United States Boys' Clothes: Neckwear Age Trends

American boy 20th century neckwear
Figure 1.--This photo postcard was probably taken in the late 1900s. (It is an AZO postcard with four upward triangles.) Note the younger brother wearing a small bow and his older broyjer a necktie. The boys look tp be about 5-7 years old.

The neckwear worn by boys was similar that worn by adults throughout the 18th and early 19th century. This did not begin to change until after the mid-19th centuty. Boys and men at the time wore stocks. The stock went out of style in the 1860s when new form of neckwear appeaed. By the 1870s we see boys wearing modest bows which in the 1880s became quite large. These floppy bows and the large collars that went with yjem seem to almost engulf small boys. And the smaller the boy it seemed to be the larger the bow. These floppy boiws and other destinctive neckwear became associated with the dress of younger boys. This continued into the 1920s when neckties and bow ties became increasingly standard for boys of all ages. Up unil that time it was very common to see younger boys with different types of neclkwear than their older brothers. This commonly was the large floppy bow, but there was also other types of bows.

Age 6 Years

Age 7 Years

Floppy bows were commonly worn by boys in the late-19th and early 20th century. Some were quite large. We note all the boys in the Johnson family wearing floppy bows in 1907. The oldest boy, Lowell, was 7-8 years old. The boys here wear both a small cross bow and a necktie (figure 1).

Age 8 Years


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Created: 11:24 PM 12/19/2007
Last updated: 11:24 PM 12/19/2007