French Catalogs -- Au Bon Marché: Norfolk Suit, 1911

Figure 1.--The Au Bon Marché Paris department store offered this Norfolk suit with straigh-leg knickers. Note the flat cap and bowtie. The ilustrations suggests long stockings rather than kneesocks.

Au Bon Marché in its 1911 catalog shows a knicker Norfolk suit for boys. The suits were available for boys beginning at size age 7. There is no indication as to the upper size range. It was shown worn with a flat cap. This indicates that the Norfolk suit was a popular style in France.

Au Bon Marché

Au bon Marché is a large Paris department store. We are not sure when it was founded, but we have noted advertisments for boys clothing from the early 20th century. I'm not sure when the store was founded or any details about it. The hat here was offered in the Winter 1911 catalog.

Ad Copy

The ad copy read, "No. 58290. Costume Norfolk blouse croisée avec empiècement et plus draperie nouveauté très belle qualité. 7 ans ... Fr 36. 2 Fr en plus par àge." This would translate as, "Norfolk suit, jacket blouse crossed with empiècement and more inovative drap, very beautiful quality. 7 years ... Fr 36. 2 Fr additional for each year of age."


HBC has noted the term "drap" commonly used in French clothing catlogs during the early 20th century. "Drap" is a fabric related to the English word "drapery". However when used to describe a fabric used in boys clithing it means an inexpensive serge fabric.


This Norfolk suit shown here was made in sizes beginning at age 7. The illustration shows a much older boy wearing it. The upper size range is not shown.


The Norfolk jacket shown here is does not have as many straps and belts as we have seen on some American and British Norfolk jackets. HBC does not know if this represents a different French style or simply the specific characteristics of this suit. Note that the boy wears very straight leg knickers that are closed with a single button leg cuff. Compare thesekniclers to the bloomer knickers worn by the boy in the "costume baby" worn by the younger boy in the illustraion shown here.

Norfolk Suit

The Norfolk suit is an English creation, invented by the Duke of Norfolk. It is a very destinctive style with all the belts and straps. HBC has noted that it was widely worn by English and American boys. Tnhis Au Bon Marché catalog advertisement suggests that it was also a popular French style.

Double-breasted Suit

Au Bon Marcheé offered another double-breasted suit for boys of similar age.


The illustration shows the boy wearing a flat cap. The cap looks indestistinguishable from the flat caps worn in America and Britain.

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing catalog/magazine pages:
[Return to the Main French mail order 1911 page]
[Main photo/publishing page] [Store catalogs] [Fashion magazines]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Bibliographies] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Contributions] [FAQs] [French glossary]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Sailor suits] [Sailor hats] [Buster Brown suits] [Eton suits] [Rompers] [Tunics] [Smocks] [Pinafores] [French postcards] [French catalogs] [French stores]

Created: November 24, 2001
Last updated: November 24, 2001