National Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: Individual Countries


Figure 1.--These American brothers from Cattleburg, Kansas wear Fauntleroy outfits with huge ruffled collars in the 1890s. The Fauntleroy suits was originally adopted by affluent families, but gradually moderate-income families, like the mother of these boys, adopted the style set by the upperclasses.

No where was the Fauntleroy suit as popular as it came to be in America. The suits Mrs. Burnett created, however, must have been influenced by her English birth and upbringing and the time she spent in France where her youngest son, Vivian, was born. The style was also very popular in England, France, Italy, and other countries as well. Much of the information I have on thd style is American and British. I think this is primarily brcause most of my sources are English language sources. I am hoping that our European HBC viewers will contribute information about the popularity of the style on the continent. Notably, American boys' fashions have notably, with the exception of the Fauntleroy suit and asociated ringlet curls, been much less fancy than French or Italian styles. The topic of national styles certainly requires further research. At this time HBC has only limited information identifying differences in the Fauntleroy suits worn in various countries or on the popularity of the style in those countries. And the information that I do have is largely American. This information certainly is incomplete. Any data that I obtain, however, I will archive here. Some basic patterns do appear to be emerging. Any comments that readers may have would be most welcome.

America

No where was the Fauntleroy suit more popular than in America. Quite a number of boys wore formal velvet Fauntleroy suits, but many more boys wore less expensive suits with large lace or ruffled collars. American boys generally wore Fauntleroy suits with wide-brimmed sailor hats. Other head gear was worn, but was not nearly as popular as in Europe. Someboys wore their Fauntleroy suits with long ringlet curls. Most of the American boys with long hair wore ringlets. I was not common for boys to have long uncurled hair. One of the most destinctive elements of the American Fauntleroy suit was that it was worn with large, carefully tied bows. Most boys wore large bows to match the large collars. Almost all Fauntleroy suits, except for kilt suits, were worn with kneepants. Unlike England. knicker Fauntleroy suits were rare. The American Fauntleroy suit was often worn with heavy high top shoes that looked like boots. The patent leather pumps and buckle shoes worn in England were much less common in America.

Australia

Australia like England and America was caught up in the "Fauntleroy craze" that followed the publication of Mrs. Burnett's book Little Lord Fauntleroy in the mid-1880s. We still have little information at this time on the phenomenon in Australia. We assume that styles followed the English pattern and the chronology was similar to that in England. We are not sure what colors of Fauntleroy suits were worn in Australia, because of the balck and white photography of the day. Hopefully Australian readers will furnish is with clothing catalogs to provide more information. We do note one image showing what looks like a black suit worn with what looks like a red waistband. English boys commonly wore knicker-style pants with their Fauntleroy suits than Ameerican boys who more commonly wore kneepants. We do not yet know what age boys wore Fauntleroy suits in Australia and if this differed from the pattern in England and America. As in England the Fauntleroy suits were often worn with wide brimmed sailor hats.

Austria

We believe the Fauntleroy suit was worn in Austria. French styles were more influential in Austria than in Germany. We have not yet, however, found examples of Austrian Fauntleroy suits.

Belgium

Fauntleroy suits were worn in Belgium. Mrs Burnett's book was a sensation in Europe as well as America and affected boys fashions--although not to the same sdegree as in America. We have, however, very little information at this time, especially 19th century imsges. As best we can tell, Belgian Fsuntleroy suit styles were very similar to those prevalent in France. This was surely the case in Wallonia--the French speaking areas of the country. Fauntleroy suits may have been less popular in Flemish (Dutch) speaking Flanders. Here there were also Dutch and German influences. We are not sure about Fauntleroy suit styles. We notice the suits being worn with lace collars. Belgium of course was famous for its lace. Nor do we know anything about age conventions. We are unable to assess Belgian trends to any extent because our archive is fairly limited and we have found few examples of Fauntleroy suits in Belgium so far. We believe this is because our archive is very limited not because Fauntleroy suits were not very common. We have no information on social class conventions.

Canadian Fauntleroy suits
Figure 2.--Canadian boys wore Fauntleroy suits styled similarly to those worn by American boys. Ringlet curls, however, were not as common. Note the wide-brimmed sailor hat.

