Figure 1.--This is a cabinet card photo of two siblings, affectionately holding hands while the photo was being taken. They are both wearing dresses with very large lace collars. I think they are both boys, but I canít tell for sure. Photo was taken by Pryor in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is not dated, but we would guess was taken about 1880. Unfortunately The boys are not identified.
Lace was a common trim for children'd and adult dresses in the later part of the 19th Century. Both boys' and girls' dresses used lace trim.Some boys wore dresses with lace collars. Boys and girls wore virtually identical dresses until the late 19th century. This began to change in the 1880s and specifically labeled boys dresses became increasingly common. Most dresses, however, were identified as suitable for children, meaning that either boys or girls could wear them. Fancy lace and ruffle trim was less common on ther boy dresses than the girl dresses. However some mothers particularly anxious to adopt the Fauntleroy look even before breeching the boy caused some mothers to select Fauntleroy dresses, velvet with lace collars. Lace was especially common for Fauntleroy dresses or jackets and blouses worn with a kilt skirt. These kilt suit could be converted into proper Fauntleroy suits by simly switching the kilt skirt for kneepants. As specialized dresses for boys developed in the late 19th Century, lace came to be used less commonly as a trim. We note that some of the dresses worn by boys with lace collars were very plain. Sometimes the lace collar and matching wrist trim is the only detailing on the dress. An example here is the American Gullick brothers, probably in the 1880s. Another example is a Frebch boy, Maurice Terrillon in 1894.
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