United States Boys' Suits Chronology: The 1880s

Figure 1.--Here we see a cabinet portrait of two unidentified boys, althouh we know that one was named Frank. They demonstratre two popular suit styles. The younger boy wears a collar buttoning jacket. The older boy wears a lapel jacket. Notice how small anf high set the lapels are. Also notice the complete lack of Fauntleroy styling such as large collars and floppy bows. As was common at the time,both boys have not buttoned their jsckets except at the top,perhps a residualaffect of cit-away jackets. Noytice the vests. Both boys wear long pants which were still very common. Many city boys wote knee pants, but in mall towns and ruralareas we still see many younger boys wearing long oants. The studio was Wles in Centerville, Iowa.

Kilt suits for younger boys wee stillpopular in the 1880s. Many mothers did not want to brrch their boys, but dresses were becoming less popular. We are not sure if this was with mothers or the fathers were intervening. Kilt suits continued to be a major style for younger boys throughout the decade although with the appearance of the Fauntleroy craze, some mothers opted for Little Lord Fauntleroy suits. Another popular choice for youunger boys once breeched was the Fauntleroy suit. They became very popular in the mid-1880s after the publication of Mrs. Burnett;s name-sake book. We notice fancy velvet suits for boys in the 1870s, but they were not particularly common. It was in the mid-80s that the Fauntleroy became emensely popular for boys. The classic Fauntleroy jackets were cut-away so they displayed the fancy blouses the boys wore. Some kilt suits were done with Fauntleroy styling. We see a range of suit styles. We note both collar buttoning and lapel jackets. The collar-buttoning jackets were for the younger boys. The lapels tended to be small and set high upon the jacket. There were both single- and double-breasted jackets. Boys wore both knee pants and long pants. Knickers were not very common, however, in contrast tp Europe where many boys wore them with suits. Vests were popular. Many boys wore them with lapel jackets. Most boys still wore long pants, but knee pants were becoming increasingly popular, especially by the late-1880s. The suits were very plain in the early-80s, but with the advent of the Fauntkeroy Craze, we see mothers adding large collars and boes to the standar suits for older boys. Knee pants were still mostly for younger boys, especially early in the decade. They were also less common in rural areas. The knee pants tended to be cut long. commonly well below the knee. They were virtually alkways worn with long stockings. Dark long stockings were standard and also worn by girls.


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Created: 9:36 PM 6/14/2012
Last updated: 9:36 PM 6/14/2012