Shortalls: Accompanying Clothing

Figure 4.--Fashion magazines as late as the 1980s pictured boys in elegant shortall outfits, sometimes with white tights and strap shoes. This is probably more representative of how doting mothers whould have liked to dress their sons than the way they were actually dressed. It is difficult to be sure, but this outfit may be more accurately described as bib-front shorts rather than shortalls.

Shortalls were an all encompassing garment. There were a variety of shirts, hosiery, and footwear that could be worn with them. They were also very flexible. They could be worn as both a play garment or a dressy garment. Boys during the summer might wear shortalls without a shirt for play or with casual shirts like "T" shirts. The same shortalls could be turned into a dressy outfit by adding a dressy short sleeve blouse, perhaps with an Eton or Peter Pan collar. In cooler weather a turtleneck shirt might be worn. They were generally worn with kneesocks for dressier occasions and a more formal look. Especially formal occasions might call for white kneesocks, but American boys more commonly work dark colored kneesocks. Shortalls were also worn with ankle socks, especially for play. Fashion magazines sometimes picture boys in shortalls wearing tights, especially white tights. This was, however, not a common style worn by American boys and appears to be more for the fashion magazines showing images of how many mothers would have liked to dress their boys, rather than what the boys actually wore. This is confirmed by the photographic record. Footwear be closed-toe sandals or saddle shoes. Fashion magazines sometimes show strap shoes, but this was not very common,


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Created: 7:14 AM 11/17/2010
Last updated: 7:14 AM 11/17/2010