Kilt Suits: Gender


Figure 1.--HBC is not sure about this image. The date is probably the 1880s. It looks rather like kilt suit, although the kilt-skirt is a bit different than we have seen. Boys also wore ringlets at the time, although the center part was not common for boys. Click on the image for a detailed discussion.

HBC thought that the kilt suit was primarily a boys' outfit and that girls generally wore fancy dresses--especially for an important event like a portrait. HBC has, however, noted some images that appear to be girls wearing kiltsuits. HBC has not yet determined to what extent girls wore kilt suits, but is pursuing this question.

Boys

HBC thought that the kilt suit was primarily a boys' outfit. Certainly the vast majority of the children photographed in kilt suits were boys. From the l870s through the 1890s, the kilt suit was one of the primary outfits for younger boys, at least until they began school.

Girls

HBC believes that girls generally wore fancy dresses in the late 19th century--especially for an important event like a portrait. HBC has, however, has noted some images that appear to be girls wearing kiltsuits. Of course in the late 19th century it was not always easy to determine a child's gender from the clothing. HBC has not yet determined to what extent girls wore kilt suits, but is pursuing this question. Girls appear to have worn fancier kiltsuits then the often very plain suits worn by boys.

Specific Image

HBC thought that the kilt suit was primarily a boys' outfit and that girls generally wore fancy dresses--especially for an important event like a portrait. This is one factor which causes HBC to question the initial impression that the chil is a girl. The suit has elaborate piping. This was a popular style in the 1870s. Most of HBC's photographic images of kilt suits come from te 1880s and 90s when they were much plainer. If girls did wear kilt suits, they would have been more likely to have worn the fancier ones as pictured here.






HBC





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Created: January 6, 2001
Last updated: October 6, 2003