American Eton Suits: Garments

Figure 1.--Here we see a depiction of an a boy wearing an American eton suit. Note the matching cap. This was an illustration from a magazine ad, I think for an insurance company. I believe it appeared in 1960. Note the mother's white-gloved hand--a hint of the social class aspects of the Eton suit. These suits do have an upscale appearance. HBC has another Eton suit page, from a 1955 Cadillac ad, that makes the same sort of fashion statement!

The Eton suit featured a lapel-less suit coat, with the white collar of their shirt predominantly displayed. No tie was worn with the oxford shirt, and rounded Peter Pan collars frequently replaced the oxford shirt. The suit featured knickers, or short pants that were also called "suspender shorts". The short pants ended above the knee. There were both two- and-three piece Eton suits. The third piece, however, was a cap and not a vedst. Eton suits did not come with vests. Knee socks and an Eton cap finished the look, guaranteeing a properly-attired, swell fellow to make Mom beam with pride. The Eton suits are surely small boys' wear, althugh the age conventions varied over time. The design of the Eton jacket, no lapels (unnecessary, strictly for style) and short cut shorts, suggests a simplified version of dad's or an older brother's suit.


There were both two- and-three piece Eton suits. The third piece, however, was a cap and not a vedst. Eton suits did not come swith vests. A British-styled peaked cap was once a necesity to be worn by American boys with these Eton suits. The color and material of the cap would match that of the suit. An exception here was for ring bearer outfits which were not generally worn with these caps.


We see some junior Eton suits done with vests. As best we can tell, this was not very common, but we do see a few. Most of these suits were just donewith the jacket and pants, but we see a few with vests.


Jackets for Eton suits were fairly standard. Lapels were the major variation on most suits. Without lapels there was not that much that could be varied. The major characteristic with a jacket with no lapels was the length of the jacket. There was some difference in the area near the collar. There wee also differences in the pockets. The jackets were cut shorter than regular suit jackets. Some early Eton suits have rather normal sized jackets, but by the 1930s the smaller jackets had become fairly standard. A good example is the jackets worn by the Tucker boys in 1937. Of course as the jackets were for younger boys, a shorter cut was in keeping with the age of the boys. There were some differences in the color. We see some light-colored even white suits. These seem the most common in the 1920s-30s. Most of the suits we have noted were dark colors, mstly navy blue, black, and drey. These suits were done with identical colored short pants. In the 1960s we begin to see plaid and striped jackets. They were popular through the 1970s. the plaid jackets were normally worn with plain navy or grey shorts. The patterns were normally just for the jackets.


American Eton suits were worn with short pants of various length. Some were even worn with long pants, altjhough this was less common. They generally were worn with rather short short pants--often suspender shorts. This contrasted with the longer shorts worn with the suit styles for older boys. The convention being that the shorter shorts were more suitable for younger boys. In recent years the shorts worn with these Eton suits have become quite long even for younger boys. Some of these suits were donw with long pants, but shorts were more common.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Eton pages:
[Return to the Main U.S. Eton suit page]
[Eton school uniform] [Eton style page] [Classic Eton suit] [Eton collar] [Eton kilt]

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Created: 6:21 AM 11/6/20051
Last updated: 6:54 PM 10/23/2018