilt suits and on blouses of various description. We note mothers sometimes using ruffle collars for a few years even after a boy had graduated to sack suits. We rrly see boys wearing ruffled collrs after World war I, except for some specialized outfits. Probably the most important is chor costumes.
The question of neckwear and ruffled collars is largely a chronological matter. We see boys wearing ruffled collars throughout the 19th century the use of neckwear as well as other fators concerning ruffled collars such as age, shape, size, and other matters varied chronologically. Here we are talking about three basic periods in which ruffled collars were worn. We note boyscfrom fashionable city families wearing ryffled collars in the early-29th century. This was not really a child's style as men might also wear ruffled collars. We are not sure to what extent neckwear was worn. And mostvAmericans at the time lived on farms and did not have fancy outfits. We know much more about the mid-19th century. We see quite a number of boys wearing ruffled collars. They are, however, usually not easy to see. Collars were very small at the time and the ruffled collsrs mostly just peaked out from the collsrs of suits. They were worn exclusively by younger boys andc we do not note boys wearing neckwar with them. We know even more about the late-19th century. Here we see boys wearing very large ruffled vlouses. They were were worn both with and without fancy neckwear--mostly floppy bows. Both the collars and bows varied in dize, but were generally large. Some of these bows like the collars were huge. Usually the collar was much lsrgerv than the bow, but we see some boys with vows that virtually covered over the collar.
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web dress pages:
[Return to the Main U.S. collar style page]
[Return to the Main ruffled collar page]
[Return to the Main U.S. shirt and collar style page]
[Return to the Main collar style page]
[Return to the Main shirts page]
[Return to the Main U.S. garment page]
[Eton collars] [Peter Pan collars] [Floppy bows] [Double-breasted styling] [Hair styles]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Essays] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]