Belgian First Communion Garments: Sailor Suits


Figure 1.--We think this Belgian boy, probably about 1930 had his portrait taken in his First Communion suit--a sailor suit. Notice the black long stockings for formality. We have found a lot of similar portraits from the 1920s-30s. The boys look old enough to be doing their confirmatin, but we do not notice comparable images og younger boys. We think ghat before World war II, that Belgian boys my have done their First Communion later than after the War. Hopefully our Belgian readers can provide some insights.

Sailor suits were especially popular in Belgium during the early-20th century. Not just First Communion suits, but regukat boys wear. Most were dark suits, but we note some white suits as well. Most boys wore sailor caps with these sailor suits. Over time we see fewerboys wearing sailor suits for regular wear. We do have one undated photograph of an unidentified Belgian boy taking First Communion in an elegant knee pants sailor suit. We are not sure if it is black or navy blue, probably navy blue. We would guess that the portrait was taken in the 1930s. The sailor suit the boy wears is a rather elegant one. It is worn with a matching soft top black cap. There is a jacket which buttons rather than a middy blouse. It is worn with a plain white shirt with clored detailing at the collar, rather like a dicky. Also notice he is wearing a white button front vest under the middy jacket and over the white shirt or dickie. It is worn with matching dark knee pants and long black stockings. He has lace-up shoes. He has white gloves and even a hankerchief in his sailor jacket. HBC rarely noted hankerchiefs being worn in sailor jackets. This suit was a dark suit, but we note white suits being worn in France during the 1930s-50s and the same was probably true of Belgium. On the page here we see another sailor suit, again probably from the 1930s (figure 1). This boy's sailor suit is different, looking more like a short tunic. Notice the black long stockings for formality. We have found a lot of similar portraits from the 1920s-30s. The boys look old enough to be doing their confirmation, but we do not notice comparable images og younger boys. We think that before World war II, that Belgian boys my have done their First Communion later than after the War. Hopefully our Belgian readers can provide some insights.

Populaity

Sailor suits were especially popular in Belgium during the late-19th and early-20th century. It was one of the most popular boys' style. Boys wore them when dressing up, play, everyday wear, and school. The photographic record shows large numbers of Belgian boys wearing them. Not just First Communion suits, but regular boys wear. Over time we see fewer boys wearing sailor suits for regular wear.They declined in popularity after World War I, but we continue to see boys wearing them for First Communion into the 1950s. The trends and conventions seem very similar to those in France.

Chronolgy

We have not yet found many 19th century Belgian First Communion portraits. This is not just the case of Belgium. The same is true of other European countries as well and the United States as well. We are not sure just why this is. The photographic record for prosperous European countries like Belgium is fairly extensive by the 1870s. And thus we can pick up major trends fairly easily. Yet we see very few First Communion portraits in the 19th century and boys wearing sailor suits for First Communion are even more rare. This changes with the turn-of-the 20th century. We are not sure what caused this sudden shit. We see the same pattern in other countries as well. We see large numbers of First Communion portraits after the turn of the centurywith the children dressed up for their big event. Not only that but many of the boys wearing sailor suits. This continued for some time even after boys had stopped wearing sailor suits for regular wear. We note an unidentified Belgian boy boy wearing a classic sailor suit for his First Communio in the 1950s. Sailor suits are still worn by boys for First Communion even today in some countries. We see that in Spain. We are less sure about Belgium.

Colors

Most of the sailor suits we see Belgian boys wearing for First Communionm were dark suits, but we note some white suits as well.

Headwear

Often we do not see headwear in First Communion portraits. Most boys Belgian boys wih their bheadwear wore sailor caps with these sailor suits.

Pants

We see Belgian boys wearing a wide variety of pants with their First Communion sailor suits. We see short pants, knee pant, bloomr knickers, and long pants. Knee pants were very common in the late-19th and early-20 century. Short pants were fairly standard in theinter-War era and earlypost-War era. We have one undated photograph of an unidentified Belgian boy taking First Communion in an elegant knee pants sailor suit. We are not sure if it is black or navy blue, probably navy blue. We would guess that the portrait was taken in the 1930s. The sailor suit the boy wears is a rather elegant one. It is worn with a matching soft top black cap. There is a jacket which buttons rather than a middy blouse. It is worn with a plain white shirt with clored detailing at the collar, rather like a dicky. Also notice he is wearing a white button front vest under the middy jacket and over the white shirt or dickie. It is worn with matching dark knee pants and long black stockings. He has lace-up shoes. He has white gloves and even a hankerchief in his sailor jacket. HBC rarely noted hankerchiefs being worn in sailor jackets. This suit was a dark suit, but we note white suits being worn in France during the 1930s-50s and the same was probably true of Belgium. On the page here we see another sailor suit, again probably from the 1930s (figure 1). This boy's sailor suit is different, looking more like a short tunic. Notice the black long stockings for formality.

Age

We have found a lot of portraits like the one here from the 1920s-30s. The boys look old enough to be doing their confirmation, but we do not notice comparable images of younger boys. We think that before World War II, that Belgian boys my have done their First Communion later than after the War. Hopefully our Belgian readers can provide some insights.








HBC







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Created: 2:52 AM 12/7/2007
Last edited: 7:09 PM 5/3/2019