Flat Caps: Accompanying Clothing

Figure 1.--American boys mostly wore knickers with flat caps. In Europe where flat caps were less common, the situation was more diverse. This boy who believe is Belgian wears a coat and short pants with his flat cap. The portrait is undated, but looks like the 1920s to us, the late 1920s or possibly the early 30s. Notice how the cap and coat match. Also notice the ribbon on his lapel. We are not sure what that represented.

The answer to the question of what was worn with these caps, the answwe in America is simple--knicker suits. These caps were wirn in the 1900s, but they were not by any sence dominant. We see many other caps in the 1900s. Thiss changed in the 1910s, the flat cap became the primary headwear of American boys. We not only do not see a lot of other caps, butwe see fewer boys wearing hats. The flat cap was not universal, it was, however, very dominant--especially with school age boys. And yhr other major fashion shift was that American boys began wearing knickers rather than knee pants. We do no see any particular association of flat caps and knickers in the 1900s, but we cerainly do in the 1910s. We are not sure why these shifts both occurred in the late-1900s and early-1910s, but the photigraphic record shows that they certainly did. And as a result the two garmnents became associated with each other. Because suits were still commonly worn in the 1910s, the association was with knicker suits. And we even see some suits with matching caps. But we also see boys wearing flat caps with just knicker pants as well. We see fewer suits in the 1920sm but flar caps and knickers were still commonly worn together. And both flat caps and knickers declining in popularity during the 1930s. Similar, but not identical trends were true in Canada. The situartion in Europe is muvch more complicated and varied from country to country. Basically because the flat cap was less pervasiselyvworn, we do not notice ant strong assoviartionwith particular garments. This was especially true of knickers because they were much less common than in America. We seem to see a number of Belgian boys wearing flar caps, often with short pants and knickers, but that is just a preliminary assessment.


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Created: 6:04 PM 10/22/2010
Last updated: 6:04 PM 10/22/2010