Boys' Vest Styles

Figure 1.--This is a scene from "he Secret Garden". Movie costumes of course, even well researched costumes like this one, are not valid evidence like actual period photographs. They do show, however, the belt worn at the back which portraits do not normally show.

Unlike suit jackets and trousers, vests have remained generally constant over time in the 19th and 20th centuries. The major changes in styling over time has been lapels and the number of buttons. We note vests in the nid-19th century that had lapels. A good example is an unidentified American boy aout 1850. Buttons have also varied. At first there were no conventions about buttons and the size of the boy was another factor. Vests were made with front "V" cuts without lapels. This like the cut off the suit allowed a necktie or other neck adornment to show. Vests could generally only be climpsed unless the sit jacket was worn open. Vests we have seen in the 20th century had front which were made to match the suit, being made in the same material. The backs were done in a different material, often silk or satin. Other materials might be used with less expensive suits. We are not sure if this was also the case in the 19th century. We note vests with belts at the back so the fit of the vest could be ajusted. We think this was quite common, but again are unsure about the 19th century. Most vests were done as single breasted garments. We have noted a few double-breasted vest. A food exanple is an American boy, Ron Dunlop, about 1905.


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Created: 12:07 AM 5/28/2005
Last updated: 1:00 AM 1/19/2010