Italian Boys' Garments: Dresses

Figure 1.-- This undated CDV portait shows an unidentified Italian boy wearing a wide-brimmed hat, white dress with some kind of colored vest, white socks and low cut shoes. We at first thought it was some kind of ethnic garment, but instead looks like a basic white dress. He holds a toy gun to show that he is a boy. We would guess that the portrait was taken in the 1880s, but are not at all sure. The studio was Foto Giulio Rossi. This was an established company with studios in Milan, Fenoa, and Trieste. Trieste at the time was part of the Austrian Empire.

Young Italian boys like other European boys throughout the 19th century seem to have worn dresses, but we have little information on this. Our 19th centuy Italian archive is very limited. As a result, we have few specific details on this practice in Italy, such as dress styles and ages at which boys wore dresses. Nor do we have details on conventiions. We are left with the same basic questions that we have for this practice in other countries. Did Italian boys breeched all at one time or did they continue wearing dresses for a while after their first pants were purchased. The few exmples we have found seem basically the same as the styles we see in other European countries at the time. An issue here is socio-economic. Italy was a relatively poor country compared to many other Western European countries. And the practice of dressing younger boys in dressess seems tohve been in part a practice followed by more affluent families.


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Created: 1:59 AM 11/12/2017
Last updated: 1:59 AM 11/12/2017