Boys Knitted Wear: Knitsuits--Nationality

Figure 1.--This Dutch boy wears a knit suit. He was photograaphed about 1940. Note the purely ornamental belt. This was also a popular German style.

I know that kitted suits were worn in America and England, probably more so in England. They were also popular in Continental European countries like the Netherlands. There were also popular in Japan. They appear to have also been especially popular in several European countries. other European countries like the France, Netherlands and Germany. I believe they were also popular in Scandanavia, perhaps Poland, the Baltics, and Russia as well, but HBC have few details at this time. HBC begins noticing these suits in most of these countries after World War II, especially the 1950s. The chronology seems similar in most countries, perhaps influenced by World War II.


Boys' knit suits seem ton have been much more popular in Europe than in America. We do not see many boys wearing them in the photographic record. We do see a few in catalogs. A good example is a Sears knit suit offered in the 1921 Fall and Winter catalog. The illustration showed the boy wearing it with long stockings. This was less common in Rurope, salthough we have noted it in Poland.


We believe that knit suits were common worn in Belgium, but we do not have any actual examples.


We believe English boys were wearing knit suits in the alte 19th century, but do not have images to substantiate this. We do have images the turn of the century. The oldest image in our archive is dated 1915, but we believe they were worn earlier. Some of these outfirs are clearly hand made. Even by 1915, however, we believe there were ready made knit suit outfits available. Most of the English knitsuit sets were short pants outfits intil after World War II.


We are not precisly sure when these knit suits became fashionable in France. We notice a lot of images of fashionable French boys wearing knit suits after World War I. We are not sure when they began wearing them. Knit garments were also worn during the summer as casual garments. We note a variety of knit suits or tops and shorts combinations. After World War II, French fashion and kniting magazines carried many fashionable knit outfits for boys. Blouses and romper or short pants were popular styles for younger boys. Many of these were very stylishly and popular for younger boys at mid-century. The blouses could be quite fancy with ruffled collars, ballon sleeves, and other elaborate derailing. Many of the shorts sets were made in the button-on style. Normally the short pants were cut quite short.


We do not have much information on knit suits worn by German boys. We do not think that they were very common. We have archived some examples on HBC. A goof example is an unidentified boy wearing a knit suit with long stockings in 1929.


We notice Japanese boys wearing knit suits after World War II. We are not sire if they were worn before the War.

(The) Netherlands

Knit suits, knit sweaters and matching pants were a popular style in the Netherlands. These knit outfits were worn with both short and long pants. They are usually easy to identify in old photographs because they were more form fitting than regular pants. These knits outfits were usually made in sizes up to about 10 years of age. Only limited chronological information is available. HBC has not noted these knit sets before World War II (1939-45). They were particularly popular in the 1950s and 60s.



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Created: February 17, 2001
Last updated: 5:36 PM 2/21/2010