We notice a variety of outfits popular with younger boys. Little boys swore dresses amd other skirted gsrments like skirts and tunics in the 19th century. Boys began wearing wore smocks to school in the late-19th century and we believe the smock was primarily a school garment. We also notice younger boys raring Fauntleroy suits and sailor suits, although sailor suits were alo worn by school-age boys. Unfortunately we do not have many Belgian 19th century images. We do have a substantial archive for the 20th century. We see occasional younger boys wearing Fauntleroy styles in the early-20th century. Knit outfits were also popular. Rompers were another popular style for younger boys, mostly for pre-school boys. Short pants were almost universal, although many older boys also wore shorts in n the first hlf ogf the 20th century.
Fauntleroy suits were worn in Belgium. Mrs Burnett's book was a sensation in Europe as well as America and affected boys fashions--although not to the same degree as in America. We have, however, very little information at this time, especially 19th century images. As best we can tell, Belgian Fauntleroy suit styles were very similar to those prevalent in France. This was surely the case in Walonia--the French speaking areas of the country. Fauntleroy suits may have been less popular in Flemish speaking Flanders. Here there were also Dutch and German influences. We are not sure about Fauntleroy suit sttyles. We notice the suits being worn with lace collars. Belgium of course was famous for its lace. Nor do we know anything about age conventions. We are unable to assess Belgian trends to any extent because our archive is fairly limited and we have found few examples of Fauntleroy suits in Belgium so far. We believe this is because our archive is very limited not because Fauntleroy suits were not very common. We have no information on social class conventions.
We note younger boys wearing knit suits. We mostly see pre-school boys wearing them. There were done in wool with mstching tops and pants. Most seem to hasve been short pants uits, but there were heavier knoit outdits sone with long pants for winter wear. We note younger boys wearing knit suits. We mostly see pre-school boys wearing them. There were done in wool with matching tops and pants. Most seem to hasve been short pants uits, but there were heavier knoit outdits sone with long pants for winter wear. Here is a good example of a knit suit, we think from the 1930s (figure 1).
HBC notes younger Belgian boys wearing rompers in the 1920s. They were a very popular fashion for boys through the 1960s. They were initially a garment for play and an enormous change from the more restrictive, formals garments in which boys were once dressed. More dressy, formal rompers appeared, but like the play garments were comfortable non-restrictive garments. We believe that rompers in Belgium were primarily adopted from the French fashion. We know of no important difference between French and Belgian rompers. As in France, we assumed rompers were called "barboteuse" in Belgium. There may have been differences in the popularity of rompers between French speaking Walonia and Dutch speaking Flanders.
Unlike some countries where sailor suits were popular, Belgium had no national navy of any consequence. HBC believes that Belgium fashions are basically a function of French fashions and sailor suits were enormously popular in France. Likewise they were extremely popular in Belgium. I'm not sure about the exact chronology, but at the turn of the century most Belgian boys had a sailor suit and commonly wore it. They were an extremely versitile garment They were often worn to school and for a variety of formal occasions.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Belgian garment page]
[Return to the Main Belgian page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]