French Rompers: Individual Accounts

Figure 1.--This is Daniel with his big brother Andre in a family snapshot about 1950. Daniel mostly wore romers as a little boy. The romper fit him pefectly like the Petit garçon model. Daniel is wearing a two piece romper, that was a classic summer 1950s style. This outfit was composed of a little blouse with puffed sleeves, Peter Pan collar, smocking embroderies, and the little puffed pants with bib, and oftten with a little pocket. All the French rompers were butonned at the croach, even for biger sizes, probably to give them a juvenil touch. The snapshot was taken along the Marne river."

Here we are archiving accounts from French readers about their personal experiences concerning rompers. As boys normally wore rompers as pre-schoolers, often French readers do not recall wearing rompers as well as many other boyhood clothes. A few French readers, however, do recall wearing rompers. French mothers presumably recall more, but we do not yet have any accounts from mothers about rompers. Hopefully French readers will provide us more details hedre.


One reader has provides us a detaied account of his childhood. This account is about Charles and his brother during the late 1940s. Both boys wore rompers. In fact their parents ran a clothing manufacturuing plant. We note a portrait of Chrles and his broither photographed in 1947 wearing matching rompers. They are about 2 and 3 years old. It was their mother's favorite portrit and hung prominently in the home. The front of the rompers are very heavily smocked. Notice the puff sleeves on rompers. These are rather dressy rompers with flower paterned material.


Another French reader tells us, "There are quite a few HBC pages with detailed information on French rompers. I think that many French people are no longer aware that boys once commonly wore rompers. I often wore rompers as a little during the early 1950s. For some reason I remember my romper suits quite well. Actually I remember than beter than some of my other suits that I wore a little later. One day I recall being invited to a or a children's party in Paris. There were about eight of us. I remember that all of us boys were wearing white romper suits. The three little girls were all weaing similar little dresses. I was 4 years old. The other boys were about the same age 4-5 years old. For some reason my sister was jnot there. I also remember, when we were traveling, I had to stay clean. I sometimes had my clothes changed during the day if I got my romper dirt. Here in France the weather can be quite different in the south and Paris. Quite often it's warm in Nice and a bit chilly in Paris. For the first time, not long ago, my daughters askd me about my boyhood. My oldest daughter thought I looked very cute in a photograph of me wearing a romper suit. My other daughter bought a traditional romper suit for her son. They can still be found in Galerie Lafayette. My son also wore romper suits when he was a little boy, but no as much as I did and he was a little younger when he wore romprs.


A French reader writes, "I found my suits navy and white rather smart. I perfectly recall I never had objections to wearing rompers, I found that normal for a boy. Many boys at the time wore them. I don't recall having heard a boy teased because he was dressed in a romper suit."


A French reader writes, "The barboteuse marked my boyhood . Llike some of the other French readers who have written to HBC I wore rompers as a little boy. I know from family photographs that as a little boy I was quite often dressed in rompers. Practically all boys in the 1940sand 50s wore rompesr when they were babies and todlers. Untill they were enter to the kindergarten this garment was very common. At this time 1950s, the children entered Kindergarten at 4 or 5 years of age. This some children were in Kindegarten for 1-2 years. I do not recall wearing them as a very little boy, but recall I had a kind of romper party ouytfit. I don't recall wearing rompers to school, but probably did when I was in nursery school. I do recall the romper suit I wore at 6 yeats of age for special occassions. On Sunday , Thirsday , specialy in summer they could be dressed in a an dressy romper suit for outings or visits. In the post 1940s the barboteuse were made in both casual and dressy styles. The people of the post-1970 generation only know this style by the family photographs of their father.


A French reader writes, "A short time ago, I spoke with my neighbour. He was a petit garçon modèle during 1947-55. He told me, "I have fond memories of my childhood and how my mother so carefully took care of me." His mother commonly dressed him in rompers as a little boy until he was about 6 years old. " One photograph shows him wearing a bib-front romper suit with smocking. The snapshot here shows im wearing a traditional barboteuse romper suit. The photograph is black and white, but these suits were often a light blue. He is pictured with his mother and older brother who looks to be doing his First Communion. Note the boy's long hair. His mother did not have it cut until he was ready to begin school. The family lived close to Paris in a "super" town along the Marne river--Chantilly. This is a famous royal town.


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Created: 9:47 PM 10/28/2004
Last updated: 1:33 AM 12/23/2009