Country Garments

Figure 1.--

We initially linked the main country pages here, but we have sence realized that we should link the various country garment pages. It vwill take a while to make these links, but have now begun the process.


America, Latin


HBC at this time is only begining to obtain information on the garments worn by Argenine boys. Many Latin American countries have tropical or semi-tropical climates. Thus European clothing was often not appropriate. This was not the case of Argentina which has a more temperate climate. Thus we see Argentuine children wearing European styles more than many other Latin American countries. Argentine children generally followed the same styles and conventions as in Western Europe. Spain and Italy seem particularly important influences. Younger boys wore dresses. We do not note many boys wearing smocks except for school wear. Tunics seem to have been popular at the turn of the 20th century. We note that sailor suits, middy blouses, and kneepants suits. Suit style seem to have followed European styles. Boys seemed to have mostly worn socks rather than stickings. We do, however, note boys wearing long stockings for forml occassions. After World War I kneepants disappeared and Argentine boys began wearing short pants. After World War II long pants become more commom.

America, North


The climate in Canada has of course affected the clothing to a substantial extent warm coats and sweaters have been worn for much of the year. Canadian boys, howvever, wore the garments worn in England and France during the 19th century. After World War I, American fashions became increasingly common. We have little information on headwear, but suspect that cold weather hats were especially important. Suit in particular were primarily Bristish styles. Knickers were very common in the 1920s and 30s, but by the 1940s long pants became inceasingly important. Boys that wore short pants commonly wore them with kneesocks or even long stockings. Modern Canadian fashions are today little different than American fashions, although the summer clothes are somewhat less common because of the climate.

United States

The basic garments worn by American and European boys are fairly standard, caps, suits, jackets, sweaters, shirts, pants, hosiery, and shoes are fairly standard. The styles of these garments have of course widely varied over time and from country to country. Once striongly influenced by European fashions, American styled garments are now highly influential around the world. American blue jeans first penetrated the Iron Current years before American political and social ideas were able do so.



Japanese boys wore traditional in the 19th century. The Menji Resoration (1868) began a process of modernization in Japan, but boys for the most part wore traditional clothing in the late 19th and early 20 centuries. Girls were even slower to change. Japanese boys in the 20th century, especially after World War I (1914-18) have generally wore Western clothes. The transition to modern or Wstern garments was slower in rural areas than in the cities. Boys have, however, worn suits much less than American and European boys. Headwear has been different. Few Japanese boys have worn smocks, except for schoolwear. Boys wore a wide range of shirts. Casual "T"-shirts or other casual styles were very popular. Boys commonly wore short pants. Initially long baggy ones, but after Japan's defeat in World War II the European fashion of briefly cut shorts became very popular. Leather shoes have been worn much less than in Europe. Boys generally wore sneakers after World War II, except for very formal occasions.



Some of the styles most associated with Belgian boys are the French styles like smocks and berets. Younger boys wore dresses well into the 20th century. Tunics were a very popular style throughout the 19th century. Boys wore pantalettes with both dresses and tunics. Smocks were commonly worn to school in the late 19th centurty and early 20th century, but I am not sure how common they were as a non-school garment. Sailor suits became very popular in the late 19th century--even though Belgium havd no navy of any importance, Boys mostly wore kneepants in the late 19th century, but short pants became more common by the 1910s. As in France, smocks and berets appear to have quickly went out of fashion in the 1950s. Belgian boys also common wore short pants. Belgium is a very traditional country. Boys in Belgium continued to commonly wear shorts even after other boys in Europe were wearing long pants and jeans. Kneesocks were also commonly wornn by Belgian boys. Boys in siome private Catholic schools wore white kneesocks although I don't think that was common outside of school.


