Swiss Boys' Clothes: Suits


Figure 1.--These Swiss brothers are outfitted in their best clothes for a portrait probably taken in the 1870s. The two oldest boys wear kneepants suits with white stockings. The younger boy wears a front-buttoning plaid dress and plain pantalettes. Note the destinctive hair style and while the younger boy wears a dress, his hair is style just like his older brother.

HBC knows of no specific Swiss style for Swiss boys suits. We think Swiss suit styles were essentially the same as in Germany, although there must hasve been Fremch and Italian influenes in the non-German-speaking cantons. We are not sure how this played out as it meant that Swiss mothers were exposed to a great range of styles than in Germany. Presumably Swiss boys in the early 19th century wore skeleton suits like boys in other European countries. Swiss boys by the mid-19th century were wearing suits with more modern styling and long pants. We see boys wearing cut-away jsackets in the 1860s anf 70s. Older boys wore jackets with lapels. Gradually by the 1870s, kneepants suits had become more common for boys. They were worn with long over the knee stockings. I'm not sure when knicker suits began to be worn. Short pants suits with modern styling appeared in the 1910s and were wiely worn by the 1920s. They were worn with kneesocks, but many boys wore long above the knee stockings with them during the winter. Other boys wore knickers. Gradually suits became less commonly worn and were much less common by the 1940s. Knicker suits isappeared in the 1950s and short pants suits became much less common in the 1960s. Today modern Swiss boys, as other European boys, do not commonly dress up, but when they do, they normally wear a single breasted, long pants suits. The two major garments making up a suit are the jacket and pants or trousders. The type of suit is usually determined by the type of jacket. We notice cut-away jackes sand verying types of sack suits with lapels. Norfolk suits were very popular and we see both single- and double-breasted jackets. Eron suits were also worn. We also see several different types of pants. We note short pands, knee pants, knickers, and long pants. A third suit item is the vest or waistcoat. This is what is normally referenced by the term three-piece suit. The vest was optional, but many suits had them in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. A fourth item is the headwear.

Influences

HBC knows of no specific Swiss style for Swiss boys suits. We think Swiss suit styles were essentially the same as in Germany, although there must hasve been Fremch and Italian influenes in the non-German-speaking cantons. We are not sure how this played out as it meant that Swiss mothers were exposed to a great range of styles than in Germany.

Chronology

Presumably Swiss boys in the early 19th century wore skeleton suits like boys in other European countries. Swiss boys by the mid-19th century were wearing suits with more modern styling and long pants. We see boys wearing cut-away jackets in the 1860s and 70s. Older boys wore jackets with lapels. Gradually by the 1870s, kneepants suits had become more common for boys. They were worn with long over the knee stockings. I'm not sure when knicker suits began to be worn. Short pants suits with modern styling appeared in the 1910s and were wiely worn by the 1920s. They were worn with knee socks, but many boys wore long above the knee stockings with them during the winter. Other boys wore knickers. Gradually suits became less commonly worn and were much less common by the 1940s. Knicker suits isappeared in the 1950s and short pants suits became much less common in the 1960s. Today modern Swiss boys, as other European boys, do not commonly dress up, but when they do, they normally wear a single breasted, long pants suits.

Younger Boys Suits

We notice a variety of suits done specially for younger boys. We do not see any especially Swiss designs. These are he same stylws we see in other Western European countries. Many of these were different than standard suits in that they did not necessarily include a jacket. Kilt suits and Fauntleroy suits did have jackets. We see few kilt suits. we do see some Fauntleroy suits and fancy items during the Fauntleroy craze of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. So far the examples we have found are from the French-speaking cantons. Sailor suits were worn with blouses rather than a jacket. The sailor suit was one of the most popular boys' styles. Ww see some boys wearing sailor suits. It does seem that the sailor suit was not as popular in Switzerland as it was in the surroundinf countries (Germany, France, Italy, and Austria) where it was very popular. Tunic suits were also popular for many years. Our Swiss archive is not large enough at this time to permit any valid assessments of prevalence. And of course, there were stylistic dfferences among the cantons. The German-speaking cantons were influenced by German styles while the French-speaking cantons were influenced by French styles.

Garments

The two major garments making up a suit are the jsacket and pants or trousders. The type of suit is usually determined by the type of jacket. We notice cut-away jackes and verying types of sack suits with lapels. Norfolk suits were very popular and we see both single- and double-breasted jackets. Eron suits were also worn. We also see several different types of pants. We note short pands, knee pants, knickers, and long pants. A third suit item is the vest or waistcoat. This is what is normally referenced by the term three-piece suit. The vest was optional, but many suits had them in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. A fourth item is the headwear. Headwear was almost always an optional item. We have seen suits with mastching caps, but are Swiss archice is very limited and we have not yet found examples.

Age








HBC






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Created: January 7, 2001
Last updated: 3:49 AM 6/24/2016