Pantalettes: Length

Figure 1.--This American child about 1880 wears a white dress with both pantalettes and a petticoat. By the 1880s, pantalettes were no longer being worn at lengths longer than the dress. It is hard to tell if this child is a boy or girl, but plaid was often used with boys. The photographer ws C. P. McMillan and the portrait was taken in Red Oak, Iowa.

The pantalettes worn in the early 19th century were quite long and worn at ankle length. This was because dresses at the time were quite long. Also boys commonly wore long pants--commonly skeleton suits. For the flounces and frills of pantalettes were to be seen, the garments had to be quite long. By the 1830s dresses had become shorter. At first boys and girls continued wearing the long patalettes with the shorter dresses. Gradually by mid-century the pantalettes appeared in shorter lengths as well. Pantalettes continued to be worn by boys wearing dresses in the late 19th century. It is difficult to determine how common this was because by the late 19th century they were being worn at lengths shorter than the kilt or dress skirt. Sometimes they were worn with petticoats as well. We do not know how common this was or if it varried for boys and girls. The image here from the 1880s shows the shortened length that was being worn by the late 19th century.


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Created: February 18, 2002
Last updated: February 19, 2003