Blouses: Types


Figure 1.--Boys at the turn of the 20th century, younger boys might during the Summer might wear their blouses without jackets. This was the origing of the term "shirt sleevev youngers". Generally it was not considered polite for men to appear in public without their jackets.

Boys wore a variety of plain blouses with collars of modest sizes. Most blouses were solid colors, but stripes were also worn. Middy blouses also became popular by the 1870s. Some of these plain blouses show some influence of sailorstyling, including a back flap or small back flap, but without sailor styling.Blouses have come in a wide range of collars, both fancy and plain. The styles were rather plain until the 1880s when boys started wearing elaborate lace and ruffled collars. Mrs. Burnett's book Little Lord Fauntleroy created a crze for velvet suits wirn with elaborate blouses. .With the Fauntleroy craze of the 1880s, extremely elaborate, frilly blouses appeared for boys. The Fauntleroy blouse came in many styles. Boys after World War I (1914-18) began wearing plainer blouses once again. A popular style became blouses with Peter Pan collars.

Plain

Boys wore a variety of plain blouses with collars of modest sizes. Most blouses were solid colors, but stripes were also worn. Middy blouses also became popular by the 1870s. Some of these plain blouses show some influence of sailor styling, including a back flap or small back flap, but without sailor styling. The garments are clearly blouses because they blouse over the pants rather than being tucked into the waistband. We're unsure at this time as to whether such blouses pre-date middy blouses. After thec turn of the 20-century, blouses with Peter Pan collars appeared.

Collar Styles

We see many boys wearing blouses with ruffled collars during the mid- abd late-19th century. They were often worn with jackets so it is difficult to see the blouse. Some of the cut-away jackets worn with them give us a good view of the blouse. A good example is the blouse worn by 6-year old Chicago boy R. Demarst. The Fautleroy blouses were often more difficult to make out because of all the fancy trim. Two of the most popular collar styles for blouses in the 20th century bwere Eton and Peter Pan collars. The Eton collar blouses were not the Eton shorts worn by school boys. These were detachable collars. Rather in the 1920s we begfin go seen blouses for younger boys done in the Eton style. At about this time we begin to see similar blouses with Perter Pan collars. We see Perer Pan blouses earkier, but with larger collars.

Low-cut Neclkines

We see some blouses done with low-cut necklines. This seems to have been a popular style in the mid-19th century. A good example is an unidentified American boy about 1850.

Middy Blouses

The best known type of plain blouses were the middy blouse with traditional styling.Less fancy middy blouses were used with sailor suits. The blouses were called middy blouses and were modeled on the uniform of the British Navy. Authentic middy blouses had three white stripes at the cuff and neck to honor Nelson's three great victories. They were first worn by boys, but gradually middy blouses were also made for girls. This in part expllains the gradual shift to younger and younger boys wearing them. Now only the youngest of boys will be seen wearing a middy blouse, but they are still used as girls' school uniforms in countries like Japan and Korea.

Fancy Blouses

WeE notice a variety of fancy blouses worn by boys. The best known here was the Fauntlerou blouse. Mrs. Burnett's book Little Lord Fauntleroy created a crze for velvet suits wirn with elaborate blouses. .With the Fauntleroy craze of the 1880s, extremely elaborate, frilly blouses appeared for boys. The Fauntleroy blouse came in many styles. Some of the blouses had extremely large lace collars as wll as lace edging at the front and even waist as wll as lace trimed cuffs. Initially Fauntleroy jackets were small, made so as not cover the beautifully crafted blouses. The jackets were often made to be worn open so as to display the lace trim and ruffkes for fullest effect. During the summer the blouses might be worn without the jacket. Lace collars were very popular, but blouses with large ruffled collars gradually replaced the lace collars The blouses were worn with and without bows, sometimes quite large bows, of various colors, but often black or white. This usually had little to do with the design of the blouse was morn up to the discerning tastes of the mother. The Funtleroy blouse was not the only style of fancy blouses for boys. We note boys wearing blouses with balooon sleeves in the mid-19th century. We have only limuted information on this style which was also populaerwith girls and women. It seems to have been popular during the 1830s-50. A good example of a boy with baloon sleves is an unidentified American boy, we think in the 1850s. The best known type of fancy blouse is of course the Fauntleroy blouse. The Fauntleroy blouse was almost suely the fanciest, frilly blouse or shirt ever worn by boys. It was also probably the most disliked blouse or shirt in the history of boys' clothing--at leat by the boys. The sailor or middy blouse was generally speaking a plain blouse. Some mothers, however, preferred non-traditional styling which might include added lace or ruffles. This styling was alsomadded to sailor tunic suits. These fancy middy blouses were particularly popular in France.

Russian Blouses

European and American boys at the turn of the 20th Century wore two garments in the Russian style, tunics and blouses both worn as part of a suit ensemble. The Russian tunic had existed for some time. The Russian blouse suit was a new style. The Russian style came in two styles, a tightly buttoned at the neck style which appeared in the 1890s and an open square collared style which appeared after the turn of the century. The open square collar was rather an informal style worn with short pants. This style was popular throughout Europe and America. As clothing became more informal in the 1900s and 1910s, younger boys began wearing a Russian blouse by itself in both a closed and open neck style.

Button-on Blouses

Many blouses were done in the button-on style. We note this style in the 19th century. We know that skeleton suits were done with buttob-on styling. We are not sure about the blouses worn with them. We see button-on blouses in themid-19th century. A good example is an unidentified American boy about 1850.

Other

I do not know of other types of plain blouses at this time, but assume that it is simply because I have not pursued this topic in detail yet.







HBC




Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main blouse page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]




Created: 3:12 AM 7/6/2004
Last updated: 2:11 AM 5/30/2012