** American mail order catalogs with boys clothes--the 1920s







American Mail Order Catalogs with Boys Clothings: The 1920s


Figure 1.--Unfortunately we do not have the date that this Tom Sawyer advertisement wapublished, but we believe it was in the early-1920s, probably 1921 or 22. The knee pants rather than short pants sailor suit and the strap shoes suggest the early-20s. The legend reads, "Washwear for real boys." Note the sharp creases in the boy's knee pants.

Mail order catalogs, advertisements, and fashion masgazines show major changes in American boys clothes during the 1920s. Boys still commonly wore suits, but casual styles were beconing increasingly popular. Younger chilren were wearing rompers. Knee pants were still worn in the early-1920s, but were completely replaced by short pants and knickers by the mid 1920s. American boys fashions showing a trend began in the 1910s show major departures from Europe styles. For the most part only younger American boys wore short pants, although there were social class duifferences. Knickers were much more commonly worn in America than in Europe. Long stockings were still widely worn by school-age children, athough by the end of the decade, knee socks were becoming increasingly popular.

1920s

We have found some catalogs pages and advertisements as well as patterns which we can not attribute to specific years. This we are adding these images here as garments that seem to dare from the 1920s, but which we can not with definitive enter into a particular year. One such item is a pattern for rompers from the Ladies Home Journal. Here we see a Tom Sawyer ad for a sailor tunic (figure 1). It is undated, but was probably published about 1920. Another Tom Sawyer ad shows two boys wearing blouses and knickers. We also do not have the date for this ad, but like the ad here would have been published about 1920. We notice an undated McCalls pattern for men and boys one-piece pajamas. They look rather like the 1920s to us. They do not seem to have been very popular. Fashion magazines still made references to European styles, usually either Britain or France.

1920

Major changes took place in American boys' clothing following World War I in the 1920s. Some of the older styles were still worn in 1920. Boys still commonly wore suits. We begin to see some of the newer styles as well. One popular new style was the sport shirt or blouse. We note a Buternick pattern. Kneepants were much less common as younger boys were beginning to wear short pants. The shorts often still had the for older boys. We note younger boys still wearing kneepants with the three buttons trim. Older boys were more commonly wearing knickers rather than kneepants. We note some boys wearing kneesocks. We note different styles of Nazareth children's underwear in the early 1920s. We have found a catalog from the Harris Suspender Company for Kazoo waists. While the catalog is undated, we believe that it was published in 1920-21.

1921

Sailor caps and hats still dominated boys headwear in 1921. Many styles existed. There were still some brimmed hats, often with the brimed turned down. There were also brimless soft caps. Flat caps were worn by oler boys. Younger boys still commonly wore sailor suits and there were many different styles. Kneepants suits were the most common. A good example is seen here (figure 1).

1922

American mail order catalogs in 1922 featured many new styles that were not available in the 1900s. Rompers were especially available for younger children. Both boys and girls wore them. There was also a wide variety of hosiery. Long stockings were still commonly worn. Older boys wore sailor suits and suits. Shirts were offered for boys. Earlier terms like blouses and waists were more common. There were overcoats for Winter wear. There was a variety of underwaists available.

1923

A 1923 Wards mail order catalog shows the varid styles of underwear available for boys and girls in 1923. The underwear came equipped with numerous buttons for button-on styled clothing and for holding up the long stockings that were still commonly worn. Girls had bloomer or romper styled underwear while boys, excet for the youngest, wore stright legged underwear. Many styles for boys and girls were checked.

1924

American mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. Younger boys might still wear sailor suits. Wash suits were popular play outfits. American boys in 1924 commonly wore knickers. Most boys wore long stockings with knickers. We note a full page ad for Sears long stockings. There were also a variety of support garments offered. We increasingly see low-cut oxfords being offered rather thsn high-top shoes.

1925

We have some information on popular 1925s styles. Sears offered boys' sweaters, some quite heavy, in its Fall-Winter catalog some of which look dated while others seem rather modern. Sears offered a page with several different styles of knicker suits in corduroy and other materials. Norfolk styling was still evident. They came with extra pants. Long stockings were still quite common. The Sears knickers ad shows them being worn with long stockings rather than kneesocks. Sears also offered stocking supporters. We also note styles of summer underwear offered by Sears.

1926

We have begun to collect some information on 1926 advertisements amd mail order listings at this time. Most boys wore knickers. We note a prestige retailer offering English style short pants suits. This was a style more common with well-to-do families. We have acquired a Wards catalog page for gater waists. There were garters for boys who had graduated to long trousers. We also notice ads from the Excelsior Shoe Company for Boy Scout shoes. There were three styles offered, including the still popular high-top style.

1927

American mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. Flat caps were the mosdt common headwear. We see various styles of suits. Knickers were still very commonly worn. worn. Long pants were becoming increasingly common. Younger boys still wire short pants, especially in the summer. We note patterns for coats and suits offered by Paren's Magazine. Long stockings still being widely sold. Adds for long stockings show the new longer length needed for shorter clothing. Also the new lighter colored browns and tans are prevalent. Cotton has replaced wool as the most common materrial. Kneesocks were increasing in popularity. Underwear might be unferwaists or waist suits.

1928

Little boy suits were popular, including silk suits, sailor suits, pwggy cloth suits for boys 3 to 8 years. Sailor suits might have long or short pants, although most other fancy suits had short pants. Play suits were made with long pants, including coveralls. Cowboy and Indian play suits were also popular. We notice Sears advertizing patterened long stockings, a style we have not noticed very much.

1929

American mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. Quite a range of styles were worn in 1929. Quite juvenile styles were made in sizes for younger school-age boys. Little boy suits were popular, including silk suits, sailor suits, peggy cloth suits for boys 3 to 8 years. Sailor suits might have long or short pants, although most other fancy suits had short pants. We note a McCalls pattern for a younger boys suit with a Bolero jacket, looking rather like a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Play suits were made with long pants, including coveralls. Cowboy and Indian play suits were also popular. At the same time quite young boys might wear long pants. Knickers were, however, the predominate style for American boys. At the beginnin of the 1920s, long stockings were very common for children, by 1929 abkle socks and kneesocks had become much more common, but long stockings were still widely worn, especially in the winter. As long stockings were still worn by children in 1929, there were many devices available to hold up or support the long stockings.






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Created: May 20, 2000
Last updated: 5:18 AM 11/18/2010