American Tunics: Chronology

American boy tunic

Figure 1.--This unidentified daguerreotype is undated, but almost certainly was made in the 1850s. We see a lot of boys wearing tunics like this in the 1850s, although usually they had long sleeves. Notice the cap he is holding as well as the belt worn iover the tunic.

Our inflormation on the 19th century is limited. We believe that tunics were popular in the early and mid-19th century. Quite a number of naive artists painted boy wearing tunics of various descriptions, although the number od images is relatively limited. We think they were primarily a style worn by the urban elite, probably following European fashions. We also have noted them in the photographic record. A substantial number of photographs first becomes available in the 1850s. Quite a number of the early images show boys wearing tunics that look somewhat like shirts, although often the image quality is not very good or details obscured. Most of the phogogrphs we have found show boys wearing long pants with these tunics, but fashion plates often show bloomer knickers. The detinction is the length and front buttoning. These tunics can also be seen in the 1860s, but seem much less common. A good example is Stirling G. Anderson, we think in the early 1870s. They seem less common after the1860s, but the style becme imensely popular at the turn of the 20th century. We see them being very commonly worn in the late 1890s through the 1910s. The photographic and catalog record provides a great deal of information about tunics un the 20th century. Tunics were very popular for boys at the turn-of-the-century. The turn-of-the 20th century tunics were long worn long almost to the knees, longer ta the early 19th century tunics. Sometimes you could barely see the bloomer knickers. The tunics on the 1910s might be somewhat shorter. We still see tunics on the early 20s, but rarely by the mid-20s.

The 19th Century

Our inflormation on the 19th century is limited. We believe that tunics were popular in the early and mid-19th century. Quite a number of naive artists painted boy wearing tunics of various descriptions, although the number od images is relatively limited. We think they were primarily a style worn by the urban elite, probably following European fashions. We also have noted them in the photographic record. A substantial number of photographs first becomes available in the 1850s. Quite a number of the early images show boys wearing tunics that look somewhat like shirts, although often the image quality is not very good or details obscured. Also many early portrits only showed torsos. Most of the phogogrphs we have found show boys wearing long pants with these tunics, but fashion plates often show bloomer knickers. The detinction is the length and front buttoning. These tunics can also be seen in the 1860s, but seem much less common. A good example is Stirling G. Anderson, we think in the early 1870s. They seem less common after the1860s, but the style becme imensely popular at the turn of the 20th century. We see them being very commonly worn in the late 1890s through the 1910s. The photographic and catalog record provides a great deal of information about tunics in the 20th century.

The 20th Century

Tunics were very popular for boys at the turn-of-the-century. They were worn as both casual play outfits as well as for dressier occassions. The turn-of-the 20th century tunics were long, worn almost to the knees, longer than the mid- 19th century tunics which often looked more like shirts. There were many different styles. Sailor tunics were especially popular. There were different constructions. Some appear to have been pull-over garments. Tese tunics without notticeable buttons seem esoecially common in the 1900s. But as far as we can tell the tunic styles were very similar in both the 1900s and 1910s. while others buttoned up the front or the side. They were usually worn with bloomer knickers. Sometimes you could barely see the bloomer knickers. Other tunics were made shorter so the bloomer knickers were quite prominent. A good example here is Arthur Proulx in 1908. The tunics on the 1910s might be somewhat shorter. They were very widely worn in both the 1900sand 1910s. We still see tunics in the early 20s, but rarely by the mid-20s.







HBC






Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing hair style pages:
[Return to the Main long hair page]
[Return to the Main curl hair page]
[Bangs] [Ringlet curls] [Hair bows] [Caps] [Collar bows]



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




Created: 7:17 AM 9/23/2006
Last edited: 4:55 AM 7/3/2012