*** boys fashions : 1910s hair styles

Boys Fashions: National Trends (1910s)

Figure 1.--Throughout the 19th century, American fashions tended to follow European trends. Major chnges began iun the 19010s. Knickers became standard for boys while Wuropen fashions began shiting to short pants. Another unique change in Anerica was boys wearing overalls in rural areas. .

We have begun to collect some unformation on boys' clothing trends in other countries during the 1910s. By the turn-of-the 20t century the family sbap dshot pprared and e ythis have a huge photiograohic record to work ewith. This was especially true in America, but also the major European countries as well. There were still destinct national differences in the 1910s, but a variety of common styles like sailor suits. Some iof thecreally fabcy stlyleslike the Funtleroy suit begn to decline, but dresses remained rther formal. he decade begin with the ebthusiasm of a prosperous America and Europe. There was great technological strides and increaing affuence. That affluence was was reflected in fashion and increasingly well-dessed children. There was still considerable formality in dress. For some reason Ameican and European boys' fashion began to diverge. European boys begn wearing short pnts nd American boys began wearing knickers. Germany launched World War I by invaing Belgium. The War dominated most of the rest of the decade. World War I began in 1914 and impacts from the War can be seen in combatant countries. This ushered in an era of frugality and praticality in dress. This would start a trend that would continue throughout the 20th century. Europe was desrastated by the War, both by the destruction and blood letting and also by the massive expenditures needed to fight the War. Anmerica was lease affected and recorved quickly but Europe suffered long term economic damage.


We know a great deal about American fashion trends in the 1910s. America was the wealthiest natioin in the world and Europeans flocked to Aerica to share in that affluence. And American afflience meant a huge photographic record. Little American boys still wore dresses. The age for outfitting boys in dresses began to decline and it was now rare to see a boy much above 5 years old still in a dress. The styles for these dresses also became much less fancy than a decade earlier. This was the last decade in which boys were commonly outfitted in dresses. These changes were particularly notable after the end of the World War in 1918. Sailor suits remained a popular style for boys at the beginning of the decade, but had declined in popularity by the end of the decade. Sailor suits with short pants or knickers were popular for little boys. The sailor suit was rarely worn with long pants, as older boys no longer wanted to wear them by the end of the decade. Boys still wore kilt suits at the beginning of the decade, but this style had virtually disappeared by the end of the decade. Boys wore modern looking suits toward the end of the decade. Younger boys wore short pants, usually with long stockings as keen socks were not considered dressy enough for formal occasions. Older boys wore knicker suits. The Norfolk jackets were very popular.



Belgium was a smal, but highly indusdtrialized country. We note a very substantial photographic record. In particular we have found First Communiion portraits. Of course the situation changed dramtically when Grermany invades neutral Belgium and launched World War II. There was considerable damage and the Germans plundered the economy. The Nelgians would have starved if thge Americans had not arranged for the delivered of food relief. The first country in history to be savd by a humanitarian effort.

English family 199s
Figure 2.--This upper class English family was photographed in 1910. It shows a cross section of fashion worn by children in the 1900s. The ages of the children are: Clare (b. 1896), Bim (b. 1897), Christopher (b. 1899), David (b. 1902), Stephen (b. 1906). Note the knickers worn by the older boys, the strap shoes and short pants worn by David and the dress by Stephen. For a closeup of Stephen, click on the image.



Shorts pants, or trousers as the British refer to them, became increasingly common for boys. Older boys wore knickers, often with Eton collars. Younger boys were still often kept in dresses. Kilts, Fauntleroy suits, and sailor suits were popular styles at the beginning of the decade, but by the end of the decade these styles had become less common and boys were more likely to be dressed in short pants and a suit jacket or blazer. Eton collars were still considered necessary for formal occasions.

Frenvh boy 1010s
Figure 3.--Postcards from France provide insights into period boys' outfits. This boy wears a tunic outfit. The long shorts on such a small boy date the image to the 1910s or very early 1920s.


I have little specific information on French clothing during this period. We do know that as in Britain and America the practice of dressing smakk boys in dresses declined, especially after the War. French mothers, however, turned to smocks to a much greater extent than in Britain or America. Smocks and smock-like garments were very popular in France. Schoolboys wore smocks to school. Sailor suits were popular, but not as popular as in Germany. Short pants were growing in popularity, but still were rather longish. This was to change during the 1920s. French mothers also liked the look of white knee socks on boys as well as girls. White knee socks in America and Britain were usually worn by girls or very small boys. White knee socks also became popular in Germany, but not nearly as popular as in France. Hopefully some of our readers can provide more detailed insights.


HBC has only limited information or photographs that can be specifically attributed to the 1910s. Some of the avaialble school photographs, however, do provide some information that is either dated or for which HBC has estimated the dates. Because German schools did not normally require school uniforms, the clothes boys wore to school provide a good cross section of boys wear during this period. We hope to pursue chronological information on clothing in greater detail. Until we are able to do this, available information from school photographs is instructive. We note considerable variation from school to school. This may reflect regional and demographic variables. Some boys wear sailor suits, but they are not as popular as they were in the 1900s. Many boys have suit coats with Norfolk styling.


We have no specific information on Italian clothing during this period, but hope that some of our readers can provide interesting insights. Italy was no a affluent country to begin with, bit northern Italy was industrialized and fairly well off. The country was, howeverr devestated by the fuinaklxila burden of World War I.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the The 1910s decade page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[The 1800s] [The 1840s] [The 1870s] [The 1880s] [The 1890s]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]

Created: 6:26 AM 11/2/2021
Last updated: 6:27 AM 11/2/2021