While the Eton suit generally disappeared in the 1920s, it was still occasionally seen in the 1930s. A destinctly Americam off shoot of the Eton suit was the American Eton suit which was beginnng in the late 1920s worn by younger American boys, a suit with a short lapeless jacket usually with suspender short pants. I began to note the lapelless Eton jackets in America during the late
1920s. I'm am not positive when they first begun to be worn in America, but appears to be sometime during the 1920s. We are not sure about the details of these suits. They appear to have been worn mostlty with short pants. We do not know, for example, if the suit pants were suspender shorts or not. The Eton suit does not appear to have become a widely worn style for small boys until the mid-1940s. Almost all the boys wearing Eton suits before the 1950s would be boys from affluent families. Only in the 1950s did the style become widely worn by all classes of American boys. Collar styles began to cahnge in the 1940s from Eton collars to Peter Pan collars. It was quite common in the 1960s, but began to decline in the 1970s. It was less commonly worn in the 1980s as even most younger boys stoped wearing short pants suits for dressup. We have not yet determined chronological trends associated with neckwear.
We have not yet noted many American Eton suits in the 1910s. We see American bots wearing Eron collars in the 19th century and this continued into the early 20th century, including th 1910s. We do not see a jacket specifically designed to wear with Eton collars. Rather we see boys simply wearing Eton collars with the popular jackets of the day. It is not impossible that these juvenile American Eton suits appeared in the 1910s, but we gave not yet found examples in the photographic record. We have found a few inages undated oamges that look like they may have been taken in the 1910s, probably the late-10s. Nor have we found examples in catalogs. We susperct that some may exist for the later-1910s, but we hanv not yet found any.
We began to note the lapelless Eton jackets in America during the 1920s. We are not positive when they first begun to be worn in America, but appears to be sometime during the 1920s. We are working on the precise timing. We see many younger American boys wearing these suits during the 1920s-60s. We see them quite commonly in the photographic record. We still see detachable Eton collars in the 1920s, but they began to give way to soft collaes attched to blouses. We are not sure just why they first appeared in the 1920s, but this was when short pants as opposed to knee pants first appeared in America. These suits were an option for younger boys to the more common knicker suits.
We are not sure about the details of these suits. One very consistent detail is jackets without lapels. They appear to have been worn mostlty with short pants and not the knee pants tha were so common in the 19th and very early-20th century. As was the style, the shorts are generally knee-length. We do not know, however, if the suit pants were suspender shorts or not. We are not sure what color suits were worn in the 1920s. The examples we have are light colored suits. Eton collars are at least pointed collars were most common with Eton suits in the 1920s. These Eton suit were for younger boys, although at first this mean boys up to about 10 years of age. This varied over time and we hope to establish details for each decade as expamd this section. We notice a McCalls pattern (1929). In this case buttoning at the collar. It was for boys 4-8 years old.
HBC has little information about the Eton suits worn in the 1930s. We do note Eton suits in the photographic records. We do not have a good fix yet on just how prevlent these suits were. We still see detagable Eton collrs, although they were no longr a major item as they jad been earlier. Eton collars appear to have been the most common, but we begin to see some Peter Pan collars as well. We believe that boys as old as 9-10 years wore Eton suits in the 1930s. A good example is an Ohio boy wearing a classic Eton collar with an Eton suit, we beleve in the 1930s, but it could be the 40s. Notice that he is wearing a stiff, large detachable collar. He is his suit with dark ankle socks. As was common with these Eton suits it is a short pants suit. Almost all of the Eton collars suits we have noted in the photogrphic record are short pants suits. And we still see them being worn with knee socks.
The Eton suit appears more commonly in the 1940s. The Eton suit does not appear to have become a widely worn style for small boys until the mid-1940s. This seems to have occured as more and more boys began wearing long oants. And at the same time the age of boys wearing Eton suits began to decline. We note boys up to about 10 yars of age wearing Eton syits in the 1940s, but this was not common in the 1940s. Almost all the boys wearing Eton suits before the 1950s would be boys from affluent families. The shirts begin to change to blouses as the stule become more associated with younger boys. Also you begin to see some boys wearing Petr Pan collars with their Eton suits. Eton suits begin to be seen as primarily for younger boys up to about 6 or 7 years of age. As the Eton suits tend to be seen as little boy suits, they tend to appear with shorter short pants than was the case earlier. Collar styles began to change in the 1940s from Eton collars to Peter Pan collars. A good example is an unidentified boy with a fashion plate mother in 1945. He wears his Eton suit with an Eton collar blouse.
Only in the 1950s did the style become more widely worn by a wider class of American boys, but it still had an upper-class look. This is especially notable in advertising. Collar styles began to change in the 1940s from Eton collars to Peter Pan collars. Most of the suits we note or grey or black. Older boys might wear regular pointed collars. Eton suits for yoinger boys might ne done with sispoender shorts. were made with suspender shorts. We are not sure that this was the case earlier. We note many boys wearing these suits with ankle rather tha knee socks. A good example is the Stewart boys in 1951.
Eton suits were quite common in the 1960s. The black or navy blue Eton suit was a particular standard. The American Eton suit was quite common in the 1960s. We see both Eton and Peter Pan collars. Saddle shoes were popular as footwear. This American boy is all dressed up for a special oocaasion in an American Eton suit knee socks and saddle shoes. He seems to be wearing a knit shirt rather than a blouse which ws not very common. The photograph is undated, but the dealer suggests 1965. We might have guessed the 1970s. The boy is unidentified, but looks to be about 6 years old (figure 1).
The popularity of the Eton suit begins to decline in the 1970s, in part because fewer boys wear suits even when they dress up. The age of boys wearing Eton suits declines to about 6 years.
The Eton suit was less commonly worn in the 1980s as even most younger boys stoped wearing short pants suits for dressup. But we continue to see the Eton suit bing worn by mostly pre-school boys with short pants. .
A factor here was the general decline in the popularity of suits over time. We note them being worn as First Communuon suits. The styling of the suits was fairly common, but the cut at vthe frint varied somewhat. The blouses worn with the suit and the length of the shorts varied over time as did age conventions. These juvenile Eton suyitw were less commonly worn in the 1970s, but they were a popular choice for younger boys participating in formal events like weddings. They were a popular ring bearer outfit. They continued to be worn by younger boys, mostly pre-school boys.We have not yet determined chronological trends associated with neckwear, but now ties were once common. We no longer see this by the 1980s.
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