Long Pants Suits: Country Trends

German long pants suit
Figure 1.--Thes Germans boys were photographed in Allenstein about the turn of the 20th century. The younger brother wears knee pants while his older brother wears long pants, a common convention at the time.

There was great similarity with the styling of suit jackets from country to country. For some reasoin there was more differentition with the pants worn with these jackets. These differences varied over time. At times the pants or trousers were quite similar. At other times there were substantial differences. There seems to be substantial similarity in the mid-19th century. By the turn of the 20h century we see many European boys wearing bloomer knickers wjile American boys commonly wore knee pants. Even older American boys wore knee pants which was not very common in Europe. By the 1930s boys in America often wore knickers while short onts were more common. By the 1o50s American boys usually wore long pants hile short pants were common in Ameica, By the 1960s long pants had begin to become common in Europe as well.


American boys after the War generally wore knickers. Younger boys might wear shorts, especially during the summer. Some wealthy families, especially those with British connections, might also choose shorts for their boys. Another group which was more likely to wear shorts were European immigrants from countries where even older boys commonly wore short pants and knee socks. American boys through the 1930s, howver, most commonly wore knickers. Some boys wore knickers to at least the first years of high school. In the 1920s even older boys might wear knickers, sometimes through high school. Most boys looked forward longingly to the day when they would get their first long pants suit. After the 1930s long pants suits became increasingly common. Younger boys and boys from more affuent familes might wear short pants suits, especially if they went to private chools. Most boys, however, wore long pants suits. Americam public schools did not require uniforms and then had no influence on wether boys wore shorts or longs.


English boys by the 1920s were almost uniformily outfitted in short pants, with knee length shorts. Most boys, hower, receved a long pants suit in their early teens. Older boys wore shorts, but this was usually their school uniform and the school, not the parents, insisted on shorts. Boys of all economic classes wore shorts. Wealthy boys when they were young might be dressed in kilts or blouses with lace collars, but in many cases they might get their first long pants suit earlier than boys of more modest means. This is in part because less wealthy boys might not have a suit and rather wore their school uniform for dress up ocassions. earlier than poor or middle class boys.


French boys wore short pants suit much more commonly than British and especially American boys. The choice to keep their sons in shorts, in many cases well into their teens was the parents's choice. Wearing shorts on the cotinent had less to do with schools than in Britain. Younger teenage boys on the Continent could be seen which would never be the case in either Britain or the United States. Much older boys could be seen in short pants suits on the continent than in Britain. The length of shorts on the Continent rapidly became shorter during the 1920s. By the 1930s-40s, French boys, even older boys, could be seen wearing much shorter shorts than British boys.


HBC does not yet have sufficent informaiion to assess long pants suits in Germany. Long pants were quite common in the 19th century even for younger boys. A good example is a Poznan boy in the 1860s. This began to substantially change in the 1890s.


HBC does not yet have sufficent informaiion to assess long pants suits in Italy.


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Created: 5:12 AM 5/12/2007
Last edited: 5:13 AM 5/12/2007