Figure 1.--This American brother and sister are taking their First Communion, probably in the 1930s. The boy wears a white short pants suit complete with white kneesocks and shoes. The girl wears the traditional white dress, but not as long as they usually were.
For many boys the occasion sometimes required a new suit--usually a dark suit that could be worn for best after the First Communion ceremony. I'm not sure when parents began buying new suits for a boys' First Communion. For many Catholics such an expenditure was not possible until income levels began to rise in the late 19th century. Kneepants suits were common, but after the turn of the 20th century knicker, short pants, and long pants suits were also worn. White suits were also purchased for boys, becoming popular in the 1920s. The white suits were popular in America, I'm less sure about other countruies. Suit styles and colors varied greatly from country to country. Perhaps more common than the whaite suit was the purchase of a dark suit that could be worn for other special events.
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