Boy Dress Stylistic Features: Waistband and Back Bows

Figure 1.--Notice the large back bow clearly seen at the right. He also wears a neck bow. This dress looks almost like a smock, but I do not see any dress or blouse sleeves at the wrist. And a formal portrait would probably not been taken with the boy in a smock. This boy was American and he looks to be 7-8 years old. The image is undated, but HBC would guess it was taken in the 1870s. I'm not sure what he is holding, perhaps a top.

One stlistic alternative to a belt was a waistbands and back bow. Many girls' dresses had no notable waistband in front, but they were attached at the back and tied in a back bow. Soketimes the waistband was stylistically shown at the front, but not separated from the dress except in back. This was very common in the 20th century, we are less sure about these back bows during 19th century. This is in part because so many available images show only front views. While some boys wore dresses with back tieing bows, this style seems nore common for girls.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: January 19, 2002
Last updated: January 19, 2002