American boys have worn wide range of shirts and collars. There were many different types of shirt-like garments. Boys wore blouses, shirts, and shirt waists with different collars. Shirts often taken on the names of their collars as they are the most prominant shirt feature. There are, however, other features, such as the front and buttons, sleeves, and bottom features (such as tails or blouse string). Some of these features are not often visible to the camera. We do not have much informattion on the early 19th centurty. Boys in the mid-19th century tended to have had very small collars. The collars in many instances were so small that they are difficult to identify. Collars increased in size by the late 19th century. There were various styles. Younger boys in the late-19th century might wear lace collars. We also note plainer Eton and Peter Pan collars, although that term was not yet used. By the turn of the 20th century, ruffled collars becamme more common. A good example here is a boy in Washington, Pennsylvania about 1905. Many school age boys in the late 19th and early 20th century wore Eton collars when dressing up. By the 1950s preppy styles were popular, Many boys wore shirts with button-down collars. Collarless "T" shirts became increasing popular in the latter patof the 20th century. One reader writes in 2006, "I have great difficulty getting my son who is in 5th grade to dress up. He doesn't even like collared shirts and insists on wearing T-shirts to school because of peer presure. He tells me, 'Mom the other guys don't wear those shirts."
There were several different types of shirt-like garments. Boys wore blouses, shirts, and shirt waists with different collars. Shirts often taken on the names of their collars as they are the most prominant shirt feature. There are, however, other features, such as the front and buttons, sleeves, and bottom features (such as tails or blouse string). Some of these features are not often visible to the camera. We do not have much informattion on the early 19th centurty. Boys in the mid-19th century tended to have had very small collars. The collars in many instances were so small that they are difficult to identify. Often boys were wearing jackets so it is difficult to see the rest of the shirt. A popular style for younger boys were button-on shirts. A range of casual shirts became popular in the 20th century. Some were made with and others without collars. Sports shirts with partial-button fronts were very popular. Collarless shirts which came to be called "T"-shirts became very popular for boys and eventually for girls as well. After World War II, "T"-shirts became a standard for American boys.
There are several different elements to shirts and associated shirt-like garments. The two most important are probably the collar and sleeves. the collar is a strip around the neck. Shirts are normally done with turndown collars, meaning neck strip folded down away from the neck. There are many different collar styles. The often commonly fominated the shirt and the name of the shirt common devolves from the collar. Collars tofay are usually done with point tips at the front. The width betweenm the points is known as the spread. Until zfter World War I there were many different tyoes of collars that were commonly worn with many having rounded tips. The cuffs are also a shirt element, although this can be considered part of the sleeve. Sleeves are often dome as one-piece items with with plackets at the wrist. There are also shortened-length sleeves, but they did not appear until after World War I. There are two lengths. Short sleeves are usually cit anove the elnow. Half sleeves atre cut at the elbow. The cuff is a band of fabric around the wrist. There are other elenents such as the front, back, pockets and waist. The back is often done as one-piece, commonly done either as pleated or gathered. A key part of the shirt is the yoke, but this can often not be noted in available photographs. The yoke is a section of fabric behind the neck and over the shoulders. Many shorts are nuilt around the yoke. They can be one-piece or split in divided vertically in the middle, The sort can also have two front panels which overlap slightly down the middle on the placket to fasten with buttons or in realtively rare examples, studs.
We have very limited information on shirts and collars before the mid-19th century when photography was developed. The greatly increased number of images at that time provide a great deal of informatin on shirt-like garments and collars. Shirts with small collars seem the dominant type t mid-century. You can often varely see whay type of collar was being worn when worn with suits. We see a lot of boys wearing plaid shirt-like unics in the mid-19th century. Suit jackets, often cutaway jackets becomne nore common in the 1860s. In fact they are so common we rarely see the shirts boys are wearing. Often only a small collar shows over the jacket and vest. Gradually we begin to see larger collars, usually white collsars. Some were dtachabe collars worn with shirt waists. Younger boys might wear Fauntleroy blouses with lace collars. At the end of the decade ruffled collrs were poplar, sometimnes huge, worn both with and without floppy bows. Often school age boys wore blouses with large collars and knee pants. Eton collars were popylar for formall wear. The Eton collar continued to be worn in the early 20th century as did blouses with large collars. After World War collars became smaller. Younger boys might wear blouses with Eton collars or Peter Pan collars. Detachable collars disappeared. Sport colllars were popular for a while. Open collars became increasingly popular. Some boys buttoned their collars. Some parents believed it was proper to do this. After World War II, T-shirts without collars became increasingly popular. Preppy styles like Polo-shirts and button-sown collars became fashionable along with madras shirts. Rugby shirts were a popular casual style in the 1970s.
"T"-shirts and jeans are some of the most commonly worn clothes worn by modern boys. Girls also wear them. In is interesting to note that neither were commonly worn by American boys until after World War II (1945). We see them in the early 1940s and they sreadily grow in importance. Until the 1940s boys almost always wore shirts with collars, although collar styles had changed greatly over the years. These clothes did not reach Europe and Engand until the 1960s-70s. T-shirts became popular in America during the 1940s. I think they may have been worn to some extent in the 1930s. The inital ones had bright horizontal stripes. White T-shirts were fashionable in the 1950s with teenagers, especially somewhat rebelious teenagers. There were both short and long sleeved styles. There popularity gradually spread overseas. During the 1970s it became stylish to put logos on T-shirts. At first sport logos were popular. This is another trend that begn in Americ. Corporate logo followed as did logos with social or a variety of other messages.
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