Shortened Pants Suits: Types

Figure 1.--This unidentified boy wears a double breasted short pants suit with knee socks and sandals. He looks to be abvout 6-years old. This is an unidentified photo postcard. We believe it is European, in part because of the sanbdals. We arre nit sure about the country. The portrait is undated, but it looks like the 1930s to us.

The first dedicated suits for boys were skeleton suits which had as knee breeches declined, long pants by the turn-of-the 19th century. Men began wearing long pants a little later. Both boys and men wore long pants during the early-19th century. Around the mid-19th century we begin to see younger boys wearing suits with shiortened-length pants. Bu the end of the dcentury even teenagers were wearing them. Trend in America and Europe were similar until after Wirld War I. European mothers liked preferred short pants suits for boys which American boys did not take to for reasons we do not fully understand. Thus knicker suits predominated in the United States. After World War II, American boys mostly wore long pants suits. While in Europe short pants persisted for sime gtime, but long pants gradually became more common. The trend varied from country to country. At the sane time suits became less and less common.

Knee Pants Suits

The pants worn by boys at mid-century varied. Some boys wore long trousers like their fathers. As the century progressed, however, it became increasingly common for boys to wear knee-length pants. Many styles buttoned at the knee, others were simply cut off at the knee. Knee pants were worn with long stockings which were kept up by suspender waists. The stockings were usually a dark color or horizonal stripes which became popular in the latev 1860s. The tops of the stockings which came over the knee held up with clasps. Only the very youngest boys had bare knees, and it was even rare for little boys wearing more juvenile styles. Boys wearing short pants suits always wore long stockings.

Knicker Suits

Knickers appeared in England after the mid-19th century. They were considered at first to be sporty country wear, but also became identified as suitable for suits worn by school age boys. They generally went out of fashion for boys in England during the 1910s, just as they became popular in America. Patterns differed in other countries. Older French boys might wear a knicker suit rather than a short pants suit. This pattern was common in other European countries. French boys might havde a suit with knickes and shorts with the knickers to be most commonly worn in the winter.

Short Pants Suits

Boys wearing short pants suits with knee socks and bare knees began to appear in England befor the First World War and became increasingly widespread during the early 1920s. Before the War knee length pants were common, but often worn with long stockings. After the War the shorts became shorter and were more commonly worn with knee length socks, leaving the knees bare. The fashioned was greatly influenced by Lord Baden Powell's growing Boy Scout uniform. Boys' pants or trousers through the 1920s had button closures. The BFGoodrich Co. in 1924 registered the name "zipper," although it would be a number of years before this closure was used in any apparel other than overshoes, it would eventually repace buttons. Eventually vitually all pants would have zipper rather than button closures.


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Created: 6:34 AM 10/24/2010
Last edited: 6:34 AM 10/24/2010