Boys' Clothing Glossary: "F"

Figure 1.--Fauntleroy styling was often added to plain boys' suits by doting mothers who wanted to emmuate the popular Fauntleroy style. A real classic Fauntleroy suit had a much smaller jacket than the one this Ohio boy wears.

We have begun to build a glossary of boys' clothing terms. As boys clothes until the 19th century was the sane as adult male clothing, we have included many applicable men's clothing terms. We have also included some women's terms as younger boys commonly wore dresses until the 20th century. As HBC is extensively used by non-native English speakers we plan to give considerable attention to this glossary so that words can be looked up. It will also serve as an index as we will provide links to the appropriate pages. We eventually hope to add foreign words, but that will take some time.

Fair Isle: A knit pattern conisting of geometrical patterns of bands knitted into fabric with varied colored yarn.

Fall: Fall as a noun has a variety of meanings relative o fashion. One meaning is a decorative cascade of lace, ruffles, or other trim.

Falling band: A large, flat collar, often trimmed with lace. Commonly worn by well-dressed gentlemen and boys in the 17th century. Also called "fall."

Fancy dress: A n elaborate costume for a ball, masquerade, or other party. The term evolved from the need to please the fancy, usually a costume theme based on a specific period or place, class of persons, or historical or literary character.

Farthingale: A hoop skirt or framework for expanding a woman's skirt, worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Fauntleroy suit: A Fauntleroy or Little Lord Fauntleroy suit was a formal outfit for a boy consisting a waist-length jacket and knee-length pants, usually in black or dark-colored velvet, and a wide, lacy or ruffled collar and matching cuffs. The more ormal versions might be worn with a broad sometimes brightly colored sash. It was often worn with a arge, floppy bow to go along wth the lace collar. These suits were most popular in the lte 19th century and the early 20th century. "Francis Hodgson Burnett, an English-born American, helped popularize a style of dress for boys that proved exceedingly popular among romantically inclined, doting mothers. The author modelled her famous fictional creation, Cedric Erol, after her own son, Vivian, and thereby condemned a generation of "manly little chaps" in America and Britain to elaborate, picturesque outfits. The actual description of Cedie's suits were rather brief in her book, Little Lord Faunytleroy. Perhaps even more influential than her text in popularizing the style were the lavishly detailed drawnings by Reginald Birch, the artist who illustrated Mrs. Benett's story. Whether it was the book or the illustrations, combined they were responsible for an enduring vogue of boy's clothes in the romantic style of the Cavalier/Restoration or Van Dyck Period worn by the young American hero of the story.

Fauntleroy look: The Fautleroy craze of the 1880s in America did not just involve the famed suit. Fauntleroy styling was applied to many other garments.

Fedora: The fedora is a brimmed soft felt hat with curled brim and a destinctly tapered crown that is dented lengthways. It originated in the Austrian Tyrol. The name comes from Fedora, a play by the French play write Victorien Sardou which was first produced in Paris during 1882. The fedora was a man's hat style, but was also worn by older boys as late as the 1950s. The felt is compacted (felted) by rolling and pressing using a process involving heat and moisture.

Ferret: A narrow tape or ribbon, often of silk or cotton, used for binding, trimming, etc.

Fez: This cap is brimless with a truncated conical shape that is flat on top. A long black tassel is normally attached at the top center. Red Fezes were Formerly worn by men and boys in Islamic countries. The name suggests that it originated in Fez, Morrcco, but is also most strongly associated with Egypt and Turkey.

Filet lace: A square mesh net or lace, originally knotted painstainkingly by hand but subsequently industrially reproduced by machinery.

Fillet: A headband band of ribbon or materiale worn around the head, usually as an ornament or part of a hair style. The ribbon is usually narrow, but the with has varied over time.

Filibeg: The kilt or pleated skirt worn by Scottish Highlanders.

Fisherman's: Pertaining to, or designating a knitting pattern consisting of cable-stitches executed in a destinctive thick, traditionally off-white yarn, or a garment made in this pattern and yarn. Especially used with sweaters.

Fishnet: An open-mesh weave looking likre a fishing net, such as fishnet stockings.

Fish tail: A fish tail is a ribbon a v-shape cut at the end, rather like a fish's tail. The streamers boys wore with sailor hats and caps often had fish tail ribbons.

First Communion suits: Christian churches vary considerably in the practice of First Communion. Some churches like the Catholic Church make it a major event in a child's life and organize it at Catholic schools. The grade level has varied over time and between countries. Other churches, even traditionally oriented churches, do not practice a formal "First Communion" for children. They believe the Bible teaches that communion is anexpression of personal decision of faith rather than of reaching a certain age. Their children's and youth minitries teach young people about Christ, how to have a relationship with him and about the meaning of communion, but it is the responsiblityof the family to determine when a child is ready to take communion appropriately. Many parents use the Easter holiday as a time to introduce their children to communion

Flat-felled seam: A seam on the face or outside of a garment. Refers for example to the outside of the legs of usually casual tousers like jeans made by overlapping or interlocking one seam allowance with the other and top-stitching them together onto the garment with two parallel rows of stitches.

