** children's clothes for park outings : French national styles

Boys' Clothes for Outings to the Park: French National Styles

Figure 1--These boys, probably during the late 1940s, are playing in a park. We think yhe boys may be holding chess pieces. Notice the beret and suit jacket the boy is wearing.

France has some beautiful urban parks which have been brought to the world by some of the country's most estemed artists. French boys like English boys might have worn fancy Fauntleroy suits to the park and certainlty sailor suits were very common. HBC believes that some informal styles like smocks were worn by French boys, even before World War I. Tops and hoops were vey popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After World War I, boys mostly wore short pants. Sailor suits were still seen, but were less common. Boys would commonly take their smocks off after school. Skating became very popular. Suits were still often worn. Sandals and high-top shoes were common as were kneesocks. After World War II boys still wore short pants at increasingly short length, but suits became less common in the 1950s. Berets became much less commn in the 1950s as did high-top shoes.

French Parks

France has some beautiful urban parks which have been brought to the world by some of the country's most estemed artists, especially Renoir. We do not have a great deal of information on specific French parks at this time but are beginning to collect information on these parks. The Luxembourg Gardens is one especially beautiful park in Paris. Another important French park is Le Parc des Buttes Chaumont locted in the north of Paris. This park dominats the north of the city and was a favorite place for Parisians with the families to spend Sunday afternoon. It is an important green space with prominent rock outcroppings that boys love to climb.

Chronological Trends

We have compiled some information on French park over time which provide some insights about social and clothing trends over time. Our information, however, is still quite limited. A visit to the park was an important part of the recreation for a French city boy in the late 19th century.A Unfortunately the photograph record is very rare from the 19th century when family snap shots were not yet common. We have found much more information on the 20th century showing how important French parks were, especially in the early and mid 20th cedntury. We are ldess sure about the late 20th century..


French parks had a variety of facilities for both adults and children to enjoy. Many had pleasant gardens and benches for adullts to sit and enjoy the gardens and schat. Some of the most popular facilities for the children were Punch and Judy theaters and carrousels (merry-go rounds). There were also places to play marbels, roll hoops, and ride skates as well as bounce balls. Sports were not played here, but there were lots of places for younger children to play. The facilities of couse varied from park to park.


We note all kinds of activitieves at French parks. And with the frowing imprtanceb family snapshots after the turn of the 20th century and growing affluence after World War II, there is a substantial photographic record. Thus we have a great deal of information about how children dressed and what they did in these parks. We see children in small unorganized groups as well as activity groups organized by adults. Parks had various rules and anenities. Many parks in the 19th century were for well behaved adults and family groups to stroll around and admire the trees and gardens. Often there were paths that the visitors had to stick to on their visits. Signs reading 'Keep Off the Grass" abounded. Over time the parks began to become more friendly to children. Some children used areas that had somooth surfces like concrete to ride their bikes and rollarskates. Many parks had ponds, a wonderful place for boys to sail their sail boats. There were also places to play games like chess. We have found snapshots of children enjoying an unidentified park. Unfortunately we do not have the name of the park or where it is located. We believe the photographs were taken in the 1950s, based on the children's clothing. And we can see facilities for the children.


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Created: January 18, 1998
Last updated: 10:53 AM 2/25/2021