Boys' Clothing Glossary: "M"

Figure 1.--.

We have begun to build a glossary of boys' clothing terms. As boys clothes until the 19th century was the sane as adult male clothing, we have included many applicable men's clothing terms. We have also included some women's terms as younger boys commonly wore dresses until the 20th century. As HBC is extensively used by non-native English speakers we plan to give considerable attention to this glossary so that words can be looked up. It will also serve as an index as we will provide links to the appropriate pages. We eventually hope to add foreign words, but that will take some time.

Marlowe suits: Prestigious American retailers in the 1940s advertized a Marlowe short pants suits. One ad showed a three button jacket, shorts above knee length, with knee-socks and holding a Brtitish school-boy type peaked cap.

Media Treatment: Fully budgeted movies and television programs give considerable attention to costuming. The visual impact of the costuming can contribute to the dramatic tension of a program. Boys costumed in short pants, for example, appear younger and more inocent than boys wearing long pants. Many shows dealing with short pants addressed a style that boys were actually wearing. The reaction of boys and parents watching these shows was thus serious. Many other clothing styles were incorprated for commic relief or paradody, thus causing a different reaction.

Middy blouse: A middy blouse is a loose blouse with a "V" shaped sailor collar and usually large square extension in the back. It usually extends below the waistline to terminate in a broad band or fold. The sailor suit and middy blouse popularized by Queen Victoria in the 1940s for the young princes was accurately based on the actual uniform worn by British seamen. Boys blouses during the late 19th century could be quite fancy with both lace and ruffled collars. Less fancy blouses were also popular. Basic middy blouses were worn with sailor suits. While most were plain, there were also fancier styles made with lace and ruffles for little girls and boys.

Military uniforms: Military uniforms have had a great influence on boys clothing. Boys have actually been in the military. President Andrew Jackson as a boy of 12 was taken prisioner by the British in the Revoluntionary War. Through the American Civil War boys served as drummer boys. Many countries have military schools. Such schools are particularly popular in the United States. Various countries have set up cadet or ROTC programs for boys interested in the military. Besides actual service, military styles havde had a tremendous influence on both men's and boys clothing.

Mittens: Generally wealthy people war leather gloves. More humble families might buy wollen mittens for the children.

Monmoth or Monmouth Cap: In the 17th and 18th centuries small knitted woolen caps worn by the laboring sort, sailors, and slaves were often referred to as "Monmouth Caps." The name is derived from one of England's great port cities and its particular associations with seafaring. Knitting of caps and stockings was a common pastime for sailors, they sold their wares in the dock streets for additional income.

Mufflers: Scarves are worn for various purposes. Mufflers are heavy neck scarves.

Muffs: One HBC contributor inquires if boys who wore long curls and hair bows with dresses include girlish muffs? HBC is unsure. Ceratinly boys after breeching would not have worn muffs, but I have never read about what the convention was before breeching. It seems likely, however, that if the boy has not yet been breeched that a boy might have had a muff, this is especially true as muffs were worn by men and women in the 18th century and only gradually became a woman's garment in the 19th century. Thus a small boy in dresses may well have had a muff as well in cold weather.

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main glossary page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Bibliographies] [Biographies] [Contributions] [Countries] [FAQs] [Photography] [Style Index]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[Return to the Main chronological page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web style pages:
[Blazers] [Jackets] [Long pants suits] [Kilts] [Sailor suits] [Knickers] [Eton suits]
[Fauntleroy suits] [Hair styles] [Youth groups]

Created: July 9, 2001
Last updated: July 9, 2001