*** Australian boys clothes: garments --pants

Australian Boys' Garments: Suits

Australian boys suits

Figure 1.--This oval masked CDV portrait shows two unidentified Australian brothers. They look to be about 3-5 years old. The boys wear identicasl vested cut-away jacket knee pants suits. Notice the three-stripe detailing. They also have white long stiockings and high-top shoes. The portrait is undatred, but looks like the 1860s. The studio was T.J. Hollands in Oange, New Souyh Wales.

We have been unable to do a lot of work on Australian suits yet. Our Australian archive is still very limited, but we have been able to create a few pages. We do have some basic information, both on juvenile suit styles and on standard suit styles for somewhat older boys. We know nothing about fashion trends during Australia's early years, both the 18th and early-19th century, before the invention of photography (1839). The styles would, however, been the same as those worn in England. This is not surprising given that almost all of the immigrants at the time came from Britain. Even after the invention of photography, we have very few 19th century images, almost all of which would have been studio portraits. Even in the mid-19th century the population of Australia was very small which of course meaning the photographic record was small. Until well into the 20th century as best we can male out, Australian clothing styles were essentially the same as in Brutain, especially England. We see boys wearing the same juvenile suits as in England. Sailor styles were popular. We see a few Fauntleroy suits in the late-19th century. We also see cut-away jacket suits. Older boys wore a variety of styles including collar-buttoning suits, single-breasted suits and both Eton and Norfolk suits. By the late-19th century they were mostly shortened-length pants. This continued until after World War II through the 1960s.


Styles / Jackets

Fauntleroy Suits

Australia like England and America was caught up in the "Fauntleroy craze" that followed the publication of Mrs. Burnett's book in the mid-1880s. We still have little information on the phenomenon in Australia. We assume that styles followed the English pattern and the chronology was similar to that in England. English boys commonly wore knicker-style pants with their Fauntleroy suits than American boys who more commonly wore knee pants. As in England the Fauntleroy suits were often worn with wide brimmed sailor hats. By the turn of the 20th century the lace collars had given way to larger ruffled collars.

Cut-away Jacket Suits

The cut-away jacket suit was a popular style for younger boys in the second half of the 19h century. We first notice them in the 1850s and assume that gthis was when they appeared in Ausralia as well. We see them dine as both vested and unvested suits. Many were very plain, altyhough some like the suits the biy here are wearing were decorated. At first they were worn with shirtened abnd long pnts. But as shiebed=lenth pnts became standard, long opants cuit0-waay jackets becnme lessommon. They ere the jscket tupe used for Fauntklroy suits, because the cut away style proved the best way of showing off the fancy blouses worn as part of the suits. For this the actual jacket was very plain and often much smaller than the standard cut-away jcket.

Norfolk Suits

We note Norfol styling in gtheearly-20yh century

Sailor Suits

We know virtually nothing about sailor suits in Australia at this time. Our Australian archive is still imited. The English princes began wearing sailor suits (1840s). We are not sure when Australian boys began wearing sailor suits. As far as we know the styles and conventions in Australia were the same as in England. Of course the uniforms for the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy when established were the same. Thus there were no differences in the national uniforms. And because Australian fashions were largely set in Britain, we do not yet know of any differences in sailor suits. Climate of course was a factor. This may have affected the fabric and the weight of the material. Hopefully as HBC expands we will be able to address this topic in greater detail.

Standard Suits

Australian suits were for the most part the same styles worn in England. This was especially the case in the 19th and early-20th centuries. We note a 1910 Australian advertisement for boys' suits including Eton collars. They were precisely the same as styles in England. If we did not know that the advertisement was Australian, there would be no way to know that it was not English. Colonial Australia was a society transported from Britain. Cultural values were a little different from Britain because of all the people deported for criminal offenses, often minor ones. The Australians were a little more free flowing, The basic cultural o patterns were British. And the clothes they wore were very British, despite the very different climate. The major difference was that so many more boys went barefoot in Australia. The suit and other clothing were essentially the same. Dress was a little more casual in Australia than in England at the time, but still looks formal based on modern standards. Until well into the 20th century as best we can make out, Austral an clothing styles were essentially the same as in England. We see a few non-standard suit, but not very many. We have very few images of Australian suits until the invention of photography and studios open in Australia (mid-19th century). Mostly we see the sane standard suit styles commonly worn in England. Boys at the time did not have large wardrobes. Boys wore a variety of styles including collar buttoning suits, single-breasted suits and both Eton and Norfolk suits. By the late-19th century there were mostly shortened length pants. This continued until after World War II through the 1960s.



We note Australian boys swdearuing ling pangts, knee pants and shirt oamts. We have not yet notuced knickers, although our archive is still far too limited to make any valid assessments. We have very little informstion at this time on 19th century suits pants. We believe that they were basically the same as in England which by the late-19th century were mostly knee pants or knickers and long pants or the older boys. By the turn of the 20th century we mostly see knee pants, but our archive is still very limited. We no longer see knickers. Knee psnts grduslly gave way to short pants in the 1910s and became standard after World War I. And were worn by both primary school boys as well as many teenagers. This continued until after World War II hn boys begn wearing long pbts suits, esprcilly by the 1960s. Shiort psnts continued to be worn in chool uniform suits. At the same time suits in general were bring worn less and less by boys.


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Crerated: 10:30 PM 6/20/2023
Last updated: 4:43 PM 12/25/2023