Jamaican Smocks

Figure 1.--This English boy was photographed wearing a smock as play clothes in Kingston. The boy's name was Jim and he was 1 1/2 years old. He was photographed in 1891. Note his wide-brimmed straw hat.

HBC has little information on Jamaica, but one late-19th century image provides some insights. Jamaica is not a country that is normally known for boys wearing smocks. They are not widely worn for school as British style school uniforms are common, nor are they worn at home for play. Boys in thhe late 19th and early 20th century were dressed more more voluminously than is the case today. Jamaica was of course a British colony and images show that English boys living in Jamaica might wear a smock over their clothes and long stockings as a form of play clothes. This is esentially a reflection of English styles where boys might wear smocks at home. It was not as common as in France, but some English boys did wear them. Boys even wore long stockings with their smocks in Jamaica, following the English style--despite the much warmer Caribbean climate in Jamaica. This smock does not look to be a light-weight shift, but a rather heavy affair more suitable for England. I'm not sure what the material was. It is unclear wehat color this smock was. Some French boys wore brightly colored smocks, I'm not sure this was the case in England and colonies like Jamaica. The smock worn in this image is a very simple frock like garment. It is a back-buttoning smock without any collar.


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Created: September 22, 2000
Last updated: September 22, 2000