Bows on Boys' Collars: Age Trends

Figure 1.--Here we see a boy about 13 years old wearing a large white floppy bow with what looks like an Eton collar. The image is undated, but looks to have been taken about 1900. We believe the children are American, but we are not sure. A reader believes the children could be Canadian.

Boys in the 19th Century commonly wore bows with dressy outfits from the time they were breeched until they began to wear more boyish-styled suits. They were generally worn by younger boys, but not exclusevely. They were worn by boys anywhere from about 3 to 11-12 years of age. Youngr boys commonly wore them with juvenile style outfits like kilt suits, Fauntleroy suits, and Buster Brown tunics. A good example is 7-year old Raymond J.D. Webb about 1900. Some boys of even 13 and 14 might wear them if they had an especially adoring mother. These older boys generally wore bows with a mature-looking sack suit. When they were a little older they might wear this same suit with more mature neckwear.


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Created: 3:38 PM 12/29/2005
Last updated: 6:42 AM 11/6/2011