Rompers are one of the few outfits that HBC has acquired details as to the precisely when a garment was actually created as well as where they were created. Barboteuse or rompers as they are called in English first appeared in 1922. One of the writers of the fashion magazine La femme chez soi either created the romper costume himself or copied from a clothes designer. He described it and presumbaly provided a picture or drawing in a 1922 edition of the magazine. These original rompers were only for baby boys and consisted in a simple [right?] and one-piece suit model. After World War I in the 1920s, children's fashions in France, as in other European countries, changed dramtically and rompers were one of the most important changes for younger boys. The development of the rompers and changes in style and usage in France was highly influential throughout Europe. Rompers were never, however, commonly worn by American boys much older than 2 or 3 years.
HBC has first noted rompers being adverised in 1922. We are not positive, however, that this is when they first appeared.
A French reader reports Barboteuse or rompers as they are called in English first appeared in 1922. One of the writers of the fashion magazine La femme chez soi (Women at home) either created the romper costume himself or copied from a clothes designer. He described it and presumbaly provided a picture or drawing in a 1922 edition of the magazine.
BC notes that romper suits also were being marketed in America during 1922. We do not yet know if they were sold eralier, but it is possible. An American reader comments, "I doubt that the 1922 date is accurate for invention of the romper. Maybe 1922 is the first time the romper became a French child's garment, but the number of rompers in the Montgomery Ward catalogue for 1922 suggests it was well established in the United States by that date."
These original rompers were only for baby boys and consisted in a simple [right?] and one-piece suit model.
After World War I in the 1920s, children's fashions in France, as in other European countries, changed dramtically and rompers were one of the most important changes for younger boys. Before Wprld War I (pre-1914), mothers had few alternatives for their baby boy and girl. The common outfits for babies included a simple "robe," "brassière de laine, "chemise brassière en nansouk" or a "brassière finette" with a "couche de coton". Over these gowns, a baby might be covered with "lange en molleton". Often they had a beautiful "behavoir".
The creation of the "barboteuse" was important because they were such a practical garment. The changes in childrens clothing after Word War I was for just such practical styles. Rompers were practical garments, made of easy to care for materials or knits. They was still only right. [HBC is not sure what this sentence means.]
French rompers have changed significantly over time.
Rompers throuhout the 1920s and early 30s were worn by babies and very young boys. They were exclusively a garment for very young boys.
Older French boys about 1936 began wearing rompers. This changes took place throughout France. In France was according "Congès payés" rompers were used primarily as a play suit for boys. ["Congés payés" means paid vacations. Guess here it could mean: With introduction in France of paid vacations and resulting extended free time for whole family, rompers were used primarily as play suit for boys.] A new more "puffed" style appeared in 1937, offen buttoned at the crotch. The classic romper appeared in 1938. It was a one-piece suit with both legs and sleeves puffed. They often had "col Claudine" collars (a rounded collar with little ribbon knot). The rompers were worn both with and without embroidery. Some were worn with smocks, but many were worn by themselves without smocks. They usually buttoned at the crotch. They were cut very short. This classic style was worn by French boys whitout modification until 1965-1968. The barboteuse during this period was worn by boy s from age 1-6 years. They were worn as an every day play outfit until they began school (maternelle). There were also barboteuse worn for holidays and special events. Some of the smocks for special events might have elaborate smocking (enbroidered) work on the front.
After 1968, the barboteuse was abandoned in France, except for babies. The design of these baby barboteuse employed new styles. In 1980 a back of the barboteuse always classical can be seen. Famous clothing designers ("couturiers") change the look of some rompers.
Rompers in France from the very beginning only worn by boys. Our French source reports, "The barboteuse was never worn by French girls. For French mothers the romper was exclusively a boys' garment. Little girls worn dresses and on the beech a "bain de soleil" (sun suits), sort of "culotte bouffante à bavette" (puffing short pants).
The information for this page comes from French fashion expert Charles. His parents operated a factory producing clothes including children's clothes. He was in fact used as a model for some of his mother's fashion creations and can speak with first hand experience.
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main romper page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[The 1890s] [The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web style pages:
[Dresses] [Smocks] [Bodice kilts] [Kilts] [Sailor suits] [Sailor hats]
[Ring bearer/page costumes] [Shortalls]