Belgian Woman's Magazine: Beachwear--Sun Suits, 1952

Figure 1.--"Vrouw en Huis" in 1952 on a page entitled "Aan de boorden ... van de zee!" (The shore... with the sea!) offered sun dresses for girls and romper outfits for the boys. This suggests that rompers were worn by younger boys in both French and Dutch speaking areas of Belgium. It also show that rompers were only worn by boys.

Vrouw en Huis offered romper style sunsuits for younger boys and sundresses for the younger girls. The two styles were very destinctive even for very young children. HBC has wondered if French styles like rompers were more worn by French than Dutch speaking Flemish boys. We note that the Dutch-language fashion magazine Vrouw en Huis carried patterns for school smocks very similar to the French style. This suggests that rompers were worn in Flanders (Dutch speaking area) as well as Walonia (French speaking area).


The Belgian magazine Vrouw en Huis ("Woman and Home") was an important source of fashion information for Belgian and Dutch mothers. We have some issues from the early 1950s. It was a weekly magazine and as it was in Dutch for Flemish readers, was also sold in the Netherlands. I'm not sure how popular it was among French readers.

Individual Outfits

The Vrouw en Huis pictures five different sunsuits and dresses for younger children.

Girl's sun dress: 7774

The ad copy for this girl's sun dress reads, "Zonnebadkleedje uitgewerkt in gestreept linnen, in drie richtingen verwerkt. (1-2 jaar). An internet translation engine tells us that this reads, "Zonnebadkleedje extinct within striped linen , within three trend processes. (1-2 year). Hopefully our Dutch readers will help with the translations.

Figure 2.--This is the 7777 boys' romper suit "Broekpakje uit nopjes-stof". Note the front buttoning style. Most French rompers were back buttoning. This suit did have the backtieing bow like French rompers. This suit was for a 2-3 year old.

Boys' Halter romper pants: 7775

This boys outfit was a a kind of halter romper pants. I haven't noted this style with the the halter in France, but there were similar romper outfits with plain suspenders like suspender shorts or a bib front. It could be worn with or without a shirt. The ad copy reads, "Speelpakje uit tween delen. Witte bloes. Bloesbroekje met schouderbandjes. (3-4 jaar). An internet translation engine tells us that this reads, "Rompers out of two share. Witte blouse. Bloesbroekje with shoulder strap. (3-4 year). Note that the boy wears escadrillos?? a kind of Spanish footwear. We have also noted them being worn in France.

Babies' sun dress: 7776

This sun dress presumably could be worn by either a baby boy or girl as could the beach hat the child is wearing. The ad copy reads, "Strandkleedje met kasuifel-lijfje. Uitgebekte randen. Uitgebekte zoom (12-18 maanden). An internet translation engine tells us that this reads, "Strandkleedje with kasuifel - bodice. Uitgebekte rim. Uitgebekte edge (12-18 month).

Boys' romper suit: 7777

This outfit is a romper suit for a slightly younger boy. As in France, romper suits were worn by younger boys than suspender romper bottoms wiorn with blouses. The ad copy for this boys' romper suit reads, "Broekpakje uit nopjes-stof. Puntkraagje. Zeer ruim broekje. (2-3 jaar)." An internet translation engine tells us that this reads, "Romper suit out of nopjes-theme. Puntkraagje. Sore wide trousers. (2-3 year)". We note many differnces from the romper or barboteuse suits we have seen in France. This romper suit is front buttoning. Most French romper suits were back buttoning. Also it is a sleevless rompersuit. Often romper suits had puff sleeves, although this sleevless style might be an adaptation for beach wear. It also does not have smocking or pleats and it does not have a Peter Pan collar. We are unsure at this time if these differences relate to differences between the rompers worn by Dutch-speaking Flemish boys and those worn by French-speaking boys in Walonia which presumably wore French styles. Notice that this romper suit had a back tieing bow like most French romper suits. Compare it to the halter and suspender romper pants which did not have this back tieing bow. It is unclear what the back tieing bow is for, except ornamentation, because the suit is front buttoning.

Girl's sun dress: 7774

The ad copy for this girl's sun dress reads, "Kleuterkleedje uit geruite Vichy. Afgerond platstukje. Aangefronst rokje. Knoopsluiting over de gehele lengte. Versiering van zig-zagnestel. (2-3 jaar)." An internet translation engine tells us that this reads, "Kleuterkleedje out of chequered ginham. Rounded off platstukje. Aangefronst little skirt. Knoopsluiting via the wholely length. Decoration with zig-zagnestel. (2-3 year)."

Figure 3.--This is the 7775 boys' halter romper pants (speelpakje). It consists of romper bottoms with a lederhosen-type halter. I haven't noted this style with the the halter in France. It could be worn with or without a shirt. It was for a 3-4 year old boy.

French Beach Styles

The reader may want to compare these beach styles with some French sun outfits for younger children.

French Influence

HBC notices a definite French influence with this romper outfits. The romper or "barboteuse" was a very important garment for younger French children until the mid-1960s. We presumed it was also widely worn in Belgium, especially in the Frenc-speaking community. Here we see that Dutch-speaking Flemish boys also wore rompers with some differences in the detailing (halter front) and even the style--especially the front-buttoning romper suit. We do not know if such variations from the French style were mostly worn by Flemish boys or if French-speaking boys also wore them. Rompers of course were not just a Frebch style, HBC has noted both Dutch and German boys wearing them as well as boys in other European countries. The romper style, however, was probably mpre important in francer than any other country.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: January 12, 2002
Last updated: January 14, 2002