*** United States boys clothes: suits chrnology 19th century 1840s suits jackets

United States Boys' Suits Chronology: The 1840s--Jackets

boy's frock coat
Figure 1.-- This unidentified boy wears what loooks like a frock coat. Notice how long it is. The jacket has small lapels. Long trousers go with the suit. Theu look o be a slightly different color. The boy looks to be about 12-13 years of age.

The boy on the previous chronology page wears a very short jecket that looks like the skelton suit jackets still worn through the 1830s. This mid- to late- 1840s sixth plate Daguerreotype potrait shows a boy wearing a very short dark jacket and light-colored pants. We also note very long jackets and lengths in between. We see boys wering suits beginning about age 10 years. This varied somwehat, largely by social class. Boys from well-to-do families might begin to wear suits earlier than boys from working-class families. Jacket styles seem highly varied. A factior here is that readt-made clothes were not yet commonly. Most jackets were sewn one at a time. This gives rise to more diversity than is the case of ready-made jackets. We notice suits with short jackets and often contrasting pants in the 1840s. At this time younger boys began wearing fancy suits, often heavily embroidered jackets. The standard for men was the somber frock coat. Not many boys wore frock cots, but we do see teenagers wearing them. We notice boys wearing short jackets with military styling, although we are not sure precisely when this became stylish. The Mexican War (1854-56) was fought during the 1840s, we believe that the short military-style collar buttoning jacket was a popular style for boys after the War. Men abnd boys fashions are often affected by miklitary styling, especially after aWar. We notice jacket there were smatly tailored like the one the boy here is wearing. We also notice rather poorly fitted jackets. The cost of jackes abnd tiloring is presumably a factor here. The lapels and button arrangements varied. We note both small and large lapels. We note many younger boys photographed wearing blouses and tunics ratherthan suit jackets in the 1840s. In contrast we mostly see boys wearing jackets by the 1860s. We are not ebtirely sure whu thre was such a difference, The difficulty of sewing jackets at home, the cost of purchasing jckets, and the generally low incomes of Americans before the industrial expansion at mid-century, especially with the Civil War (1861-65).


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Created: 10:50 AM 9/22/2012
Last updated: 9:14 PM 6/25/2014