American Eton Suits: Age Conventions

Figure 1.--here we see a Nrw York boy in the 1950s wearing a classic American Eton suit. Note the small Eton collar blouse, a style often worn with these suits. By the 1950s, detachable Eton collars were no longer worn. Rather boys wore vlouses with small collars. Another popular style was a Peter Pan blouse. He looks to be about 5 years old. His older brother wears a long pants suit.

Eton suits were generally purchased for boys of about 4 or 5 years of age and worn until about 7 or 8 when the boy would given a more adult-looking suit with longer short pants or longs. This varied a little over time as the age range shited to younger boys. In the inter-War era when these junior Eton suits first appeared, boys up to about 10 years of age might wear them. Aood example are the Tucker boys wearing matching Eton sduits at about 5-8 years of age. It is interesting to note that the age of 7 or 8 years is often a major dividing point for styles of clothes. Younger boys might wear shortalls, Eton suits, and shorter cut shorts. Boys of 8 would begin to wear adult cut jackets with longer cut shorts. There is not a huge difference in the size or behavior of 7 and 8 year old boys. In America they do not change school at that age. Thus it is unclear why styles change at that age. The authors believe that, in part, it is the British influence. As boys were sent off to their boarding preparatory schools, this would be the age that they stopped wearing velvet suits or sailor suits. Some boys schooled at home may have even worn smocks and had curls until they were sent off to school. Eton suits were worn by older boys, although less commonly. One American contributor reports wearing Eton suits during the 1960s until he turned 11 and entered the sixth grade. He reports that he was raised in the Chicago North Shore, a rather elitist area.


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Created: 9:11 PM 6/7/2009
Last updated: 9:11 PM 6/7/2009