*** French mail order catalogs and advertisments with boys clothes -- chrnology

French Clothing Catalogs and Fashion Magazines with Boys Clothing: Chronology

French clothing catalogs
Figure 1.--French boys in the early 19th century were wearing long trouser skeleton suits and their fathers knee breeches. By the 1830s, men were wearing long trousers. In the 1860s, as shown here, boys began increasingly to wear knee pants. Notice the boy in the uniform. That was probably his school uniform.

French fashion and mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. French is an especially important country in the world of fashion and the styles shown in French catalogs and advertisments as well as magazines helped to influence fashions in many other countries as well. At this time we have these fashion images dating back to the 1850s. We believe that there are earlier fashion images, but we have not yet acquired any.

The 1850s

Currently the 1850s is the earliest period for which we have images from fashion magazines. There are probably some earlier magazines which we eventually hope to acquire. The Journal des Marchands Tailleurs is an excellent source of information on 1850s fashions. We note that boys in the 1850s were still mostly wearing long pants, but some yuger boys worepants tha wer cut well above the ankles. HBC has also noted boys clothing appearing in Belgian fashion magazines in the 1850s. We have noted skirts and jackets, tunics and suits. We believe that if these garments appeared in French magazine that they were also pictured in French magazines as well. At present this infornation is archived in the HBC Belgian pages. HMC also believes that the styles involved would be very similar to French styles.

The 1860s

HBC has drawings of childrens fashions that were being advertised by smart Paris shops ib the 1860s. The Journal des Marchands Tailleurs is an excellent source of information on 1860s fashions. French boys in the early 19th century were wearing ling trouser skeleton suits and their fathers knee breeches. By the 1830s, men were wearing long trousers. Boys in the 1860s began increaingly to wear kneepants (figure 1). School uniforms had military styling.

The 1870s

The 1880s

The 1890s

We have very limited information on French clothing catalogs and fashion magazines during the 1890s. We do have one image from a fashion magazine showing different styles of school uniforms--all military styles. These do not appear to be uniforms for military schools, but rather ordinary secondary schools.

The 1900s

Little boys less commonly wore dresses, but fancy suits with bloused kneepants were popular for parents that could afford them. Paris department suits offered a wide range of suits and hats for boys. The most popular style for younger boys was the sailor suit which was made in sizes up to 14 years. Boys wore both sailor hats and caps as well as a range of more mature headwear. Clothing in real terms was less expensive than in the 19th century, but still more expensive than is the case today.

The 1910s

Fashion magazines carried patterns for boys, girls, and childrens' smocks. A well dressed boy might wear a fancy ruffled collar. Sailor suits and caps were very popular. Boys wore both knickers and kneepants. Both long stockings and three-quarter stockings were common.

The 1920s

HBC notices adverisments for girls school smocks in the 1920s. Some are very different than the smocks worn by boys. We are unsure if these differences existed in the 1910s. There are also children's (infants) ginham smocks that were worn by boys and girls. Some of the girl's smocks appear to be new styles that were not worn in the 1910s.

The 1930s

We have some images of schoolwear for French boys for the winter of 1935-36. Several coats and suits are shown. Rompers and smocks were popular for the younger boy.

The 1940s

French fashions and the fashions industry were impaired by World War II and the 1940 German invasion and occupation. Magazines continued to publish during the German occupation, albeit with increasing difficulty. One magazine in 1941 offered patterns for fancy button-on outfits for little boys anc cloak type rain coats. France was liberated in 1944. Post-war fashion sewing magazines suggested fancy blouses and rompers for younger boys. Various types of romper suits were thought to be very stylish for boys up to 7 years of age and wee quite common for boys 4-5 years. There were also a wide variety of shorts sets, both dressy outfits and play suits. Older boys might wear blazers with long pants.

The 1950s

At this time we only have information on styles for younger children, but hope to expand this coverage. Rompers cintinued to be popular for pre-school boys, especially in the early 1950s.

The 1960s

We have noted younger boys and girls during the 1960s wearing classic coat styles which the French call "manteau baby" as well as other styles. We have also noted safari shorts sets. School smocks were still worn, but were declining in popularity during the 1960s, especially for boys. The Paris School Riots occurred in 1968 which was to have a substantial impct on fashion and clothing.

The 1970s

French mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. Classic coats or the manteau baby for younger children that were once worn by boys up to age 8 or even 10 were by the 1970s only worn by pre-school boys up to about age 4-5 years. After the 1970s French fashions for boys began copying U.S. styles for "T"-shorts, Bermuda shorts, and sneakers. Shorts except for casual wear went out of fashion for older boys. Sunday clothes for younger boys also changed. Dressy short pants with creases and suspenders went out of fashion. Boys except for the very youngest stopped wearing smocks.

The 1980s

French boy in the 1980s commonly wore blazers when they dressed up. One catalog shows a blue blazer and khaki trousers--a rather American look. Boys weaa variety of dressy and casul shorts. Dressy shorts might be wor with sweters. Casual shorts, some with large patch pockets are worn ith sport looking shirts. Sportor jogging shorts were popular in the early 1980s. These were still cut short, but many other shorts ere cut much longer. An especially could source of information is LaRedoute catalog.

The 1990s

French boys' clothes in the 1990s had begun to loose much of their destinctive charavrt as more and more fashions began to take on a general pan-European character. Online catalogs appeared in the 1990s.

The 2000s

Onlink catalogs in France become increasingly popular in the 2000s. One of the most important is Cyrillus. We note that through 2002 that Cyrillus offered "H-bar" suspender shorts. In 2003 the "H-bar" shorts were no longer offered, but there were still suspender shorts.


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Created: August 28, 2001
Last updated: 5:19 AM 2/17/2012