Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: Final Period (1915-1930s)

Figure 1.--Fauntleroy suits before the turn of the century were generaly worn with black stockings. After the turn of the century white stockings and knee socks worn with patent leather shoes (note the bows on the shoes) became more common. Note this boy has an elaborately ruffled collar, but no trim on the cuffs. Also note the large butons on the jacket and trim butons on the shorts.

Major fashion changes occurred in the aftermath of World War I. The classic Fauntleroy suit, like many other 19th Century styles disappeared in the aftermath of World War I. Some mothers continued dressing boys in Velvet suits. Perhaps a casualty of the Great War which destroyed the romantic inclination of the Edwardians. The elaborate lace collars disappeared, replaced by more modest, but still sometimes quite large, ruffled collars. Short pants gradually replaced knee pants. White socks or long white stockings became increasingly common. The white stockings seem more popular in America than Europe. Earlier we mostly see black or dark long stockings, especially in America. Less elaborate Fauntleroy suits continued into the 1920s, but with mostly with short, rather than pants. Mothers on the Continent, especially in France or Italy, began to chose shorter short pants for boys which were worn with Fauuntleroy-influenced frilly blouses, although not as elaborate as those worn during the height of the Fauntleroy craze in the late 19th Century. While such outfits were common in France and Itay, they were less common among less romantically inclined German mothers. The Fauntleroy outfits were often worn with white stockings or knee socks and black patent strap shoes. Although not so common, younger boys as late as the 1930s might be dressed in velvet suits and blouses with some Fauntleroy features. They were generally short pants suits and the fancy lace and velvet collars were replaced with simpler Peter Pan collars.

Decade Trends

World War I (1914-18) is a major dividing point in boys's fashions. The Fauntleroy suit which was still worn in the early 1910s, was much less common after the war and the early 1920s. I'm not sure precisely why this was. During the war, the rationing, the redirectiion of the economy to the war effort, and the need to focus on basic necesities probably made the extravegence nd formality of the Fauntleroy style seem almost unpatriotic given the plain utilitarian approach to fashion. Another dynamic may have been operative after the War. The horrors of the war changed the outlook of many. Probably the fancy Fauntleroy styled seemed old fashioned and frivelous. nd of course boys unless very young did not like it. Fauntleroy suits did not totaly disappear in the 1920s. Some boys still wore Fauntleroy suits or outfits with Fauntleroy touches, especially in the early-1920s. They were generally less elaborate suits. The ruffled collars worn in the 1910s began to disappear and were repaced with Peter Pan or other less frilly collars. Knee pants disappeared and were mostly replaced with short pants of various length. The Fauntleroy suit began to evolve in the 1920s into more modern suit styles, such as lapelless Eton suits for little boys. This processly was largely completed in the 1930s although we continue to see some Fauntleroy stylistic touches.

Figure 2.--This is a picture of child star Jacki Searl. I think the picture was taken about 1929-31. He wears a fancy pleated collar, shirt pants, black socks, and patent leather strap shoes.


