United States Suit Vests: Wearing Conventions

Figure 1.--Until about the 1970s, we don't notice many images in the photographic record of boys wearing vests without suit jackers. We do, however, note a few such images, such as this boy, we think in the 1920s.

Boys varied as to how they wore their vests. Boys wore their jackets in the mid-19th century so that the vests showed. This was in part because the vests often were done in bright material and contrasted with the jacket. They were mde to be seen. This changed by the late-19th century when the vest commonly matched the suit. The jacket was commonly worn closed so that the vest could barely be seen. Most of our 19th century images come from studio portraits. Here the vest is an optional item. Some boys wear then others do not. We do not see, however, boys wearing their vests alone without their jackets, at least in the formal studio portraits. And this may be significant as most 19th century photographss are studio portraits. Actual outdoor photographs are much less common. But here we see boys wearing their vests without jackets. A good example is a rural tintype of two unidebtified boys in the 1870s or 80s. One boy is wearing a vest without a jacket.


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Created: 6:35 AM 3/25/2008
Last updated: 6:35 AM 3/25/2008