Bows on Boys' Collars: Country Trends


Figure 1.--Collar bows were especially popular in America and could be enormous in the late 19th century. After the turn-of-the-20th century they began to decline in popularirty, but were were worn into the early 1920s. Here two brothers wear bows, probably in the 1910s. This was a photo postcard with a CYKO (1904-20s) stamp box.

We are just beginning to assess collar bow country trends. Most of our work on boys' collar bows has involved American boys because most of our images are American and we have such a large american archive. As far as we can tell, the fashion was especilly popular in America. Large numbers of images show boys wearing large floppy bows in the late-19th century. This may be because our American archive is so substantial, but our Europen archives are growing and it does seem that floppy bows, esoecially large floppy bows were especially popular in America. This makes sence because it was strongly associated with the Fauntleroy style. And the Fauntleroy craze was espeilly pronounced in America. Large collar bows, however, were worn with many other suits as well as blouses. We have, however, noted boys in many other countries wearing floppy bows. A good example is a Canadian boy in 1898. Canadian trends seem to have been similar to American trends. They were also worn in Europe, although the popularity varied substantially from country to country. We believe that they were particularly popular in France. We have much less information on other countries.

America

Most of our work on boys' collar bows has involved American boys as most of our images are American. As far as we can tell, the fashion was especilly popular in America. Large numbers of images show boys wearing large floppy bows in the late-19th century. Large numbers of images show boys wearing large floppy bows in the late-19th century. This may be because our American archive is so substantial, but our Europen archives are growing and it does seem that floppy bows, esoecially large floppy bows were especially popular in America. This makes sence because it was strongly associated with the Fauntleroy style. And the Fauntleroy craze was espeilly pronounced in America. Large collar bows, however, were worn with many other suits as well as blouses. Many boys dressed up and did not wear bows. This was particularly common in the mid-19th century. A good example here is the Wallis brothers in 1852.

Canada

We have, however, noted boys in many other countries wearing floppy bows. A good example is a Canadian boy in 1898. Canadian trends seem to have been similar to American trends.

England

Our English archive for the 20th century is still relarively limited, but we have acquired more images in recent years. We notice bnoth men and boys wearing similar cravats in the early-19th century. We think bows were worn, but before the onvention of photography, we do ot have many images. We see destinctive neckwear for boys appearing by mid-century. We notice an English boy, John Denton, wearing a floppy bow with a tunic in 1858. As in America, we notice very large floppy bows in the late-19th century, part of the Fauntleroy look. Neckwear was optional. Many boy wearing Eton collars did not wear neckwear of any kind. We do see some wearing bows. After the turn of the 20th century, we stil see bows, but the sizes declined. A good example is an unidentified boy about 1900-05. After World War I we rarely see bows of any size.

France

We believe that they were particularly popular in France. We have much less information on other countries.

Germany

We see German boys in the late 19th and early 20th centuries wearing floppy bows. They do not seem as popular as in America, but the photographic recird shows many boys wearing them. We do not yet notice anyrging destinctive about the floppy bows in Germany. As in the rest of Europe, they seem to have been more a boys' than a girls' garment. Unfortunately because of the black and white photography, we do not know what color the bow was. We don't know if they were as popular as in the rest of Europe. The same of course is true as with other neckwear styles. Many of the German images we have show boys wearing floppy bows with Eton collars. A goof example is the boy here. Another good example is another portrait. We also notice boys on family outings wearing Eton collars with floppy bows. In some other countries we have noted floppy bows being worn with many other types of collars such as ruffled and lace collars. We are not yet able to fully assess German trends because of our still limited archive of images. Floppy bows continued to be commonly worn until World War I. We still notice some in the 1920s and even the early 30s. They were rarely seen by the mid-30s.

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Last updated: 4:53 AM 4/29/2017