American Mail Order Catalogs with Boys Clothings: 1922--Work Clothes

Figure 1.--Wards in its 1922 catalog offered bib-front overalls in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials. Notice how they are all worn with cuffs.

Wards devoted an entire page to overalls which were seen as the page suggests work clothes. They appear to be virtually all bib-front garments. They were often worn with ciffs turned up. The were not seen as casual clothes. They were not to be worn to school, except by less affluent boys in rural areas, and they were only worn by boys. Along with the bib-front overalls were several matching jackets. These overalls were made in many different materials, not just denim and so were the jackets. The jackets were well below waist level, very different from the popular denim jackets of today. Both blue and black denim were available. There were overalls in also khaki cloth. There is also safari drill--I'm not sure what this was. One popular style was stripped drill--often referre to as railroad overalls, but not by Wards. There is one reference to "brownie style," but I'm not sure what that meant. These overall work clothes were made for boys as young as 3 years.

A HBC reader points out that on the work clothes section, the clothing is not juvenile at all. There definitely was a distinction made between children's clothing and work clothing. Where children clothing was juvenile and children who worked were not considered juvenile. The work clothes offered here for boys by Wards are simply scaled down men's work garmebnts. Also notice that in 1922 overalls were not worn by girls.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: April 15, 2001
Last updated: April 15, 2001