Zouave Uniform Outfits: Ages

Civil War Zouaves
Figure 1.--This CDV features an rather aprehensive little boy of approximately 5 years of age dressed as a Civil War soldier with styling somewhat Zouave unifirms. The outfit is done with elaborate embroidery, stitching and what are likely brass buttons. The photograph was the George H. Wood studio in Towanda, Pennsylvania. It is dated on the back and has a tax stamp, August 10, 1865, only a few months after the end of the Civil War. Notice that the boy's leg is visible over his white sock. It shows that the sock was not held up by anything. The ruffle at the collar is interesting.

We have few details about the age of boys wearing Zouave suits. All of our information at this time is limited to America and based primarily on the photographic record. We note boys wearing Zouave suits from about age 2-8 years, but that is only a rough estimate because of the small number of available images in our archive. That is riughly the same age as the boys wearing regular cut-away jackets. The younger boys wore skirted bottoms and boys after about 4-5 years mostly wore baggy pantaloons or knee pants. The actual Zouaves wore pantalooms. Boys wore both pantaloons and wide-cut knee pants, often heavily embroidered. A fill Zouave outfit would hve the pantaloon, but we find reltively few examples in the photographic record. An observer writes, "Very young boys wore the jackets in combination with a skirt. When the lad was “breeched” the jackets were worn with knickers or trousers, both short and long, depending on the affluence of the family and the area of the country in which they lived. The age at which a boy went from skirts to pants was left to the discretion of the mother, and as a result varied widely, depending upon the circumstances." [Harriman]


Harriman, Lynne. Timeless Stitches. E-Mail message, January 31, 2006.


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Created: 11:05 PM 11/22/2012
Last updated: 11:05 PM 11/22/2012