*** bows country usage

Bows: Country Trends

boys bows countries
Figure 1.--This American cabinet card shows an unidentified girl with her little brothers. The children look about 5-9 years old. The girl wears an wmaculate white dress. Notice her small hair bow. Bows are more associated with girls, but during the Funtleroy era it was the boys who mostly wore bows. These boys wears blouses with large floppy bows. The portrait is undated, but in part bedcause of the mount, looks to hve been taken in the 1900s decade. There is a studio impression, but we cn not read it.

he usage of bows in boys clothing has varied widely from country to country. The collar bows worn with Fauntleroy suits were enormously popular in the United States. We see countless images of American boys wearing huge floppy bows duruing the late-19th and very eraly-20th century. We are not sure why these bows and Fauntleroy suits were so popular in America. Marxist influnced American history teachers tell students that conditions in America were terrible for working peoople. Nothing coulkd be furthr from the truth. (ember the valid metric is to cmare American workers with workers jin other ciountrirs at the time, nit modern America.) American workers were paid better than workers in any other country. This is why workers were legally flocking to America by the millions. And with so many people doing so well, mothers often from humble origins wanted to dress up the kids to the nines to show off their success. Ther may be other factors, but surely this was an imprtant factor. We see larger bows in Europe as well, but not nearly as many bows or for that matter such large bows. European bows seem most common in Engkand and France. Necwear was not the only bows. And here the situation is more mixed. Hair bows, at least for boys, were mot nearly as popular in America as the collar bows. We see them in the phoyograohic record, but not nearly as many and there was a yonger age range. The French also had large Fauntleroy collar bows and more commonly used hair bows than in America. We believe that the Italians commonly used collar bows on boys clothes in the 19th century and continued this fashion into modern times by using them with school smocks. We have a fairly substantial archive for Engkand and Germany. The English may be an exception. We see younger boys wearing collar bows, but fewer schoolage boys. The practice of sending boys of about 8 years of age away to boarding preparatory schools with strict uniform requirements rather removed the mother from fashion decesions about how her son was dressed after reaching that age. While it was the boys from affluent families that went to these preparatory schools, fashions trends for boys 8 years and oldrer were strongly influenced by the clothes they wore. Gewernan boys wore far fewer boys than the boys ijn other major countries, especiually American boys.


One of the most destinctive styles of neckwear worn by Ameican boys was the floppy bow. This was a style worn by adults at the turn of the 19th century. It was popular during the Regency in Britain where it was worn by Beau Brummel. I thimk it was less common in America. When the floppy bow reappeared beginning in the late 1870s, it seems to have been a style particular popular in America. Large numbers of images show boys wearing large floppy bows in the late-19th century. This may be because our American archive is so substantial, but our Europen archives are growing and it does seem that floppy bows, esoecially large floppy bows were especially popular in America. This makes sence because it was strongly associated with the Fauntleroy style. And the Fauntleroy craze was espeilly pronounced in America. They were also worn in Europe, but we seem to see many more examples in America, especially the large floppy bows. And floppy bow at this time were a distinctly juvenile style. They were worn with equally large collars of various descriptions. Wearing floppy bows with fancy blouses was an optional matters. Some mothers insiste on the bows while others did not. They were worn with more plainly styled bows like Eton collars, but this was less common.



We have noted French boys commonly wearing bows in the 19th century, but have little so far developed little historical information. Our 19th century French archive is still limited. Bows were a common fashion in America, Britain, and other countries at the time. We do not know when bows became an important style for boys' neckwear. We do note them in the late-19th century.


We note Italian boys as other European boys wearing neckwear during the mid-19th century. Stocks and bows were at first relatively slow but grew in size by the late 19yh century. We note a variety of neckwear after the turn of the 20th century, including neckties and bowties. After World war II we see even more batiety of neckwear including string ties of various sorts, some with cloth balls. Notice the colored cloth balls sewn to the necks of these T-shirts. The "T" shirt outfits here are more casual than the garments more commonly used with nevkwear. We also note a kind of cross tie. After the 1960s Italian boys began to wear suits much less than earlier and we dee the decling use of any type of neckwear.


Bows for boys were primarily neckwear, but also employed for other decorative purposes. Infant boys might have small hair bows, but not older boys. Bows were not as extenively used for boys as in America and several other countries. Bows were much more common for girls. This was especially true for hair bows. Girls' hair bows were very common in the early-20th century. These hair bows for girls could be quite large. We see German boys in the late 19th and early 20th centuries wearing floppy bows. They do not seem as popular as in America, but the photographic recird shows many boys wearing them. We do not yet notice anyrging destinctive about the floppy bows in Germany. As in the rest of Europe, they seem to have been more a boys' than a girls' garment. Unfortunately because of the black and white photography, we do not know what color the bow was. We don't know if they were as popular as in the rest of Europe. The same of course is true as with other neckwear styles. Many of the German images we have show boys wearing floppy bows with Eton collars. A goof example is the boy here. Another good example is another portrait. We also notice boys on family outings wearing Eton collars with floppy bows. In some other countries we have noted floppy bows being worn with many other types of collars such as ruffled and lace collars. We are not yet able to fully assess German trends because of our still limited archive of images. Floppy bows continued to be commonly worn until World War I. We still notice some in the 1920s and even the early 30s. They were rarely seen by the mid-30s.



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Created: 8:29 PM 8/17/2021
Last updated: 8:29 PM 8/17/2021