Young boys still wore dresses during the mid-19th century. After breeching, quite young boys at mid-century might wear a jacket after breeching, at first mostly with long trousers. There were endless variation of this theme, centering on the style of the jacket and by the 1860s the length of the pants. During the early 19th century they might commonly wear tunics after breeching before acquiring a suit. Early suit jackets were not well fitted. They commonly did not have lapels and buttoned at the collar. Some jackets for younger boys appeared with fancy embroiderd design and were cut short to show off the boys' blouse. Queen Victoria popularized the sailor suit as a boy's outfir when she began dressing the princes in enlistedmens' uniforms. Older boys wore jackets that completely covered their shirtwaists. The Eton suit was becoming increasingly popular in England as was a more casual new style the Norfolk suit.
Describing mid-19th century suit styles is somewhat difficult as the styles were quite varied and there are often no easily assigned stylist names for the styles. We are not sure precisely what these jackets were called by contemprary authors. In addition, ready made clothing had not yet developed leading to substantial variation. There seem to have been three basic styles: the button-up jacket, the cut-away jacket, and the sack suit jacket with lapels. Many boy, however, did not wear suits until the 1860s. We see many photographs with boys wearing shirts and blouses or to a lesser extent tunics.
Our information about suits in the mid-19th century is still quite limited, especially on the 1840s because of the sacrcity of photographic images. We know much more about the 1850s and even more about the 60s. As far as we can tell, boys did not commonly wear suits in the 1840s, except for the most affluent. And boys who did wear suit jackets, commonly did not have matching trousers. Suits seem to to be more common in the 1850s, The predominany style seems to be have been jackets with button-up collars. Military styles including brass buttons were popular. Suits become more common in the 1860s. Many younger boys wore cut-away jackets done in various styles. Older boys wore button-upn jackets. we also see boys wearing sack suit jackers with lapels.
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