Boys' Fashions: Sailor Suits, Eton suits, Fauntleroy Suits, and Frocks

Note: Published in the late 1880s

Growing kinder to the small boy every season, fashion now furnishes him with garments that are becoming and more suited to his years. Many a sixteen year old boy of today looks back with horror and disgust on the time 5 and 6 years ago, when fashion dictated that he should be belted in a Russian blouse, and the small boy of-today thanks his good fortune that the style was only a short-lived one, and had its day before he was out of dresses.

Sailor suits

The sailor suit is considered by many fashion-makers to be the most stylish thing for the small boy. It has wither long or short trousers, as one may prefer. If short they can be either close-fitting or full. The full style resembles golf trousers, but are not finished with the golf cuff at the knee. The blue serge with a rough finish is always much worn, and usually is trimmed with either white or black wool braid applied in true naval style. Through the summer months white flannel sailor suits with broad collar and deep cuffs are popular, especially for sea side wear, and are trimmed with either navy blue or black wool braid.

Another style is the Admiral, which is quite a favorite with the little chaps up to twelve years of age. The vest of the suit fastens behind and is finished round at the bottom. The coat is short, something like the Eton coat, and is cut away to show a good deal of the vest surface. The sailor collar, which is very deep, and broad across the hack, extends to the front, where it forms revers. The insignia of the Queen's Navy is embroidered on the vest sleeves in silk contrasting in color with the material. Cheviot-finished blue serge, which has a rough finish, and fine quality blue diagonal make up the best in this suit, which is invaluable for the cool rainy days at the seaside or moutains.

For summer wear perhaps there is nothing more stylish and practical than the sailor suit made up in flannel or linen, both of which hold their own in laundering. Model No. 2080 shows a comfortable and stylish sailor blouse in blue and white striped linen, with collar of white pique made square in the back, trimmed in blue braid. The trousers, No. 2079, are the same material and are close-fitting, though not so snug as to be uncomfortable for play-hours. This style is suitable for boys from three to twelve years of age, and can be made up in flannel or any wash-goods; white duck being especially stylish.

Eton suits

It is interesting and quite amusing to note the interest taken by the small boys in dress suits, or "party clothes," as one small boy of my acquaintance terms his very best. The most popular style for evening dress is the Eton suit, and is not worn by boys under eight years of age. It is usually made in black, with trousers or knickerbockers. The vest is cut away without lapels, and is buttoned straight with two buttons. The jacket is short, and has long, narrow, rover-like lapels that fold back nearly to the waist. With this suit small boys wear stiff, white linen shirt wastes; while those from twelve to fourteen war shirts with standing collars. The eight-year-olds wear the Tuxedo for full dress, made of black satin-finished worsteds, silk lined and faced, and the little fellows look exactly like veritable "Tom Thumbs."

Fauntleroy Suits

The suit pictured in Model No. 2078 is one that is always worn, and is truly childish and always becoming to boys from three to eight years, although they are worn by boys of up to eight summers. For the very small boy this suit is usually made up in velvet, but for the older boy dark blue, smooth finished cloth is usually employed. This same model is particularly good for summer wear, and is made up in grass linen, cotton cheviot, or duck, and braided with white or colored washable braids. The blouse waist, No. 2077, is of the conventional sort, made up in white linen, percale, or any washable material one may prefer. Although generally worn with this style suit, t is always becoming with any style suit, or can be worn with trousers, without coat, for comfortable in hot weather.


The very small boy who rumples and soils his clothes in less time than it takes to dress him must have many changes; and the wise mother looks for designs that launder easily and still looks well afterwards. For tots of from two to five years this want is met in the design shown in model No. 2076, in which no little boy need fear looking girlish when dressed for play. Green and white fancy suiting, with white pique collar and cuffs, are combined in this common-sense and becoming suit, though they are stylish in plain colored linen, which this season are found in all shades, both delicate and strong. A light weight of denim trimmed in white braid is both stylish and most durable for the small boy who plays in the sand, and in this model is particularly smart with white cuffs, collar, and belt, the later being held together with a big clasp in front.

Hats and Stockings

Straw sailor hats are much worn, while the tam-o'-shanters, in both straw and pique, are widely used.

Shoes and stockings match invariably, with tan as a great favorite for small boys, on account of the wearing qualities as well as the style.

Clothing Care

The care necessary in looking after the clothing of the average boy of today is quite equal to that of attending to the little girl's wardrobe. The styles for children change with about the same regularity, whether they be for boys or girls. In the matter of color, too, there is almost as great a variety called for in dressing the little man as there is in clothing his sister. Blouses of blue and bright red silks, ties, cuffs, and ruffles of contrasting colors, are not infrequent, while heavy and elaborate braiding and goods of broad design are much employed. Yet the lad who owns a wheel can be happy in being able to don a cycling-costume that is a reproduction of his father's or big brother's.

Author Carolyn Merion

Note: Several drawings will be added in the near future.

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Created: March 30, 1998