Children grow very rapidly as mothers know who have to buy their clothes. Some times boy wear suits that show to much of their sleeves or are have short or long pants that are too short. Mothers once they have decided to but a new suit have to drag their son to the department store to be measured for a new suit. As boys are often not to happy about the idea, somrtimes they go shopping without their son, guessing at the sizes. It is usually mon who does this, although dad might take his son to the men's oufitter for the first adut suit. Suits were often brought at easter or for the holidays. Speciall occasions like First Communion or Confirmation might also call for a new suit.
The mother in the Saturday Evening Post illustration on this page has gotten this boy's suit out of the trunk, hoping that he can still wear it for some special occasion. It is September as she apparently is pulling last year's winter clothes out of mothballs in the trunk to see what will have to be purchased. There is a note stuck to the lid of the trunk. The boy partially obsures it, but the words that can be seen are "Junior," "wool su[it]", "sweat[er]", "etc." Notice the heavy coat still in the trunk. Mother is apparently making a list for an upcoming shopping trip. The open page of the notebook reads, "To Buy, Cont--". Unfortunately it looks like he will need a new suit. The suit is navy or dark blue suit
Jacket: The give away is definitely the shortness of the sleeves on the coat. It is clearly impossible for the boy to wear it again, a new one will have to be bought.
Collar: Notice the characteristic collar. This was popular in America during the 1930s and 40s.
Short pants: The short pants are more of a question. Suits shorts did no commonly wear out. They don't get that much wear and unlike long pants can't ear or wear out at the knees. Perhaps the mother thinks that the shorts are too short and he has outgrown them. Unlike the jacket, hpwever, shorts could be worn at different lengths. Not only did styles change, but also mothers' preferences varied. So it is unclear if she thinks the shorts are too short. Also unclear is why mother has another pair of short pants on her lap. So HBC has no idea what the second pair of shorts is all about. Suits did not normally come with two pairs of shorts.
Ankle socks: Note that like many Americam boys, he wears ankle socks and not kneesocks. They are olive colored socks with red, white, and medium green stripes. However he appears to wear kneesocks with his suit as a pair of grey kneesocks are laid out by mother's notebook.
One critique writes of the scene, "Another boy is simply uninterested, but his mother shows distress to find that he has outgrown last year's school clothes." [Jan Cohn, Covers of the Saturday Evening Post, 1995.] HBC is not convinced, however, the suit is the boy's school uniform. Boys at public school commonly wore knickers and by the 1930s, wearing suits to school was increasingly less common. Younger boys might have worn shorts, but it was not the general pattern. Boys at private school were more likely to wear short pants suits. If the parents could afford a private school, however, it is unlikely that mother would be so concerned about the expense of buying a new suit.
At any rate, this is an old suit that's probably going to become a
hand-me-down if the boy has a younger brother, or maybe a gift to a cousin. The boy's expression is a little harder to understand. From the looks of things, her decision will be final. Son will receive the verdict, and he appears to be concerned only with when Mom will decide and allow him to go back to play. Maybe the other pair of shorts in Mom's lap may be for casual wear or school, and Mom will adjust them, as she will her son's suit trousers.
Children grow very rapidly as mothers know who have to buy their clothes. Some times boy wear suits that show to much of their sleeves or are have short or long pants that are too short. Mothers varied about this. Some mothers who didn't have to worry about money might buy a new suit very year regardless. Many moderate income mothers would try to get as much wear out of their clothes as possible.
Mothers once they have decided to but a new suit have to drag their son to the department store to be measured for a new suit. As boys are often not to happy about the idea, somrtimes they go shopping without their son, guessing at the sizes. It is usually mon who does this, although dad might take his son to the men's oufitter for the first adut suit.
A new suit of course could be bought at any time, but there were times when it was more likely than others to get a new suit.
New spring suits were often brought at Easter. Perhaps new outfits for sisters were more common, but many mothers did not forget their sons. Younger boys might get a new Eton suit. This was a good time to get a seasonal suit like light-weight searsucker or linnen suit. Bright Madras jackets with contrasting solid-color shorts were also popular.
The beginning of the school year was always a major time for purchasing new clothes. Boys used to more commonly wear suits to school. Boys attending some private schools still do. Schools around the world start at various times. Many were initially aligned with the season to begin in the fall after harvests. Thus September was a common time to begin school in America. Heavier-weight materials were common such as a heavy flannel or wool worsted. Corduroy was popular in the 1920s and 30s.
Some boys received new suits around the holiday season. This was particularly common for younger boys receiving special holiday togs suchbas a velver suit or colorful red or plaaid blazer.
Special occasions like First Communion or confirmation might also call for a new suit. Some of these suits might just be worn for the occasion, like a white Firrs Communion duit. Other mothers might buy a more practical blue suit that could be worn for best after the celebration. Of course sometimes a claas of children doing their Firsr Communion might be dresses all alike so mother had no say in the matter.
Boys serving as ring bearers or ushers might get a new Eton suit or in some cases much fancier suits. But even boys just attending a wedding without any
special duties might get a new suit.
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