Lyndon Johnson: Childhhod Clothing

Figure 1.--Lyndon is pictured in his Stetson hat here and wearing overalls. He looks to be about 5 years old.

We have a good bit of information about the clothes Lyndon wore as a boy. He grew up in a Texas family of modest means. They were not poor, but money was not infrequently tight. His parents had middle class aspirations. His father, for example, wanted to be a lawyer. The clothes he wore are thus a good reflection of what average American boys, especially southern boys were wearing in the 1910s in the years before and during World War I. Lyndpn wore dresses as a little boy. As a somewhat older boy he wore tunic suits. Lyndon even as a boy was interested in clothes. His clothes were always different than the other boys. Sometimes they were more elegant than their weekday overalls and knickers or even sunday suits. Some were outlandishly elegant for a town like Johnson City.


Lyndon wore dresses as a baby and todler. He was photograohed at 18 months in 1910 wearing a so-called boys' dress. I am not sure when he was breeched and stopped wearing dresses. Although the custom was waining, many young boys still wore dresses in the 1910s.

Tunics and Buster Brown Suits

Lyndon was photographed at 4 or 5 years in 1913 in a sailor suit styled tunic. His mother liked white sailor tunics. Boys still commonly wore sailor tunics, note the characteristic belt. Boys during the summer, especially in the South, commonly went barefoot-- even for dressy occassions. This was not common before the turn of the century. He also had a red Buster Brown suit.

Overalls and Stetson

Like other boys for play Lyndon wore overalls. He did not wear them to school, but he did wear them on the farm. Lyndon liked to imitate his dad as much as possible. The favorite of the outfits his mother dressed him in was the one that made him look like his dad. His favorite item of apparel was the scaled-down version of his father's big Stetson hat.

Figure 5.--Lyndon got his first long pants other than overalls 1921 when he was about 13 in 1921. It was a dark suit and Lyndon arranged for a photographer to come to the ranch to record the event. He is pictured here with his brothers and sisters, Lucia, Josefa, Rebekah, Lyndon, and Sam Houston. Note Sam Houston is barefoot, but the girls wear sandals.

Long Pants Suits

Lyndon got his first long pants other than overalls 1921 when he was about 13. It was a dark suit and Lyndon arranged for a photographer to come to the ranch to record the event. Once his father planned to but Lyndon a new suit, an inexpensive searsucker suit. Lyndon went to the store the day before and instructed the sales clerk to direct his father to a more expensive Palm Beach suit he wanted. His father, usually short of money, would never let on to a sales clerk that he was short of money and wanted a less expensive suit. So Lyndon got the Palm Beach suit he wanted.

Teenage Clothes

By the time he was a senior in highschool he had acquired not only an elegant Palm Beach sduit, but he owned the only straw boater in town. He sometimes wore blue jeans, but he wore them with a bright yellow silk crepe de Chine. He kept the neck open to display either a turtle-neck dickey or an ascot. His highschool graduation photograph shows him as the only boy wearing a necktie. He usually wore a daper English tweed cap and his hair slicked down. Sometimes, however, he would wear clothes less elegant than the other boys--seemingly trying to olutdo them even in that.


Younger boys often went barefoot even when dressed up in tunic suits or dressy short pants. Girls on the other hand less commonly go barefoot. The Johnson girls commonly wore double strap sandals. In Texas and much of the United States, sandals were increasingly seen a girls' shoes.


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Created: 1:35 AM 10/7/2005
Last changed: 1:35 AM 10/7/2005