England has had a greater impact on boys' garments than any other country. Important boys' garments and styles developed in England. The prestige and importance of the English monarchy may well have played a major role here. An English monarch, Queen Victoria, popularized the Scottish kilt for boys. She also made the sailor suit into a boys' staple throughout Europe and North America. Other major boys' suit types like the Eton and Norfolk suit developed in England. English boys have worn kneepants, short pants, knickers, and long pants, although the chronology is somewhat different than in America. Some garments like short pants became almost associated with English boys--although they are not now commonly worn in England except during the summer and at a few schools. Boys coats around the world have been grearly influenced by English styles. Sweaters have been very popular in the often chilly English climate. Many important sweater types first appeared in England. Knee socks were commnly worn year round for school, play, leasure events, and formal wear. Sandals were more popular in England than any county and became a school staple.


French designers apparently focused primarily on women's fashions. Unlike neigboring England, they do not appear to have created a lot of new boy's garments. They do, however, seem to have thought of many embelishments for existing styles. Younger French boys like other European boys wore dresses. One garment which did become destintly French was the smock--especially the school smock. Fancy suits for boys were in fact the inspiration for the American Little Lord Faintleroy suit. French boys began wearing short pants in the 1900s and they rapidly replaced the kneepants that boys had been wearing since the mid-19th century. The beret has to be the most versitile head gear in history. What other head gear has been wore by little boys and girls, elite soldiers, scruffy Cuban revolutionariers, boy and girl scouts, shepards, a president's nemesis, and many others more. The beret is another garment commonly associate with France. French boys commonly wore strap shoes, but this was primarily with dressy outfits. I am not sure when boys began to wear closed toe sandals for casual wear.


Some basic information is available on the garments worn by German boys. HBC has at this time very limited information on 19th century bGerman boys' clothes. German boys do not seem to have worn Fauntleroy suits as much as boys in Frace and other neighboring countries. The garment most widely associated with German boys is lederhosen, but they are no longer commonly worn. Perhaps no other garment was more commonly worn by German boys as sailor suits. Like English boys, German boys never wore smocks to any great extent as was th case in France, Italy, and several other European countries. German boys commonly wore short pants in the early and mid-20th century like many other European boys. Kneesocks were common and boys wore white kneesocks on dress occasions. Many boys wore shorts year round. Long stockings were worn with shorts during the winter months.


We have begun to collect some basic information on the various garments worn by Italian boys. Younger Italian boys, like other European and American boys, used to wear dresses. Smocks were commonly worn by Italian boys, especially for schoolwear. They are still worn at some schools. Rompers were also popular in Italy. We believe Little Lord Fauntleroy and other fancy suits were popular in Italy during the late 19th and early 20th Century. Unfortunately at this time I have little real information on the popularity of this style in Italy. One of the most common outfits for Italian boys were sailor suits. I have few details, however, on the particular styles of Italian sailor suits. Based on images of Italian immigrants during the late 19th and early of the 20th Centuries, many of the styles were quite traditional. Italian boys have worn kneepants, long pants, knickers, and short pants. Short pants were very commonly worn by Italian boys through much of the 20th century. Jeans began to appear in Italy during the 1960s, a decade that saw substantial changes in Italian boys clothes. Italy today is renowed for its fashionable footwear. Italy until recently, however, has been a poor country. Poverty was especially severe in southern Italy. In these areas it was very common for children to go barefoot, even to school.


HBC at this time is only begining to obtain information on the garments worn by Russian boys. As in Western Europe, younger boys wore dresses, although social and economic factors significantly affected the clothes actually worn by Russian boys. We note that sailor caps, middy blouses, with kneepants and long stockings were common. The Tsarevitch's sailor suits must have helped make the style very popular, although except as a very young boy he mostly wore long pants sailor suirts. After World War I kneepants disappeared and Russian boys began wearing long pants. Short pants were also worn, often with long stockings. We also note Russian boys wearing Russain blouses and baggy pants. While long stockings were common for decades, Russian boys wore tights during the 1970s. We habe not yet developed information on Russian footwear, but note that boys in rural areas commonly went barefoot when the weather was warm enough. Russian boys clothes began to change in the 1960s. The Iron Curtain could not keep out Western youth culture, although those trends did lag chronolgically. By the 1970s Soviet boys were wearing jeans and short pants during the summer, although there were unifirms for school.


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Created: 7:48 AM 5/25/2011
7:48 AM 5/25/20119:28 PM 4/23/2010