Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: Individual Suits

Figure 1.--This velvet Fauntleroy suit was a purpulish color. It came with a skirt-kilt and was worn bu a boy 6-7 years of age.

The Fauntleroy rage began in 1885-86 after the publication of Mrs. Burnett's s famous book, Little Lord Fauntleroy. Fancy velvet suits for boys began appearing in the late 1870s and early 1880s for younger boys, but did not begin to take its final form in the popular mind until the population of Mrs Burnett's book Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1885-86. Rather than a fancy suit only occasionally seen, the Fauntleroy suit became almost a uniform of American boyhood for boys from affluent and many middle class families. They were not popular with the boys, but, oh--how mothers loved them. how Soon the syle had spread to Europe and was especially popular in France.

A great deal is know about these suits as there are many photographs of boys in these suits as well as detailed discriptions in fashion magazines. Great care needs to be taken in assessing these suits from the available black and white photography. It suggests that the suits were mostly black. In additiion many of the photographs are of poor quality. Some interesting details on the color, material, and construction cab be obtained by assessing actual suits which have survived.

Figure 2.--Notice the decorative buttons and the blue cotton linings.

Purple Fauntleroy Skirt/Kilt

This is a great jacket and pleated skirt/kilt suit from the late 1880s. Skirt is the more accurate term as it is not plaid, but many such garments were still marketed asckilt suits in the 1880s and 1890s. It appears to have been a little boys' suit. It is of the softest velvet in a soft purple shade. When examining the lining the original color was a brighter royal blue but it has faded evenly to the softer purple shade. The lining material for the skirt is a different color and material than thejacket, even though they are a matching suit. The skirt has 9 pleats around it and a front panel with double rows of six buttons. The buttons are carved mother of pearl. The skirt is lined with a blue polished cotton. The skirt measures 11" long with a deep 3-1/2" hem. The waist is 23" (a 23" waist is about a size 6X or 7 in today's sizes). There are nine concealed button holes in the waistband that probably attached to the underblouse (no longer available). Many Fauntleroy blouses buttoned on to the waist of the matching knee pants and the same was true for ther skirt suits.

Figure 3.--Notice the red and yellow satin linings on thevjacket.
The jacket measures 10" in length with an 8" underarm sleeve length. The edges (hem, front, and neckline) of the jacket are bound in a blue ribbon trim. The jacket is lined in red satin with gold satin in the sleeves for lining. The neck closure is a velvet tab that buttons to either side on two brass ball buttons.

Notice that the jacket would have not closed in full. It was made small so that a frilly blouse worn with the suit would have been shown to best advantage.

These Fauntleroy skirts suits were very practical garments. They could be worn by a boy before breeching. After breecvhing the skirt could be worn with matching kneepants and worn until the jack wore out.

Burgandy Suit

French Canadian Suit

This an excellent example of a period Fauntleroy suit worn by a small Canadian boy as his party suit. It was made of a rich burgandy velvet a good example suggesting that many suits that looked like black velvet in black and white photographs. Notice the silk lining and white stockings worn with the suit. Unfortunately we do not know what kind of hat was worn with the suit.

Figure 4.--This English Fauntleroy suit was made in a cream-colored satin with heavy lace trim on both the collar and cuffs.

Cream Suit

Most Fautleroy suits were made of dark-colored velvet and other material. A few Fauntleroy suits, mostly in the 1900s, were made in white or white shades like cream or ivory. The trim on these suits was always white and not contrasting darl cio

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Created: November 27, 1998
Last updated: August 15, 1998