Rompers were a very important garment for younger children beginning in the 1910s. The time line and conventions varied from country to country. Romperts in America were worn by both boys and girls in America, but were for many years an exclusively boy's garment in France. We have used rompers to mean the puffed pants outfits, but catalogs and advertisements used the term much more widely. The first rompers we noted in America were a play garment, but in France dressy romper outfits also appeared. We have noted quite a range of styles for the romper suits.
A vintage clothing dealer writes, "Here is the most adorable vintage child's garment I have ever come across. It is a very odd little child's romper with a matching cloche hat from the 1920s. What is so wild about this garment is the huge pantaloon legs. There are strings attached from the shoulder to the leg openings from the inside, to help keep the pantaloons puffy! There are pockets at the hips that stick out to create an very funny silhouette. The romper is done in a very light tan tissue silk (how it survived completely intact is beyond me), with little pink and green knot roses, and blue stitching embroidered at the neckline, belt, and various other places.The tiny cloche is fully lined with soft cotton batiste, and adorned with bows and embroidery. The embroidered belt snaps at the back and also snaps to the romper itself. The romper closes in the back with several snaps as well." We have noted both boys and girls wearing these romper suits. The matching cap here, howver, looks to me more a girl's than a boy's cap. The romper itself does not have any gender specific featyres.
Here we have an unidentied blue romper suit. We believe it is a French outfit probanly dated to the 1950s or early-60s. All we know for sure is tht is was a 45 cm suit. That would be a size for a boy about 4-5 years of age. The French would have called it a barboteuse. These outfits were very popular for pre-school boys during the 1950s-60s. Thgey were done both as play and dress-up garments. This looks ti be a rathger dressy romper suit.
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