Sashes on Boys' Clothing

Figure 1.--This illustration from a 1884 French fashion magazine shows two children in dresses. The one on the right with short hair and sailor hat is definitely a boy. Note the elaborate sash worn with his dress. In actuality base on the photographic rcord, waist sashes were far more common for girls.

A sash is a long band or scarf, usually made of silk, satin, or other fancy material. It is worn over the waist or shoulder. Military officers often wear shoulder or waist sashes as part of a formal military uniform. Waist sashes have been worn by women or children, both girls and boys, for ornament on formal clothes. Waist sashes were worn with Fauntleroy suits, dresses, and other outfits. They came in different materials and colors and worn with or weithout end tassles or edgeing. They were also worn at varying length and tied with different knots. Shoulder sashes are worn by boys wearing Scottish and Irish kilts for formal occasions and for participating in Higland and Irish dancing sashes varied substanitally.


Sashes were not a common item for children. But we do see some children wearing them. This was mostly girls, but we do see some boys. We mostly see boys wearing sashes during the 19th century. We mostly see this during the late-19th century. Almost all the images we have found showing boys wearing sashes come from the lae-19th century. This could, however, because the photographic record is much more extensive during the this period. The examples we have found for boys ar primarily associated with the late-19th century Fauntleroy craze. We see, however, boys wearing sashes with other outfits as well. We also see girls wearing sashes with dresses and this continued into the 20th century. The sash was a formal item. So girls mostly war them with formal dresses like party dresses. And some of the younger boys not yet breeched in the 19th century also wore sashes. The numer of such images are all almost entirely from the 9th century. This of course is die to the fact thatvafter the turn-of the 20th century we see the convention of younger boys wearing dresses disappearing.

Sash Types

There are two different types of decorative sashes worn by boys. Both have military origins. The most common was the waist sash. Waist sashes were usually added to fancy clothes like velvet Fauntleroy suits and white party dresses. They were most common for boys during the late 19th and early 20th century with the fancy outfits for boys that were poopular during that period. Sashes were worn when a mother wanted a boy in his best party suit. Girls also wore waist sashes, but they were gerally tied differently with bows at the back. There were also shoulder sashes. We only see boys wearing the shoulder sash. Waist sashes are the best known sashes, but there are also shoulder sashes, although we are not sure this is the best term. This is an item associated with modern Celtic clothing. HBC has noted few example of boys wearing shoulder sashes.

Country Trends

Our country information on sashes is quite limited. We have only begun to build some country information. We now have country information on: America, England, France, Germany, and Italy. We do not have a page for Engknd, but an example is the sash worn by Edwin Crawshay in 1864.


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Created: March 30, 1999
Last updated: 12:48 PM 2/6/2018