Boys' Clothing Glossary: "R"

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.

Raglan: This is an English term that is used in France. It is a loose overcoat in which the sleeves are cut so as to continue up to the collar. The garment is named for English Field Marshal Lord Raglan (1788-1855).

Recital: A recital is usualy a musical entertainment fiven by a single performer or series of single peformers. Often they are prganized by a music school to showcase the achievvements of their students. Music recitals once were an occasiion for mothers to dress up their boys for the big event. This reciatal images offer an insight into dress fashions over time. The fashions involved are now much less fancy than those in the early 20th cebtiry, but mothers still want their boys to look good.

Retail: Retail is the sale of commodities or utlimate comsumers, normally in small quantities and is thus the opposite of wholesale. HBC is collecting information on indivoidual retailing concerns that handled boys clothing. We also are listing the names of current retailers who offer traditional clothing and foowear. The term entered the English language in late Middle English as a cutting or clip.

Reticule: One popular accessory was a 'reticule'. This was a young girl's 'drawing room' handbag. It was in what the young ladies of the day kept their necessaries - glasses, hankerchiefs, handwork etc. It was an indoor accessory. It had loops sometimes decorated with bows through which a drawstring was used to close it. We do not commonly note boys photographed with these reticules. For that matter girls were not commonly photographed with them. The only boy one we have noted with one is Frank, who wears a summer dress and mtching reticule.

Rever: The triangular area of fabric formed by folding back a front edge below a neck line; the rever may have a collar above it, may be above a bottoned opening, above a slit or just a seam.

Ring bearer/page costumes: The ring bearer in the wedding ceremony is the young boy who brings the ring to altar--traditionally on a pillow rimmed with lace and ribbons. The ring bearer brings the pillow down the aisle before the wedding ceremony. He is usually attired formally, although the actual costume he wears varies greatlt from wedding to wedding. Many believe that the ring bearer and other children serving as attendants can add a nice touch to a wedding. The ring bearer is often accompanied by the flower girl or girls. He and the flower girls usually walk before the bride and her escort but behind the rest of the bridal party. Flower girls usually lay a bed of rose pedals for the bride to walk on. Trainbearers walk in pairs following the bride and her escort, holding the bride’s train.

Ringlet curls: Massive rows of tightly curled locks have in many ages been highly fashionable for little girls. Never was this fashion so widely esteemed than in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The extension of this fashion to the girl's brothers is a much more unusual fashion. Many Victorian and Edwardian mothers viewed their sons and their hair styles in the same light. For this reason, some boys in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century were done up in the same long ringlet curl styles more commonly worn by girls, although during this period a sister's hairwas often done differently.

Rompers: The romper was in many ways the beginning of a revolution in children's clothes. It was the first true play suit and the first garment (other than dresses and pantalettes) designed for both boys and girls. One of greatest change in children's clothing occuring after the turn of the century was the declining custom of dressing boys in skirts until the age of 4 to 6 years ended. While the custom did not disappear until the beginning of the 1920s, it became increasingly less common as the century progressed. One of the reason for this decline was the appearance of rompers for younger children.

Ruff: A large cicular collar of stiffened frills worn by men and women. Very common in the 16th century. Now normally only worn by choristers.

Rugby shirts: Rugby shirts are the horizonal-striped "T" shirts in bold colors with a white collar and partial front buttons. They were very popular in America during the 1970s-80s. For actual Rugby matches they were worn with short grey flannel short pants. They became a popular casual style for American boys during the 1970s. The grey school shirts worn by English boys during the 1950s included some with Rugby styling. This meant that the buttons only went half way down the front of the shirt. They were worn with ties like other grey shirts for everyday school wear. (White shirts with normal styling were for special occasions.) Repton and Litchfield shirts were similar. (Repton is another English Public school.) While these shirts went out of fashion in England during the 1960s, they are still regular wear at New Zealand schools.

Rugby suits: HBC speculated that Rugy suits might have been an American style, in much the same way that colarless Eton suits for small boys became. HBC has noted, however, references to Rugby suits in other countries. I have inquired with my English contributors and they have not heard of Rugby suits made for English boys. This requires some further investigation, however, as Rugby suits were being metioned in Australian advertisements at the turn of the 20th century.

Russian blouse suits: Russian blouse suits came in two styles, one-piece and two-piece suits. These open, square collared suits were seasonal wear, usually worn during the summer. These one piece suits, like tunic suits, were usually belted garments, although the belt which might have a button or two, were usually purely ornamental. They were almost always short pants suits, rarely made with knee pants or knickers. An attached belt made as the same material as the suit was an important stylistic feature of these suits. Some suits had embroidered work.

Russian style: European and American boys at the turn of the 20th Century wore two garments in the Russian style, tunics and blouses both worn as part of a suit ensemble. The Russian tunic had existed for some time. The Russian blouse suit was a new style. The Russian style came in two styles, a tightly buttoned at the neck style which appeared in the 1890s and an open square collared style which appeared after the turn of the century. The open square collar was rather an informal style worn with short pants.


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Created: July 9, 2001
Last updated: November 17, 2001