Boys' Clothing Glossary: "L"

Figure 1.--.

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.

Lace stay: The part of an Oxford or other lace-up shoe into which eyelets and laces are inserted.

Lace-up: A garment which uses laces to fasten or close, especially a boot with shoelaces that lace up from the vamp to the top of the shoe or boot. Other garments can have laces from blouses to corsets. Some trousers were also made with laces.

Lacing: Lacing has two meaninhs. (1) A trimming of lace or braid. (2) A lace used for fastening, as in a shoe or corset.

Lanyard: Common accessory on a British Boy Scout uniform for holding a whistle or sometimes only for decoration.

Larrigan: A knee-high boot of oiled leather with a moccasin foot, worn by lumbermen and trappers.

Lavalava: The main garment worn by both genders in Polynesia, especially. in Samoa, consisting of a plain printed cloth worn as a loincloth or skirt.

Lapel: Either of the paired parts of a garment folded back on the chest, especially used as the continuation of a suit jacket or coat collar.

Lay: Also referred to as "lay-up, spread." This is the garment industry term for multiple layers of fabric upon which a pattern or guide is placed for production-line cutting of fabric.

Layering: Best method of dressing warmly. Inner layer of clothing is a wicking fabric such as polypropylene, pile, or Thermax. Next layers consist of whatever warm clothing you have; a synthetic fleece jacket is ideal. Down jackets and wool sweaters are also good. Outer layer is a shell, which blocks wind and rain. Layers can be removed and added as conditions change.

Layette: An outfit of clothing, bedding, etc., for a newborn baby.

Leading strings: Young childrenm both boys and girls, just learning to walk commonly had cords or strips of fabric attached to the shoulders of their dresses. They were used by adults from the 16th to the 18th centuries to help the child learn to walk. They could guide him and prevent the child from falling down. They might be used symbolucally on an older girls' gown to represent the need for parental guidance. By the 19th century these had become known as leading reins.

Leather: The skin of an animal, with the hair removed, prepared for use by tanning or a similar process designed to preserve it against decay and make it pliable or supple when dry.

Lederhosen: Lederhosen or modern leather short pants appeared first in the German state of Bavaria. I'm not sure when they were first worn. I assume they have originated with knee breeches and gradually become shorter. Thus you would assume they probably originated un the 18th Century. There are two types of lederhosen, short pants and knicker-like pants. Lederhosen were also worn in rural parts of Austria and Switzerland. They are often associated with the local popular folk music. Boy scouts and other youth groups in those countries, like the Hitler Youth, also sometimes wore them too. Boys in the 1920s-40s wore them much as modern boys wear jeans.

Leg: The part of a garment that covers the leg: Example: the leg of stockings and trousers.

Leggings: Since a man's or boy's breeches of the 18th century came to just beneath the knee, a covering for the lower leg was useful for warmth and protection. Leggings fully covered the lower leg from a few inches above the knee extending to cover the top of the foot. Spatterdashes covered the leg from the mid-shin to the top of the foot. Made of stout woolen or linen cloth or of leather, leggings and spatterdashes were worn by the sporting gentleman, laboring man, and the military. Children wearing kneepants and short pants in the late 19th and early 20 century also wore them. Also worn by scouts, soldiers, riders, workers, etc. Similar garments are chaps, gaiter, and puttees.

Leg warmers: Leg warmers are a pair of footless, stockinglike knitted coverings for the legs, commonly worn over tights, trousers, boots, etc., for warmth, usually in a dance class or while exercising, but are also worn as a fashion accessory.

Leghorn: A leghorn is a hat made of straw, usually having a broad, soft brim.

Leisure: Leisure clothing is garments appropriate for casual wear. Example are leisure jackets and suits. Leisure outfits were primarily adultwear. A man's casual suit consisted of trousers and a matching jacket styled like a shirt, commonly made in synthetic fibers in pastel colors.. Sometimes worn with white belts.

Length: Concerning clothing length means the extent of a garment related to a point it reaches, as on the wearer's body, the floor, or on a garment used as a standard of measurement (usually used in combination): Examples: kneeocks, an ankle-length gown.

Leotard: A leotard is a skintight, one-piece garment for the torso, having a high or low neck, long or short sleeves, and a lower portion resembling either briefs or tights, worn by acrobats and dancers. Commonly worn with tights.

Let-out: The action of lengthening a garment by taking down the hem of a garmnt thatvhad extra fabric that had been turned up. This is a common process with boys' shorts and pants and girls skirts.

Liberty cap: A liberty cap is a soft, conical cap given to a freed slave in ancient Rome at manumission of his servitude, used as a symbol of liberty, esp. since the 18th century. This was an important symbol during the French Revolution. Also referred to as a Phrygian cap.

Liripipe: A liripipe is a hood with a long, hanging peak. It was first worn by medieval academics and later adopted for general wear in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is also a long strip or tail of fabric hanging from a garment or headdress, especially the peak of this hood or a streamer on a chaperon or tippet.

Little Lord Fauntleroy: Title of book by Frances Hogdson Burnett in which the main character, a young boy wears a fancy velvet suit with lace trim. Such suits have become known as Little Lord Fauntleroy suits and were especially popular in America--at least with adoring mothers.

Loft: The resiliency of fabric or yarn and especially wool.

Long pants suit: Boys since the introduction of sailor suits and skeleton suits in the 18th Century have worn long trouser suits. Long trouser suits of various forms were common in the early and mid-19th Century. Boys at the beginning of the 19th century might wear a lace collared tunic over long trousers before graduating to a proper suit. After mid-Century knee pants became more common. American catalogs in the 1880s tended to show knee pants suits through 12 years of age and long pants suit begining at 10 years of age. By the end of the Century boys it was increasingly common for teenagers to be dressed in knee pants suits. Many boys might spend many of their teen years in knee pants. This varid greatly from family to family, but for teenage boys in knee pants, receiving their first long pants suit became a major rite of passage. This situation was commom in America, England, and Europe up to the First World War. After the war, fashion standards became much more diverse.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: July 9, 2001
Last updated: January 15, 2002