American Eton Suits: Usage

Figure 1.--We are not sure when this photograph was taken. It is definitely an American photograph. It looks to us like a birthday part in the late 1950s. The Eton suits and girl's fancy party dress look to us like a party for children from affluent families. A reader tells us this may be a illustration for an advertisement.

Usage of Eton suits varied over time, affected in part by the age of the boy which fluctuated. We notice Eton suits being worn in formal family portraits, attending Church, First Communion, weddings, family seasonal celebrations (Especially Easter and Christmas) and a variety of other circumstances. We note boys wearing Eton suits to birthday parties. For many of these circumstances social class factors were involved. Birthday parties were once dress up events, especially in affluent families. These parties gradually became increasingly cassual. Some affluent families continued to hold more formal bitrhday parties through the 1950s and Eton suits were one of the popular styles for boys. The image here is an example of this. It looks, however, more like a staged photograph than an actual birthday party scene. One HBC reader tells us that it may be an illustration for an advertisement.


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Created: April 28, 2004
Last updated: April 29, 2004