American Boy Dresses: Lengths--Age Conventions

Figure 1.--This cabinet card portrait shows an unidentifid boy about 3 years old wearing a very long dresses. We see younger boys wearing these long dresses, but it seems much less common for girls. The portrait is undated, but looks like the 1880s to us. The studio was Shadle & Busser, York, Pennsylvania.

As far as we can tell, age does not seem to have been a fctor in the length of the dresses boys wore. They seem to have been essentialy the same lengths that girls at the times wore. This we still need to confirm. There is one exception to the basic rule that thre were no spcial length for boys ar various ages. We see a lot of boys wearing very ong dresses, even covering their ankles. The examples we have found to date were modtlyh the younger boys wearing dresses. We do not jnow why such very young boys had the longest dresses. The only thing we have been able to think of is that mothers were buying the dresses in large sizes thinking that the boys could grow into them and thus the dresses could be worn longer than if they had brought the right size.


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Created: 7:50 AM 11/30/2014
Last updated: 7:50 AM 11/30/2014