Figure 1.--Photos like this are one of the best sources of information on family conventiojs concerning breeching. The lack of information about these portraits limits their use. All we know about this portrait is that it was taken in Tauton, Massachusetts. It looks like the 1880s to us and the boys almost surely are brothers. Looking at this portrait it looks to us that the boys were breeched at about 4-5 years of age.
We have not had a great success in finding written sources concerning the age for breeching. Conventions varied a great deal from family to family. There were no clearly accepted ages. We have not found written informtion in fashion magazines. One useful item is an illustration from The Youth's Companion". Unfortunately there does appear to have been an article associated with it.
We think that some information may exist in family correspondence, but such letters are very difficult to access. One of the most useful souces of informastion we have found is the photographic record. This is somewhat to use becase the children are often not identified and the age if the children is often not indicated. And additionally many portraits are not dated. Even so, the photographic record is a very useful tool in assessing age conventions over time. Here the images are a little tricky to use. Images of boys in dresses do not tell us when they were breeched, althoufg know at what age they worec dresses. Portraits of boys in trousers provide just the opposite information. The most useful portraits are the ones here with one boy not yet breeched and the other boy breeched. It gives us a reasonably good fix on wshen breeching occurred in this family.
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[The 16th-17th centuries] [The 18th century] [The 1800s] [The 1840s]
[The 1870s] [The 1880s] [The 1890s] [The 1900s]
[The 1910s] [The 1920s]
Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web dress pages:
[Return to the Main breeching age page]
[Return to the Individual boy breeching page]
[Pinafores] [Ringlet curls] [Smocks] [Bodice kilts] [Kilts]
[Fauntleroy dresses] [Sailor dresses] [Fancy dresses]
[Dresses: 16th-18th centuries] [Dresses: Early-Mid-19th century]
[Dresses: Late-19th century] [Dresses: Early 20th century]
[Difficult images] [Movie dresses]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Contributions]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Difficult images] [Essays] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]