Bibfront Overalls: Country Trends

Figure 1.--This is American boys, James Douglas and George Dixon Steinbrecher, about 1948 along with the family pooch. George was born in 1942. Click on the image to see a portrait showing the color of the overalls. These were Koveralls or other childrens overalls, not standard bib-froint overalls. They were playwear, but by the 1940s we see studio portraits being done with playwear. Click on the image for a color studio portrit.

The topic of overalls is primarily an American story. They were invented in America by Levy Strauss and as far as we know were only worn in America, perhaps Canada. They were not a child's garment. lthough today most associated with farmers, imitially they were more of a miner/factory worker garment. We do not see them being worn in Europe during the 19th century. After the turn-of-the century we see American children wearing them. Rural children wore overalls as both an everyday garment and a school garment. We commonly see overalls in rural areas and rural schools, but only in America. Some boys even wore them to church, but this would have been mostly lower-income children. City children began wearing Levi Strauss Koveralls or similar play outfits made by other versions made by other companies. This was alay garment, and worn by a wide family social class spectrum. We do not see these Koveralls in Europe even though related suspender shorts and H-bar shors were common, the bib aspect simply did not cross the Atlantic. This is not surprising because few American fashions (except of all styles the Fauntleroy suit) crossed the Atlantic until after World World War II. We do begin to see bib-front shorts and later longs as well as overalls in Europe after the War. Both the increasing popularity of casual styles and the culltural imprint of america were presumably factors. Also involved was the connction with denim jeans. And in America we bigin to see bib-front shorts and overalls. Until World War II, Koveralls were almost always a long pants outfit.


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Created: 11:33 PM 2/17/2014
Last updated: 11:33 PM 2/17/2014