Flat knitting: A knitting process in which the yarn is knitted horizontally on needles set in a straight line. Also referred to as circular knitting.

Fleece and pile: Generic terms for a thick and fluffy polyester fiber. It is warmer and lighter than wool, wicks well, absorbs very little water (comes out of the washer 99 percent dry), and is durable. Fleece isn't windproof, but some fleece incorporates a wind barrier for greater warmth.

Flip-flop: A flat, backless rubber sandal, usually secured on the foot by a thong between the first two toes, as for use at a beach, swimming pool, or casual wear and play. lso called a thong and zori.

Flounce: A strip or piec of material material gathered or pleated and attached at one edge, with the other edge left loose or hanging: used for trimming, as on the edge of a skirt or sleeve or apolstery.

Fly: A fly is a piece of material covering buttons or zippers. Today it is most commonly used in connection with pants or trousers. The term French term is "pont".

Fly front: A strip or flap of fabric or over one side of the front opening of a garment to conceal buttons, zippers or other fasteners, on a coat, dress, or trousers. Ofen abreviatd as just "fly".

Fob: A small pocket just below the waistline in trousers for a watch, keys, change, etc. Cf. watch pocket. Especially used in connection with a pocket watch in late 19th or early 20th century suits. Also used to describe a short chain or ribbon, usually attached to a watch and worn hanging from a pocket.

Fool's cap: A mdieval jester's cap or hood, often multicolored and usually having several drooping peaks from which bells are hung.

Footwear: The history of footwear spans that of human civilization. Footwear has long been an article of prestige for man. The earliest footwear, probably made of plaited grass or rawhide held to the foot with thongs was undoubtedly born of the necessity to provide some protection when moving over rough terrain in varying weather conditions, and there still exist examples of footwear from ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Chinese and Vikings. Footwear has long been a relatively expensive clothing item, either in money terms or the length of time required to make them. While footwear may have originated as a utiliatrian garment for adults--especially men. Soon, however, the rich and influential began distinguishing themselves by the costly craftsmanship and decoration which characterized their shoes. Children went barefoot, especially in the warm weather. But eventually children also began wearing shoes--at first those from aristocratic or wealthy families.

Forage cap: A forage cap is a military cap with a small brim or no brim at all.

Foresleeve: The part of the sleeve covering the forearm. Also used for a detachable sleeve or part of a sleeve, worn for both practical and ornamental purposes.

Formal: Description of clothing designed for wear or use at occasions or events marked by elaborate ceremony or prescribed social observance such as weddings.

Formalwear or dresswear: The clothing designed for or customarily worn for special occasions or observances as described above. Boys in the 19th century might wear a Fauntleroy suit or Higland kilt outfit. In the 20th century Eton suits or tuxedos might be worn. Some formal outfits for younger boys, such as ring bearer costumes, can b very fancy or have historical styling.

Fourchette: A strip of leather or fabric joining the front and back sections of a glove finger.

Four-in-hand: A long necktie to be tied in a slipknot with the ends left hanging.

Foxing: Material used to cover the upper portion of a shoe.

Fraise: A ruff worn around the neck in the 16th century.

French cuff: A cuff style on formal shirts usually orn with suit. It is a double cuff formed by folding back a wide band at the end of a sleeve, usually fastened by a cuff link. Also called a barrel cuff.

French kid: Kidskin tanned by an alum or vegetable process and finished in a manner originally employed by the French.

French roll: Also referred to as the "French twist." It is a coiffure for women in which the hair is combed back from the face and arranged in a vertical roll on the back of the head. HBC has not noted boys' hair done in this fashion. We have noted boys hair in the late 19th century with a vertical roll or curl on top of the head.

French seam: Seing term defining a eam in which the raw edges of the cloth are completely covered by sewing them together, first on the right side, then on the wrong.

Frill: An ornamental trimming, as a strip of cloth or lace, gathered at one edge and left loose at the other. Also referred to as a ruffle. Usually used in connection with women's and girls' clothes, but also used for mens' and boys' clothes. Mens' and boys' clothings in the 16th and 17th centuries and associate with the clothing of the great royal courts of Europe. Frill and ruffles were also heavily used with boys' Fauntleroy suits of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Frilling: Use of frills and ruffles in edging or detiling a garment. In boys' clothes frills were uully attached to the collars or cuffs, but might also be attached to other garments such as the hes of pantalettes.

Frock: A loose gown or dress worn by a child or woman. Also used to decribe a loose outer garment or smock worn by peasants and workers.

Frock coat: A close-fitting, knee-length coat worn by men in the late19th cntury. Worn with both single-breasted or double-breasted styles with a vent or cut in the back.

Froufrou: Elaborate decoration, as frills, ribbons, or ruffles, usually associated with women's clothing.

Fur: The skin of certain animals, as the sable, mink, or beaver, covered with such a coat, used for lining, trimming, or making garments.

Furbelow: A ruffle or flounce, as on a woman's skirt or petticoat.

Fustanella: A short stiff skirt, usually pleated, made of white cotton or linen, worn by men in some parts of the Balkans. Especially associated with Greek ethnic costumes and used in some formal Greek military uniforms.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: July 9, 2001
Last updated: November 28, 2001