* United States boys clothes: fabric patterns chronology 19th century

United States Suit Fabric Patterns: 19th Century Chronology--The 1890s

Figure 1.--Thee two unidenified boys, obviously brothers look to be about 7-10 years old. They wear similarly cut patterned knee pants suit. Th jckets are probably collar buttoning. The younger boy's suit has a loud square pattern done in crossing stripes. Their outfits are completd with classic Eton collars, floppy bows, black long stockings, and high-top shoes. Tht portrait is ndating, but the mount pinking suggests the early-1890s. The studio was L. Fults in Waterllo, Illinois. The studio offered a life-size bust print for $8.00. Notice their black dog patiently joining them for the portrait. We are not sure he will like the flash.

At the end of the century we note the increasing popularity of boldly patterned suits. The image on a previous page is a good example. It shows brothers, we think in the early-1890s, showing one boy with a boldly patterened suit and his brother with a muted pattern. The Illionois boys here are another good example (figure 1). We think there may be social class connotations. It is not always clear on what basis the patterns were chosen. As far as we can tell there does not seem to be any difference in formality. Age appears to be a factor. The bold patterns seem more common for boys than adult men. We are not yet sure about teenagers. Probably patterns were more common than apparent in the photographic record because muted patterns do not register in the images. Flat and muted patterns seem the most common, but we see quite a number of boys wearing boldly patterned suits. Unfortunately the colors involved are lost in the black and white photography. Some pattern including color informatgion is available in period catalogs which included details on a multiplicity of suit offerings.


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Created: 3:02 PM 9/26/2014
Last updated: 3:02 PM 9/26/2014