We have just begun to assess chronological trends in Belgian First Communion suits. As a result our chronological information is still limited. We note that boys in the 1910s were having their portraits taken in what look to be new suits for their First Communion. Kneepants sailor suits with long dark over-the-knee stockings were popular in the 1910s. Boys commonly wore white gloves. Belgian boys in the 1920s were still weraring sailor suits, especially in the early 20th century. Dark long stockings were still common in the early 1920s. Boys in the 1930s were less commonly wearing sailor suits for First Communion. Both single and double breasted suits were worn. Some are very formal looking black suits. Fewer boys wore white gloves. Some boys wore open collars despite the formality of the occassion.
We have not yet found any Belgian First Communion images from the 19th century. This probably reflects the fact that our Belgian archive of 19th century is very limited. We are not yet sure about 19th century First Communion trends. We have found few First Communion portraits in other countries so the sane may be true for Belgium as well. This is something we are still assessing.
While we havefound few 19th century Belgian First Communionn portraits, this changed sharply afterthe turn of the 20th century. We have reat deal of information about Belgian First Communions during the 20th centuty.
We have not yet found many images from the 1900s, like the 19th century. We do have one undated portrait which looks rather like the 1900s. Interestingly he does not wear a formal black suit, but some other medium color. He wears a non-descript knee pants suit worn with black long stockings. It is not a suit that seems to have been purchased only for First Communnion. The boy does wear a rather formal wing collar shirt and white tie. The boy looks to be about 9 years old. While the portait is unidentified. The boy is associated with a family group.
We note that boys in the 1910s were having their portraits taken in what look to be new suits for their First Communion. Kneepants sailor suits with long dark long stockings were common in the 1910s. The long stockings were considered necessary for formal occassions. Boys commonly wore white gloves. The boy here wears a knee pants sailor suit with long stockings.
Belgian boys in the 1920s were still weraring sailor suits, especially in the early 20th century. Dark long stockings were still common in the early 1920s. White gloves were not as pervasive as in the early 20th century, but still common. Major changes occurred in the 1920s. Early 20ty century were still common in the early 1920s, but the boys tended to dress quite differently by the end of the decade.
Boys in the 1930s were less commonly wearing sailor suits for First Communion. Both single and double breasted suits were worn. Some are very formal looking black suits. Other are suits with destinct patterns looking like the boys' regular suit rather one purchased specificallt for First Communion. Most boys wore short pants suits with kneesocks. A few boys wore Eton collars, but this was not common. Few boys wore white gloves. Some boys wore open collars despite the formality of the occassion.
We do not yet have many 1940s images. Of course portrais were affected by the world war II German occuption. Income and the availability of photographic materils declined as did the money and availability of First Communion suits.
First Communion continued to be an important event forBelgian children in the 1950s. We have some limited information about Bekgian First Communions during the 1950s. We have found one 1950s portrait, but unsure about the nationality. Many readers believe that it may be European, possibly Belgian. We are not sure. We note boys wearing stabdard suits in the 1959s, mostly short pants suits for their First Communions. These do not seem to be special First Communion suits. They are mostly dark suits. We have not yet found white suits althoufgh we still have relatively few 1950s images archived. We also see boys still wearing traditional sailor suits. We are not sure yet how common this was.
HBC has only limited information on Belgian First Communion suits in the 1960s. We have acquired one portrait of a boy in a formal, tuxedo like short black jacket. The suit has grey trousers with stripes. We believe hat most boys wore more informal suits. Some boys appear to have done their First Communions in white shirts without jackets.
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