American Boy Dresses: Accompanying Clothes--Overcoats

Figure 1.--This CDV is undated, but we would guess the late-1860s. The child is cleaerly a boy wearing a dress. And mother has left his overcoat on for the portait. We suspect anotyher portrait was made with just the dress. We believe the overcoat was made to be worn with a dress. The overcoat is cut full to accomodate the dress. It probablky could be worn by both boys anf girls. The unidentified boy here looks to be about 5 years old. We are not sure where this CDV was taken, but we believe it is American.

Boys just like girls wore overcoats with dresses during the winter. We have not found many examples of this in the photographic record. This is because mothers mostly wanted their sions photographed in their dresses which was the principal garmernt and not covered up with a heavy overcoat which was much less stylish than the cost. Thus we are not entirely sure what style overcoats boys wore with dresses. Overcoats were made with boy boy and girl styling. Younger children, however, might wear similar or identical styles. Dresses might be more voluminious than suits, especially at mid centuy, so standard boys' overcpats might not do. The paucity of images in the photographic record, however, makes this difficult to assess. There are more examples with girls wearing overcoats, but this too is not very common as mothers wanted their beautiful dresses to show in the portraits.


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Created: 10:04 PM 4/25/2011
Last updated: 10:04 PM 4/25/2011