Fashion Magazine for Boys Clothes: Delineator--1889, Fauntleroy Suits

Figure 1.--The "Delineator" adverized patterns for Fautleroy suits in 1889. Not all of the suits were to be made of dark velvet.

This Delineator article/adverisement from 1889 provides a good deal of useful information. Mothers could buy patterns of the styles they selected for their sons. This article provided three styles of Fauntleroy suit--the sailor, the riding suit and the court suit.

Delineator Text

LORD FAUNTLEROY SUITS. The popularity of the Lord Fauntleroy suits is due in large part to their appearance in the characterization of a "little lord", the hero of Frances Hodgson Burnett's famous work which has been playing in London and New York. The hero, a young boy of sunny disposition and angelic mien, appeared in four costumes, three of which are shown here--the sailor, the riding suit and the court suit. Young boys will wear them until their ages are written in double numbers.


Suit #2572 consist of white jersey trousers, white silk Surah blouse which has a broad sailor collar of pale Surah, The Fauntleroy sash of the blue surah has long fringe ends and hangs to the right side. sizes three to twelve years.


Suit #9085 is a riding suit made of rich wine-colored corduroy with leggings of tan-colored leather and gauntlet gloves to match. The Tam O' Shanter cap is made of matching fabric although it may be knitted.


Suit #2577 is constructed of black velvet with black silk stockings and little kid slippers decorated with bows. A deep collar of Irish point lace and deep rolling cuffs of similar lace form beautiful accessories. The waist is draped with a wide sash of crimson silk Surah. The hat is a soft felt trimmed with a bunch of ostrich tips. Sizes three to twelve years.

HBC Assessment

The suit now known as the fauntleroy suit is identified here as the Fauntleroy court suit. The Delineator characterized the other two styles as Fauntleroy suits because Eric appears in them in theatrical performances. HBC does not believe this termonology was widely used. Most contemporaty sources would have referred to only the court suit as a Fauntleroy sduit. Long hair, tams, and sashes do add a bit of a Fauntleroy touch to the other suits.

The age ranges of these suits in 1889 is 3 to 12 years.

Note that the court suit is specified as black velvet and he wears a red sash for a splash of color. Also note that coruroy was being used in boys' clothing.

Reader Question

I agree with the HBC assessment that the other suits would not normally be called fauntleroy suits but are referred to as such due to the popularity of the fauntleroy craze! I do think it is worth noting that leather leggings denote a riding suit. I wonder whether the fauntleroy suits we have seen with leather leggings denote that the child likes to ride horses (symbolic such as having a whip or hobby horse in the picture) or whether a child wore that kind of outfit to ride horses?

Interesting question. The Fauntleroy suit id properly made with lace and velvet, not to mention silk stockings and crisom silk sash was an expensive garment. Only a boy from a well to do family would wear such an outfit. There were less expensive knockoffs, but a well made one would be beyond the reach of the average family. Such families might well own horses for trandportation and it would be expected that their children would learn to ride at a fairly early age. The riding suits begin at age 3. That would be a bit young, but by age 5 or such children would be riding ponies. Leather leggings would have been a rather expensive afectation. HBC had begun a leggings page, but this question is not addressed there. Of course, one reason for leggings is warmth, but cloth would do for this purpose. HBC has no written evidence, but speculates that the leather leggings were for riding.

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to:Main store catalog page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Bibliographies] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Contributions] [Countries]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Sailor suits] [Sailor dresses] [Kilt suits] [Sailor hats] [Fauntleroy suits] [Buster Brown suits] [Eton suits] [Kneepants] [Rompers] [Tunics] [Smocks] [Pinafores]

Last updated: March 23, 1999
Last updated: June 6, 2000