Pantalettes for Girls: Age Conventions

Figure 1.--This American CDV portrait looks to have been tken in the late-1860s. The two girls, presumably sisters, are wearing Pretty long white hoop dresses. Note the fancy embroidered Zouave-style jackets giving them a very fashionable look. One of the Girls has very long, waist-length hair in a braid. I couldn't make out the photographer's stamp, looks like C. Alkier, but we are not sure. While the dresses are identical, note the younger girl has a shorter skirt and wears pantalettes.

Age was a factor in wearing pantalettes. Here the larger consideration may have been skirt length. Both women and girls wore long skirts in the early 19th century. As the century progressed skirts began to raise. This was especially true for girls. The length of the skirt thus varied by age along with chronological changes. It was not considerdc proper for much of the century to show bare legs, although here there were differenves among countries, affected in part by climate and seasonality. Thus we see girls very commonly wearing pantalettes. Adult women might wear pantalettes, but only showing the very bottoms. Girls on the other hand with shorter skirts would show more of their pantlettes. Some family portrait show these age conventions ay play. This is is a complicated topic as so many different factors are at play.


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Created: 5:13 PM 4/4/2008
Last updated: 5:13 PM 4/4/2008