*** girls' and women's fashions skirts








Girls' Garments: Dresses

girls' dresses
Figure 1.--Girls during the 19th and much of the 20th century mostly wore dresses. This changed in the 1970s when many girls began wearing shorts and long pants, even to school. Some girls like the English girls here continued to prefer dresses.

Dresses are of course primarily associated with girls. The revolution in boys' clothing initiated by the skeleton suit beginning about 1770 did not come until 3 decades later for girls at the turn of the 19th century. Girls began wearing Empire style frocks made in white muslin with high-waists anfd short, balooning sleeves. These frocks were in keeping with the temper of the times, and gave the impression of revolutionary freedom and a girlish innocence. They were also much less restrictive than the cumbersome dresses formerly worn. Girls continued wearing only dresses throught the 19th century, albeit with considerable stylistic changes. Gradually girls dresses became much more elaborate and restrictive. Unlike boys clothing whjich was styled differently than their father's outfits, girls often wore dresses styled like their mothers, albeit often with shorter hems. Major changes in styles came with the 20th century, especially after World War I (1914-18). While the styles changed, until World War II (1939-45), girls still mostly wore dresses. It was unusual to see girls in shorts and pants until after the War. In some countries, well after the War. After the War, Yves Saint Laurent introduced the shift dress with very short skirts. Courr�ges created party dresses similar to those worn in 1920s nurseries. Beginning in the 1960s girls began turning away from dresses. Many girls by the 1990s rarely wore dresses, prefering shorts or jeans. HBC at this time does not have detailed information on girls' dress styles. This would be very helful in helping to ssess undated image and to comapre with styles of dresses boys wore over time. HBC would be very interested in working with a reader interested in developing information on historical girls' dress styles.

Girls'Garment

Dresses are of course primarily associated with girls. Girls essentilly wore cut-down vsuins of the dresses that their mothers wore. There were until the 20th century no purpose made girls' clothes. The revolution in boys' clothing initiated by the skeleton suit beginning about 1770 did not come until decades later for girls at the turn of the 19th century.

Dress Styles

HBC at this time does not have detailed information on girls' dress styles. This would be very helful in helping to assess undated image and to comapre with styles of dresses boys wore over time. HBC would be very interested in working with a reader interested in developing information on historical girls' dress styles. We have begun to collect some information. We note a huge number if dress styles. Girls began wearing Empire style frocks made in white muslin with high-waists anfd short, balooning sleeves. These frocks were in keeping with the temper of the times, and gave the impression of revolutionary freedom and a girlish innocence. They were also much less restrictive than the cumbersome dresses formerly worn. Girls continued wearing only dresses throught the 19th century, albeit with considerable stylistic changes. Gradually girls dresses became much more elaborate and restrictive. The peak of this was the hoop dress in the mid-19th century. Other popular styles were A-line, applique, baby-doll, baloon, chifon, frock, halter, jacketed, mini, national styles, multi-layer, party, pinafore, princess, tutu, sailor, summer/sun, smocked, and many oither dress styles. Unlike boys clothing whjich was styled differently than their father's outfits, girls often wore dresses styled like their mothers, albeit often with shorter hems.

Chronology

Major changes in styles came with the 20th century, especially after World War I (1914-18). We see girls wearing flouncy white party dresses in the early-20th century. A good example is Juanita Hogan in 1907. These dresses were very common until after World war I. While the styles changed, until World War II (1939-45), girls still mostly wore dresses. It was unusual to see girls in shorts and pants until after the War. In some countries, well after the War. After the War, Yves Saint Laurent introduced the shift dress with very short skirts. Courr�ges created party dresses similar to those worn in 1920s nurseries. Beginning in the 1960s girls began turning away from dresses. Many girls by the 1990s rarely wore dresses, prefering shorts or jeans.

Dress Elements

Dress construction varies, but is fundamentally made up of several key elements. They include the collar/neckline, bodice, sleeves, waistline, and skirt. One of the important stylistic elements was the neckline. We note children wearing dresses with low necklines during the early- and mid-19th century. We are not sure if low-neckline dresses were commonly worn or a dressy style. The conventions for children with low-necklines seem to be more age than gender. A good example is unidentified American children, we think in the late-1850s. As the century progressed, necklines rose and we no longer see low necklines for children. We see collars that totally enclose the neck. Not all dresses had collars, but the ones that did not still had fabric that enclosed the neck area. The top of the dress was the bodice which covered the torso and was done in many differet ways. It commonly buttoned in the back. We are not sure just how girls mastered that feat of hand. Sleeves were another important element. We notice many different styles and lenghs. Dresses varied in the waistline treatment. Some were done without waistlines with the bodice falling straightbdown into the skirt. Other dresses had tightly defined waistlines. A common convention for waistbands that in the back which tied into bows, sometimes large bows. That seems a little tricky. Younger girls had the bow tied by mom. Older girls mastered it on their own. The bottom of the dress was the skirt which was done in many different ways. One such approach was pleating like a kilt. Skirt lengths varied widely as to not only age and the fashion of the day.









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Created: 1:16 AM 3/24/2006
Last updated: 2:40 AM 5/25/2015