The basic garments associated with the Fauntleroy suit changed significantly during this final period along with ovedrall fashion shofts. The classic Fauntleroy suit was always worn with a hat such as a wide brimmed sailor hat with an elastic chin strap and flowing streamer. Caps might be worn on less formal occasions. After World War I it became increasingly less common to wear hats with Fauntleroy suits and there is no single hat or cap style associated with the Fauntleroy style. Fauntleroy jackets in this late period were still made to be worn open like the classic Fautleroy jackets. The purpose of course was to show off the fancy blouses. Boys in the final period, however, especially by the 1920s were less likely to wear fancy blouses. The buttoned up or high collar jacket often worn with Edwardian Fauntleroy suits began to evolve into more modern-looking jackets with buttoning V jackets, but without lapels. Some jackets as late as the mid-1920s came with large buttons as a stylistic element. Gradually the suits evolved toward the lapelless Eton suits that boys began to wear in the late 1920s. The elaborate lace collar had disappeared after the turn of the century. The ruffled collars worn during the 1900s declined in popularity during the War. They were still worn by some boys. Commonly they were wide collars in varius shapes with ruffled edging. They might have matching sleeve wrist trim. These ruffled collars were still occasionally seen in the 1920s and even the 1930s. These frilly ruffled blouses, however, evolved into more modern looking styles such as the wide-white Peter Pan style. The most popular was the Peter Pan collar, but there were many other variations. Some collars with sharp pleated creases were worn. Large floppy bowsd and sashes were not nearly as common with Edwardian Fauntleroy suits as they were in the classic period. While open ruffled collars were not suitable for bows, even as closed Peter Pan collars increased in popularity, they were still not worn with bows. Knee pants were still commonly worn with Fauntleroy suits in the early 1910s before World WarvI. After the War knee pants rapidly disappeared and Fauntleroy suits were mostly worn with short, rather than kneepants. The earliest short pants were about the same length as kneepants. Mothers on the Continent, especially in France or Italy, began to chose shorter length shorts pants for boys. The white stockings and socks appearing after the turn of the century became increasingly common as part of the Fauntleroy outfit. Some boys wore their suits with black stockings or socks, but they were not nearly as common. Long stockings generally disappeared in the 1920s, but were still occasionally worn in the 1930s for very formal occasions. The white stockings or knee socks seemed especially child-like as such stockings were more commonly worn by girls. Patent leather strap shoes or dance pumps with bows were often worn with formal Fauntleroy suits in the 1920s, although this became somewhat less common in the 1930s.

Hair Styles

Boys wearing these Fautleroy suits during the 1910s and even the 1920s were unlikley to have the long curls common in the 1880s-90s, but they might have some bangs or somewhat longer hair than fashionable for boys of the time.

Style and Colors

The colored Fauntleroy suits of the classic Fauntleroy era were rarely seen during the final period. Most of the suits were black. Indeed the suits seem to have been more unifomaly black than the suits during the classic Fauntleroy phase.

Figure 3.--This 1932 French suit was described as a black velvet ceremonial suit. The blouse was white "crepe de chine", perhaps meaning satin. The add reads "patron de coupe" for boys 3-8 years of age. It was worn with strap shoes and long stockings rather than socks an

National Patterns

Mothers in America and Britain began to comminly choose other styles for a boy's dress suit. Mothers on the Continent, especially in France or Italy, still liked the Fauntleroy suit. They began to chose suits with shorter short pants for boys. Fancy bloses became popular fior younger boys in France, but were often worn wiyhout a jacket.


Increasingly by th 1930s the velvet Fauntleroy was less commonly worn as a dress suit and rather as a costume for a formal occasion such as for a page or ring bearer at a wedding. They were also increasingly worn only by boys from wealthy families. These suits were increasingly rare in America, but somewhat more common in Europe, especially France and Italy.

Individual Boys and Suits

HBC has posted many images to illustrate a particular garment or style. In many cases the Fauntleroy suits or other fancy velvet suits that the boys wear require to be analized in greater detail. We will look at some of those suits here.

1910s suit with long stockings

This American boy is pictures with his older sister reading a book of some kind. He wears an elegant black Fauntleroy suit with large white buttons, He has an, enormous ruffled collar, kneepants, long white stockings, and patent leather pumps. His sister has long curls, but no hair bow.

1920s suit with three-quarter stockings

This boy in the 1920s wears a velvet Fautleroy suit. The small jacket is worn open altough he wears a very plain blose and rather small floppy bow. He wears matching velvet shorts with three-quarter socks and strap shoes. He has a regular short hair cut. HBC believes this is an American image talen in the 1920s. His little sister wears a frock in the same balck velvet, but styled differently. They wear the same white socks, but different kinds of strap shoes.


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Created: April 11, 1999
Last updated: 14:03 AM 2/21/2017