Canada

We notice Canadia boys wearing Fauntleroy velvet suits in the late 19th century. As far as we can tell the stles and chronology as well as the conventions involved were very similar to those in the United States. The original inspiration for fancy suits for younger boys was France where Mrs. Burnett lived for a few years. We are unsure if there were differences among the English and French community concerning the tyles and wearing of Fauntleroy suits. We note a burgandy Fauntleroy suit that a Canadian boy wore for a wedding in 1896.


Figure 3.--This London boy had his portrait taken by a Hyde Park photographer, probably in the 1880s. Note the lace trim at the knee, this was not very common for American boys.

England

Fauntleroy suits were widely worn in England, but I believe the style was less popular for working-class families than was the case of America. In adiition, the convention of sending boys off to boarding prep schools at about 8 years of age was becoming established in the 1880s--the same time of the Fauntkleroy craze. Few boys after they left for their prep schools would condescend to wear Fauntleroy suits when they came home. There also were some stylistic differences. Wide brimmed sailor hats were less common as were ringlet curls. Also we have noted many English boys wearing bloomer knickers rather than kneepants as were most common in America. One major difference is that English boys less commonly wore the huge bow tied in elegant classic bows. English suits often had knicker pants and the boys did not often wear the boot-like high button shoes. Rather English boys more commonly wore patent leather shoes like pumps, strap shoes, and buckle shoes even before the turn of the century.

France

Fauntleroy suits were popular in France, although I have not commonly seen the term used to discuss fancy suits made out of velvet and other luxurious materials. Fancy French suits for boys were in fact the inspiration for the famous garment for the litterary hero, Little Lord Fauntleroy. The authoress, Frances Hodgson Burnett, lived in France for a short period with her two young sons before writing the book. The large bows that American boys wore with their suits, however, were not nearly as popular in France. Also it was much less common for French boys to wear their long hair in ringlet curls.

Germany

I believe that the Fauntleroy suit and long hair, especially ringlets, were less popular in Germany than in America and other European countries. We do not have adequate information at this time, however, to make any definitive statement. We do know that Fauntleroy suits were worn to some extent in Germany, but we do not know to what extent. We believe that it may have been more of an aristocratic or wealthy than a middle-class style as was the case in America. Also there may have been significant regional differences. Germany was only unified in 1871 and destinct regional differences persisted in Germany for many years. Fauntleroy suits seem more likely to have been worn in Bavaria, for example than more austere Prussia.

Hungary

The Fauntleroy suit was a hugely popular American and British style, but much less popular on the Continent. . Our Hungaian archive is very limited. We thus do not know just how common Fauntleroy suits were in Hungary. Of course Germany and Austria were major influences, but our 19th century archive is nearly non-existent. But we do not see many Fauntleroy suits in Germany and Austria either. We do note a few 20th cehntury images. These are vestages of the Fauntleroy style among wealthy families in the inter-War era. We see the same phenomenon in Germany and Austria. They were sometimes worn with white long stockings, something not seen in the 19th century. We see some of this in America as well.

Italian Fauntleroy suits
Figure 4.--These Genoa boys wear suits with Fauntleroy styling in the 1890s. Note that some of the outfits are sailor suits with Fauntleroy trim added.

Italy

We believe the Fauntleroy suit was very popular in Italy. We do not, however, yet have any detailed information at this time oin historic Italian fashions. We have found some images of Italian boys wearing boith Fauntkeroy suits as well as suits with Fauntleroy styling.

Scotland

We have no information on Fauntleroy suits in Scotland at this time. We do note the portrait of an Edinburgh boy photographed about 1910.







HBC






Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Fauntleroy related pages:
[Return to the Main Fauntleroy country page]
[Return to the Main Fauntleroy page]
[Return to the Classic Fauntleroy page]
[Fauntleroy dresses] [Lace collars] [Vivian Burnett] [Fauntleroy patterns] [Classic materials] [Classic hair styles] [Individual classic suits]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing other related pages:
[Dresses] [Breeching] [Kilts] [Smocks] [Pinafores] [Sailor Hats] [Blouses]
[Ring Bearers] [Long hair] [Ringlet curls] [Hair bows] [Bangs] [Collars] [Bows]



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




Created: 2:37 AM 12/23/2007
Last updated: 4:21 AM 3/9/2013