Dressing in Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: The Presentation

After the boy's nanny, perhaps with the assistance of a maid, had fininished dressing the boy and his brothers and sisters, would have been presented to his mother for a final inspection. Presumably nanny was well versed in preparing the children and they almost always met mothers's approval. This was of c ourse very important to the busy mother emershed in the social sirll. If a nanny could not properly prepare the children she would not have her job very long. It is likely that many of the children complained to their nannies during the involved dressing process. The children whose hair was done into ringlets probably complained the most. I'm unsure to what extent the nannies conveyed the inevitable complaints to the mother. The nannies understood that their job security was often based on how well they turned out the children, so well turned out they were. In fact a very close relationship often developed between the children and their nannies. In many cases the children were closer to the nanny than their mother. Even so, the nannies made it very clear that what ever outfit the mother selected, the child would wear it and be done up very smartly in it.

Figure 1.--After the children were dressed and carefully inspevted by the nanny or governess, they were finally presented all prim and proper to mother.

Mother presumably was the one who selectd the outfits for the children. I think nannies at the time had little say in such matters. Fashion and style was very important to late 19th and early 20th Century mothers. They probably would have thought that a mere nanny would have little to offer in the way of fashion advise, for either themselves or their children. Tnis may have been somewhat different for governesses, depending on the relationship with the family. I have little information to go on, but speculate that this was the case. As to shopping, presumably it was the mothers who took their sons and daughters to the store to look at new fashions and be fitted. I'm not sure just how the nannies and governesses fitted into this process.

Christopher Wagner


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Created: February 24, 1999
Last updated: August 15, 1999