Boys' Suits: Decorative Elements


Figure 1.--This American tintype portrait shows an unidentified dapper boy wearing a collar-buttoning suit. He looks to be about 5-years old. Notice the buttons nd piping used to decorate the suit. Notice that the jacket decortion or repeated on the knee pants. The suit styling, background, and white long stockings help date the portrait to the early-1870s. The studio has added the rosy cheeks.

We notice a range of decorations on suits, both jackers and trousers. This is something we do not think of much today as boy suits tend to be plain, done without patterns, let alone decorative elements. This was not the case in the 19th century. We notice a range of decorative elements, including buttons, embrodiery, frogging, and piping. Button are a utilitarian item, but often used for decorative purposes as well. This was mostly for suits worn by younger boys. Embroidery was popular in the suits for younger boys. It often does show clearly as we notice it was often done in the same color as the suit. We see embroidery used extensively on suits for younger boys like Fauntleroy a Zouave suits. Embroidery was especially common on cut-away jackets, including Funtleroy suits. Sometimes the decorations were continued on the pants. Frogging was also a decorative element. Frogging was ornamental braid or coat fastenings consisting of spindle-shaped buttons and loops. It was most common on dress military uniforms, but we see it on boys' wear as well. It was used on some Fauntleroy suits. Piping was also a decorative element. This we see mostly in the 19th century. An exception here was English school blazers we see in the 20th century. Ribbons and braid were used, often for piping. A good example of piping is an unidentified Canadian boy wearing a velvet cut-away jacket suit in the 1860s. These decorative elements were primarily used on the jacket, but we also see decorative element on the pants. These commonly included stripes and colored bands. Some suits ofcourse had more than one decorative element.

Buttons

Button are a utilitarian item, but often used for decorative purposes as well. This was mostly for suits worn by younger boys. The boy's jacket here is a good example (figure 1). The buttons here are used in a utiliarian manner as closings. But the choice of white for the buttons make them standout as adecotive element.

Embroidery

Embroidery was popular in the suits for younger boys. It often does show clearly as we notice it was often done in the same color as the suit. We see embroidery used extensively on suits for younger boys like Fauntleroy a Zouave suits. Embroidery was especially common on cut-away jackets, including Funtleroy suits. Sometimes the decorations were continued on the pants.

Frogging

Frogging was also a decorative element. Frogging was ornamental braid or coat fastenings consisting of spindle-shaped buttons and loops. It was most common on dress military uniforms, but we see it on boys' wear as well. We note Harry B. Decker, we think in the 1880s. His suit jacket has frogging. We usually see it frogging on jackers without patterns, perhaps reflecting the military origins. Harry's jacket, however, has a loud pattern. Frogging was also used on some Fauntleroy suits.

Piping

Piping was also a decorative element. This we see mostly in the 19th century. The boy here, wethink in the 1870s, is a good example (figure 1). His jacket has heavy piping. An exception here was English school blazers we see in the 20th century. Ribbons and braid were used, often for piping. A good example of piping is an unidentified Canadian boy wearing a velvet cut-away jacket suit in the 1860s.

Stripes and Bands

These decorative elements were primarily used on the jacket, but we also see decorative element on the pants. These commonly included stripes and colored bands.






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Created: 1:30 PM 4/1/2016
Last updated: 1:31 PM 4/1/2016