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

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

Figure 1.--Gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in California (1848). This led to the 1849 gold rush. We begin to see all kinds of Daguerreotypes with gold jewelry highlighted even on children. Never before or since have so many ordinary children sported so much gold. A dealer dates it to the late-1840s. We think the early-50s more likely because of all the gold. Noted the paterned blouse which does not match the jacket. Click on the image to see their younger brothers.

We see boys wering suits beginning about age 10 years. This varied somwehat, largely by social class. Boys from well-todo families might begin to wear suits earlier than boys from working-class families. Jacket styles seem highly varied. A factoor here is that ready-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 military 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 jackets, 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