Boys' Neckwear Chronology: The 19th Century

Figure 1.--This English boy was painted by Edward Coleman in 1844. The the collar and necktie look suprisingly modern. The contrasting vest and jacket, however, is a hint of the 1840s.

We notice boys wearing a wide range of neckwear in the 19th century. Some of the styles look very dated while some imnages show boys wearing neckwear that looks surprisingly modern. This somewhat complicated dating images which lavl provinnce. Neckwear was not common in the early 19th century. Many boys had open collars. We do not see many boys in skeleton suits wearing neckwear. I'm less sure about what boys wore with tunics. We see boys beginning to wear neckwear about the 1830s. Stocks became common in the mid-19th cetury. Some of the most destinctive neckwear for boys were the bows boys began wearing in the 1870s. Sometimes the bows were quite large, if not enormous. They were popular in the late 19th century.

The 1800s

The dominant outfit for boys at the turn of the century was the skeleton suit. We note most boys wearing skeleton suits in the 1800s with open collars without any neckwear.

The 1810s

The 1820s

The 1830s

The 1840s

The English boy here was painted by Edward Coleman in 1844. Surprisingly the collar and necktie look suprisingly modern. This is the earliest we have noted a modern looking necktie. Note that it is black. More commnly the neckwar wirn by men and boys waa a stock which almost always were black. It is a little difficicult to make out the neckwear in some available images. We note an unidentified American boy who seems to be wearing a stock with the ends losely done like a bow. Another example worn by a young tenager looks more like a bow. Perhaps HBC readers have a better idea just what he is wearing, wether these are bows and stocks.. The sailor suit was largely introduced with the British royal family began dressing the princes in small versions of the uniforms worn by enlisted sailors. These sailor suits were commonly worn with black scarves.

The 1850s

The stock continued to be the principal style of neckwear worn y men and boys. The actual type of neckwear is often difficult to make out in many images. The predominant form of photography at the time was the Daguerreotype. Quite a number of Dagurreotypes exist from the 1850s. The images are often not at all clear. Many boys wore outfits with jackets that buttoned at the collar, thus not requiring neckwear. Collars were also normally relatively small. A good example is an unidentified American family. Some images show boys wearing neckwear looking rather like bow ties. What ever the form of the knot, the neckwear is almost always black. Neckties were also worn, but do not appear to have been very common.

The 1860s

The CDV and cabinent card appeared in the 1860s. They were less expensive than the Daguerreotype and thus we have many more images. In addition the images are much more clear and distinct. We do not see boys not yet breeched wearing neckwear. In fact some boys wore dresses with low necklines. A good example is two Philadelphia brothers. Interestingly the boys have bows on their shoulders. The most notable aspect of 1860s neckwear is its small size. This is a helpful clue n dating old portraits. The smallest neckwear bows and ties are found in the 1860s. Collars were also small and often white. Many boys did not have neckwear. A good example is Ridy Lagai and Ollie Vail. Actual bow are not very common What e find are mostly bow ties and stock-like neckwear evolving from the 1850s. , but the ones that did have very small neckwear items. We note different kinfs. We note English boys wears a kind of cross tie. We think Charles and Harland Russell are also wearing cross ties, but it is a little difficult to tell. Moe common were lottle bows looking rather like stocks or bow ties. A good example ia a Bowles boy. An English boy, Edward Larrer, wears a small bow tie in 1862.

The 1870s

We begin to see boys commonly wearing floppy bows in the 1870s. They were relatively small in the early 1870s and gradually grew in size during the 1870s. We also see these bows in an increasingly wide range of colors and patterns.

The 1880s

The Fauntleroy craze began in the 1880s. The classic Fautleroy outfit was a velvet suit often worn with a lace collar. Some boys wore lace collars without neckwear, but many also had neckwear--primarily floppy bows. We begin to see quite large floppy bows in the 1880s.

The 1890s

Some of the floppy bows boys wore in the 1890s were enormous. We note that some mothers when buying a mature-style suit for a boy would have him for a few years where it with more juvenile collars and neckwear like floppy bows.


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Created: 1:59 AM 10/31/2004
Last updated: 1:02 AM 2/21/2010