Boys' Clothing Glossary: "N"

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.

Nainsook: The term nainsook was a soft finished cotton fabric used for infants and children's underwear. Nainsook was usually white, but we havenoted some garments with patterns like checks. An example of children's underwear made with nainsook are the combination suits offered in the 1923 Montgomery Ward catalog in the United States. I had thought it was of Chinese origins, but was Indian. In Hindi, the term "nainsukh" literally means "eye pleasure". It is one of the many clothing realted terms entering the English language through the British Raj.

Neck Handkerchief: The most informal sort of neckwear generally worn by sporting gentlemen, working tradesmen, and laboring slaves. It commonly was a square folded and tied around the neck. They were usually made of linen, cotton, or silk, and could be in white, plain colors, woven checks and stripes, or printed patterns.

Neckwear: Boys and men have over time worn a variety of neckwear, sometimes colorful, somestimes plain black or white. Neckwar has include bows, stocks, cravats, ties, bowties, and other items.

Norfolk suits: One of the more popular styles for boys until recent years has been the Norfolk jacket. It was, however, not exclusively a boy's style. It was developed for the Duke oF Norfolk during the early 19th century for country outings. It was initially worn without matching trousers. Instead knickers were worn. it was widely worn by boys from the 1870s to the 1930s. The Norfolk jacket was most popular in England, but widely worn in America as well--at least by boys.


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Created: July 9, 2001
Last updated: April 12, 2003