student questions concerning boys clothes

Student Questions Concerning Boys Clothing Styles

Figure 1.--The usefulness of photographs as historical documents is strongly correlated with their provinence. They are most useful if we know who the people are and when they were photographed. Often HBC acquires images with no provinance. All that HBC knows about this image, for example, is that it is American. We can only guess the date, probably about 1880. Note the boys' small collar and lapel and his watch fob. Also note the checkered stockings.

Schools in different countries have found HBC to be a valuable historical resource. Children are intrigued by what life was like for people their age and how they dressed in various historical eras. Here are some of the questions received and HBC's answer. We incourage the students and schools involved to inform HBC of the information we compiled as we would like to know what contemporary young people think about historical fashions .


How did people shop in the beginnig of the 1900s? malls, little stores, catolog? -- KB

HBC Answer: There was no such thing as shopping malls as we know them at the turn of the century, although large cities might have a building with different stores--especially on the first floor. Department stores had were very popular. Most stores were store/street front establishments and located down town and people went there to shop by tram or trolly car. If you lived in the coutry, and many Americans still did at the turn of the century, you would shop with a Montgromery Ward or Sears catalog. Most libraries have reproductions of these old catalogs. Ask your librarian about them. They are fun to look at. Hope this helps.

American Colonial Boy

They christopher im just asking the 28th in my school i need to dress as a colonial boy wat shuld i weare and wear can i get it? -- Willy

HBC Answer: A colonial boy when he dressed up might have worn a rather flouncy shirt with a ruffle collar, knee breeches, white long stockings, and buckle shoes. Of course this would be topped with a tri-cornerd hat. I'm afraid I can't help you where to get the items. Perhaps a ruffle can be added to a white shirt. An old pair of pants (not baggy ones) could be cut off at the knee. White kneesocks should be easy to find. Buckles could be added to a pair of black shoes.

Australian Boy

Hi. Could up please help me. My two sons have a Federation Day at school on Wenesay and was wondering if you could give me some hints on how to dress them up. Thanks, Tania.

HBC Answer: First we need to tell HBC readers that Federation nDay is the celebration of when Australia became a nation in 1901. We believe that Austrlian boys' fashions, despite the climatic differences were in 1901 still very similar to English fashions. Some information is available in the Australian section of HBC, although it is still very limired at this time.

Italian Boys

My daughter is doing a project on the customs of Italy, we were wondering if you might have any photos of clothing worn in Italy years ago, or know of a site where we can locate pictures of Old World Italy. Sincerely, Paula

HBC Reply: HBC has done some work on Italy and here is some informaton on our main Italian page, although we have not been as successfull gatering information on Italy as with some other countries. I'm not sure why Italy i proving mote difficult than some other major European countries. We're hoping to expand the Italian section. but this is all we have at this time. Hope it helps.

Norwegian Boy

Our class is going to dress up like kids from other countries. I am going to be a Norwegian boy. Can you tell what I should wear? -- Bobby

HBC Answer: Well you have chosen an interesting country. You could dress as a Viking like the ones that teorized Europe in the Middle Ages. Another option is to dress like the Lapps in northern Norway. In modern terms Norway is a very young country, being ruled as part of Sweden or Denmark. The clothes worn by boys in Scandinavia had many similarities. Modern Norwegian boys clothing is much like boys wear throughout Europe, although given their northern location sweaters and warms coats are needed. If you want a more historic look, the sailor suit was widely worn by Scandinavian boys in the early 20th century. Boys would have blue wool suits for the winter and white light-weight suits for the summer. Some times white middy blouses were worn with dark pants. Usually boys wore kneepants with long over the knee stockings, although shorter socks might be worn in the summer. One particularly important item for a Norwegian boy was a knive given to him while still in grade school. Of course you can not wear a knove to school, but you might want to mention that when you describe Norway and Norwegian boys' clothing to your class.

Roman Boys

I am doing a project for my Latin class. I have to compare clothing from the ancient Roman days and now to the Modern day. Do you have any idea what the wear today in Rome?

HBC Answer: Children in Rome and the rest of Italy dress very similarly to American children. Amerucan fashions have strongly influenced most of Europe. Jeans are almost a uniform for Italian children both boys and girls.

ThinkQuest Junior

Three of my students are working on their first web pages for a contest called ThinkQuest Junior. They are in sixth grade and are doing a project on fashion and how it is related to history. At the beginning, the kids were finding pictures of fashion but had not connected the connection between history and fashion.We found your website and we were wondering if we could link it to our website for other people to study if they visit us? Also, could we copy some of your pictures to put onour website? You and your work will be noted. We will let you know when it is up so you can visit us, too. Thank you very much. -- Dana Garlick, Gateway Specialist, Barnstable Middle School at Marstons Mills

HBC Answer: The answer is of course YES. HBC likes to support schools. If somehow we did not reply, please accept our applogies and you would be welcome to use HBC in the future. The primary goal of HBC is indeed to explore the links between fashion and history. We have, however, just begun that endevor. Much of our effort to date has been to work on fashion and develop information about clothing. We have compiled quite a bit of information, but in fact are just beginning. Some of our preliminary assessments of the historical links are available in HBC's Essay Section.

18th Century Uniforms

I'm doing an exam on fashion and I have to design a 18th century boy's or girl's uniform for a shop. Can you please show me some pictures. I need it by Friday!

HBC Answer: I do not think girls had uniforms in the 18th century. Boys uniforms were rate. A few possibilities: 1. Boys in the military such as drummer boys would have worn military uniforms. 2. Very few schools had uniforms. 2A. A few military schools existed. (Napoleon attended one.) They would have worn military style uniforms. 2B. A few charity schools had uniforms. The best example is Englan's famed hospital (blue coat) schools. As for shop uniforms. That is someting that HBC just as no information about. We would be interested in any information that readers may have.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: September 22, 2000
Last updated: November 28, 2001