Jackets differ from coats which are cold weather garments in that they are generally lighter and shorter. There are also jackets made for cold weather. Boys will wear heavy jackets during the winter rather than coats cut longer like overcoats. Often the shorter jacket is more commonly worn by boys than the longer coats. Examples are the anorak,
parka, ski jacket, and others.
The term jacket has a variety of meanings and and even wider variety of actual types. A jacket is a garmet for the upper body, usually with a front opening and having a collar, sleeves, and pockets. Jacket-like garments evolved from medieval doublets. The term is French in origin, evolving from the short coats worn by French peasants. Modern jackets are primarily a garment worn for warmth in cool weather or the upper part of a suit worn as dress wear. Jackets differ from coats which are cold waether garments in that they are generally lighter and shorter. There are also jackets make for cold weather. Boys will wear heavy jackets during the winter rather than coats cut longer like overcoats. Jackets are cut in a wide vaeriety of styles for specialized purposes. Jackets are also worn for dresswear, often with lapels. These jackets worn with suits are also called coats as are sports jackets, a more casual style, which is worn without matching trousers.
Boys have worn worn a wide variety of jackets for warmth during cool and cold weather. Jackets differ from coats which are cold weather garments in that they are generally lighter and shorter. There are also jackets make for cold weather. Boys will wear heavy jackets during the winter rather than coats cut longer like overcoats. Often the shorter jacket is more commonly worn by boys than the longer coats. Examples are the anorak,
parka, ski jacket, and others.
Anoraks are probably not a jacket type as they are pull-over garments. Generally speaking, jackets are front opening garments. We mention them here because they are so widely worn by boys, especially in Britain. They are perfect in the unpredictable British climate. The light weight enable them to be tightly packed and carried by boys so that they can be used in case an unpredicted rain shower appears. Worn with a sweater thaey can be quite warm. The light-weight and usage of these garments cause them to be worn much like jackets. Anoraks are essentially light-weight parkas.
The bomber jacket is based on a World War II style for American aviators involved in the air war over northern Europe. The aviators needed a warm garment, but one that was not long and cumbersome. The result was the short leather jacket which became known as the bomber jacket. It proved very popular with boys after the war, especially in America. The name for this jacket has varied over time. We have noted references to "flight" jackets. It has come to be more commonly referred to as just a leather jacket. We note a leather jacket sold in 1961, comparable to the bomber jacket, but with different pocket arrangements.
Corduroy jackets were popular in Britain during the 1940s and 50s. I am not sure when theu first appeared, perhaps the 1920s. These were garments cut short to waist level amd buttoned or zipped to the collar without lapels. They were adopted as part of the school uniform by several British preparatory schools and were worn with matching cord short trousers. They declined in popularity during the 1960s, but worn at some schools into the 1980s. A British HBC reader recalls wearing a cord jacket as a boy.
The Eisenhower jacket was a short, snug-fitting style developed for the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. HBC does not yet have the complete history here, but we believe that the style was inspired by the British battle jacket. Eisenhower reportedly wanted a smart looking short jacket troops could wear for dress occassions. He often wore the style and it has been popularly named for him. It passed out of the U.S. Army uniform inventory in the 1950s after the War, but influenced many subsequent boys' jacket styles after the War. The short jacket was much more common for boys after World War II than before the War. The Eisenhower jacket and the British battle jacket probably had a major impact on this fashion change.
We have noticed various styles of leather jackets. They were popular, but were relatively expensive so many boys did not have them. I am not sure when they were firat made. We only notice them beginning in the early 20th century. In the early 20th century leather jackers might he rather long, well below the waist. Perhaps influenced by the "bomber jackets" worn by World War II aviators, by the 1940s leather jackets were much shorter waist-length styles with military epaulets. These were especially popular with boys. After the War leather motor-cycle jackers with zippers became very popular with teenagers--in part because of their edgy look, no doubt influenced by the James Dean film, "Rebel Without a Cause". Suede jackets became popular in the 1950s and 60s in the United States and other countries. There were also less expensive imitation leather jackets.
The parka might be considered a separate type of cold weather garmen, especially the original pull-over garment worn by Native Americans. The zip-up front garments worn by children are probably more accuratelly called a jacket. A parka is a fur coat cut like a shirt with a hood and commonly worn in northeastern Asia and Alaska. Wool garments marketed as parkas appeared in the late 19th or early 20th century. These garments were made with a detachable hood. I believe the term parka was originally Russian. The parka was adopted by some British and Scottish private schools for winter wear. I first noted this in the 1970s, but presumably it was adopted for schoolwear earlier. American boys were also wearing parkas in the 1970s, but not as school uniforms. There appear to be both a fish tail mod variety and an acrylic snorkel hooded version.
The reefer jacket was one of the most popular styles in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was often worn with sailor suits. HBC is uncertain as to wether it should be styled a jacket or coat. The reefer jacket and suit has quite a bit of history attached to it. Historians, however, disagree on its origins and HBC has yet to find a definitive account. We have acquired some information on this important account and eventually hope to provide a more definitive account.
After World War II, sking became an increasingly popular diversion in America and Europe. The brightly colored, but heavily padded jackets wioen by skiers began to become popular with children in the 1960s. These jackets are cut short so to leave the skiers legs as free and unencummbered as possible.
Boys have worn a wide variety of coats. Perhaps the most common is the overcoat, but other styles have been worn as well. The photographic record of 19th century coats and other outter garments is incomplete. Most photographs in the 19th century were portraits taken in photographic studios. For these portraits, mothers wold remove the coat so that the photograph would show the boy's often fancy suit. Information is available from other sources, but photographs are rare. The photographic record becomes must more comolete after the appearance of the Kodak Brownie and amateur snapshots in the 1900s.
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