** English suits trousers knickers chrnology 1860s

English Boys Suit Trousers: Knickers Chronology--The 1860s

Figure 1.--This studio CDV shows an unidentified English boy wearing a cut-away jacket, small rounded collar, knickers, matching long stickings, and button shoes. Notice the studio setting with book and desk. This suggests how the boy may have been dressed for school. He looks to be about 6-7 years old. The portrait may have been taken to mark the beginning of school. The CDV is undated, but the sharp corners and studio set (drapery and blanl background suggests the 1860s. Notice how the long stockings were chosen to match the suit. The studio was Matkin in Lincoln.

The first decade for which we have detailed information on English boys' clothing, including suits and trousers in the 1860s. This is because of the sudden appearance of the abumen printing with negatives--the CDV. The CDV actually appeared in the 1850s, a French invention. But for what ever reason was not immediately successful. This changed dramatically in 1859 and suddenly in the 1860s we have for the first time large numbers of photographic images. Most show boys once breeched wearing suits and trousers. Of course the photographic record at the time was studio photogrphy meaning mostly upper- and middle-class children. We notice both shortened-length and long trousers. Long trousers dominated, but we see quite a few younger boys, including younger primary-age boys wearing the shortened-length trousers, usually as part of suits. The most common type of shortened-length pants appears to have been knickers, although our English archive is not yet sufficent to make any dfinitive statement. The boy here wearing a cut-away jacket with knickers is a good example (figure 1). We see an similar example with the Smith Boys. The choice of trousers varied from family to family. There was not yet any strong conventions. And this meant among the fashionable families in comfortable circumstance who could afford to have portraits taken. We believe that working-class children continud to wear mostly long pants.


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Created: 3:05 AM 4/19/2017
Last updated: 3:05 AM 4/19/2017