*** English boy clothes -- suits chronology 19th century -- 1880s

English Boys Suits: Chronology--The 1880s

Maitland Brereton
Figure 1.--This cabinet portrait shows Maitland Brereton (writing indistinct) in 1888. The studio was Ramsey on the Isle of Man. Maitland sent the portrait to his Auntie Annie. He wears a single breasted sack suit with a vest. Notice the very large lapelnd the piping. He has an emaculate Eton collar, very common at the time. We assmed this was his school uniform, but his tie does not look like a school tie. The mount has a gold colored trim.

We begin to see more standaization in suits types during the 1880s as ready made garments became increasingly common. Younger boys might wear Fauntleroy suits which appeared in the late-80s, although fancy suits for younger boys were known becfore the Fauntleroy Craze. This was a fashionable style that first appeared in America and was even more popular there. The standard single-breasted sack suit became common in the late-19th century. It was adopted as a school uniform at many public (elite private boarding) schools, often with full-cut knicker pants. They were commonly worn with Eton collars. Boys at state primary schools did not wear uniforms, but many boys wore suits with Eton collars. These were not really Eton suits, or the suits worn by boys at Eton College. This was a short black jacket worn with striped pants. The suits worn at most other schools were more commonly sack suit jackets, but worn with the stiff white coolars tht the Eton boys made famous. Britain was significamtly expanding its state school system in the late-19th century. And it was very common for boys in these schools to wear suits with Eton collars. We as a result note a lot of boys wearing Eton collars with suits. Many came with vests. Lapels were often set higher on the coat than was common in the 20th century. The single-breasted jacket was the most common. Other styles like Norfolk jackets appeared at this time. So did blazers. We note a variety of trousers, including long pants and knickers. Knickers see common at public schools. There were also knee pants, but we are unsure just how common they were. Knee pants seem more common at state primaries.


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Created: 5:43 AM 5/9/2009
Last updated: 8:43 PM 12/4/2012