Zouave Uniform Outfits: Country Trends


Figure 1.--

We are not entirely sure about Zouave suit country trends at this time. One might expect that they would have been most popular in France. Our archive of French images, howeer, is not large enough to substabntiate this, especially 19th century images. We do note commercia post cards from the early 20th century showing French boys wearing Zouave uniforms. This is not, however, a good indicator of actual usage. Zouave styles were also popular in America, especially when military units were organized with Zouave uniforms. HBC is unsure at this time as to what other countries Zouave uniforms were worn. An observer writes, "Boy’s clothing of the Moorish-styled Zouave pantaloons and jackets first appeared in France in the 1840’s and 50’s, but rapidly migrated to England and America. With the rise of Elmer Ellsworth’s Zouave Cadet Units, in America, in the late 1850’s, the desire for Zouave styled clothing also rose. Throughout the war years, Zouave jackets were worn as a show of patriotism. Boys wanted to wear military styled clothing and the stories of bravery and heroism that were printed about the Zouave units added to the popularity. Illustrations appeared in the many of the publications of the day showing young lads dressed in these uniforms, much like this one from La Mode Illustree in 1861." [Harriman] As might be expected, they do not seem to have been very common in England and Germany, although unadorned cut-away jackers were commonly worn. .

France

One might expect that they would have been most popular in France. Our archive of French images, howeer, is not large enough to substabntiate this, especially 19th century images. We do note commercia post cards from the early 20th century showing French boys wearing Zouave uniforms. This is not, however, a good indicator of actual usage.

America

Zouave styles were also popular in America, especially when military units were organized with Zouave uniforms. HBC is unsure at this time as to what other countries Zouave uniforms were worn. An observer writes, "Boy’s clothing of the Moorish-styled Zouave pantaloons and jackets first appeared in France in the 1840’s and 50’s, but rapidly migrated to England and America. With the rise of Elmer Ellsworth’s Zouave Cadet Units, in America, in the late 1850’s, the desire for Zouave styled clothing also rose. Throughout the war years, Zouave jackets were worn as a show of patriotism. Boys wanted to wear military styled clothing and the stories of bravery and heroism that were printed about the Zouave units added to the popularity. Illustrations appeared in the many of the publications of the day showing young lads dressed in these uniforms, much like this one from La Mode Illustree in 1861." [Harriman] A good example are two American boys, Charles and Harland Russell, during the 1860s. As might be expected, they do not seem to have been very common in England and Germany, although unadorned cut-away jackers were commonly worn. .

England

We note many English boys wearing cut-away jackets in the 1860s and 70s. We donnot see them wearing Zouave-styled suits. Lingering negative attitudes toward the French were probably a factor here.

Germany

Nationalist attitudes probably precluded the popularity of Zouave outfits in Germany. A German reader writes, "I see a lot of old portaits of American boys wearing Zouave-style cut-away jackets, but they are not very common in European. I have not found aportrait of a German boys wearing them.

Italy


Sources

Harriman, Lynne. Timeless Stitches. E-Mail message, January 31, 2006.






HBC





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Created: 8:05 PM 2/6/2008
Last updated: 8:06 PM 2/6/2008