United States Boys' Clothes: Neckwear Prevalence

Figure 1.--Boys' Neckwear was especially prevalent and prominant in the late-19th and early 20th century. These boys were photographed anout 1905. Unfortunately we can't make out the studio impreint. Note all the boys have floppy bows, but their oitfits (Norfolk jacket, tunic, and blouse) are age graded. Some mothers dressed boys in the same outfits, but used the neckwear for age gradeing.

Neckwear was very common in the 19th century and early 20th century when fashions were often formal. Types of neckwear changed as did the prevalence. Neckwear was especially prevalent and prominant after the mid-19th century when America became more urban and more affluent. Neckwear was often considered an essential part of dressing up. There were some exceptions. Floppy bows were not always worn with fancy Fauntleroy bluses and collars. we see boys both with and without them. For some mothers the collars seemed fancy enough. Also neckwear was optional with Eton collars. With these exceptiond, boys commonly wore neckwear, especially when dressing up. Neckwear began to decline after World War I as more casual styles began to become popular. American boys by the 1930s, were no longer commonly wearing neckwear to school, except at private schools. We note that even as neckwear declined in popularity, we see many boys into the 1960s buttoning their collars. Today modern boys no longer wear neckwear. For maby boys even a collared shirt is to dressy. Another convention of importance was using neckwear for age grading. Boys of diffwrent ages might wear similar suits, but different collars and neckwear.


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Created: 7:08 AM 5/7/2008
Last updated: 7:08 AM 5/7/2008