Long Pants Play Suits

Figure 1.--Jump suits appeared after World War I. They were one of the few long pants outfits for small children. Note the Russian blouse styling. Also note the sandals.

The play suit was conceived after the turn of the century as the modern concept of play was developing as beneficial activity. Early play suits were smocks, pinafores, and rompers. The romper was probably the insporation for the jump suit, the first long pants play suit. The Levi Straus company was probably the first company to create long pants pakysuits with their coveralls. Many other designs were to follow.


Several vhildrens styles were created for play or a least to protect clothes whiler the child was playing or working.


Smocks or a garment appearing in the 19th Century which were originally worn by farmers and workers and eventually children to protect their clothes. They were never as popular in America as in Europe.


Pinafores also appeared in the early 19th Century. While originally worn by younger children, both boys and girls, to protect clothes, they eventually becasme a garment worn by girls of all ages. Unlike play suits, some pinafores could be quite fancy.


Rompers were the first true play suits. Eventually some fancy dressy rompers appeared, but the original rompers were practical functional garments for younger childen. They were worn by both boys and girls. They appeared as the fashion of dressing young boys in dresses were declining.


A latter outfit developed I believed in the 1950s were shortalls. They may have evolved from the concept of bin-front overalls. They were initially a play outfit, but were often worn for dressy, but not formal occasions. Shortalls are a one-piece short pants garmet worn by small boys in the 1960s-70s.


Levi Strauss in 1912 introduced its first playsuits for children, known as Koveralls. Simon Davis, the son of Jacob Davis designed the Koverall. Davis was the superintendent of the Levi Strauss Valencia Street factory. Levi Strauss & Co. advertised the Koveralls widely and the Koveralls became the first product sold nationwide by Levi's the 1920s introduced "Koveralls", a denim play garment. This was quite a novel idea at the time. For the first timev in America, some affluent city boys were esentially wearing overalls. Levi Strauss in the 1920s introduced "Koveralls", a denim play garment. They were conceivedf of by ??? Davis, son of Jacob Davis This was quite a novel idea at the time. For the first timev in America, some affluent city boys were esentially wearing overalls.

Play Suits

I have little real information about jump suits. The first long pants outfits appear to have been Koveralls, but short pants outfits, often two-piece garments, appeared after the turn of the century. They were popular in Germany and worn by the German princes. The first long pants garments I have noted appeared in the 1920s. Some of the original longpants play suits had Russian blouse styling. This appears to have been primarily an American style and was much less commonly worn in Europe.

Jump Suits

Jamp suits eventually became used for a variety of adult activities. I believed the term appeared in the 1940s or 50s as they were worn by parachusets. They also came to be uniforms worn by pilots and other aviators during the 1950s.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 15, 1999
Last updated: August 27, 1999