Little Lord Fauntleroy Kilt Suits: Ohio Boy (about 1890)


Figure 1.--Great care has to be taken with 19th century images of unknown provinance because boys can often be mistaken for girls. An e-Bay seller, for example, advertised this charming Ohio portarit as "a cute young girl". HBC believes this child was probably a boy who undoubtedly was the apple of his mother's eye. The portrait looks to have been taken about 1890. The boy was probably about 6 years old.

This Ohio boy probably about 1890 wears a Little Lord Fauntleroy kilt suit. Some observes believe that the child was a curl, but HBC believes several elements of tye child's outfit sugges that he is probably a boy. The classic Little Lord Fauntleroy suit of course worn with kneepants. Some mothers, however, were so enamored with the Fauntleroy look that they wanted to attire their younger sons who had not yet been breeched in the new Fauntleroy look. One option was a Fauntleroy jacket and blouse, but worn with a kilt or skirt. Some mothers also chose dresses with Fauntleroy styling. Often the skirts were referred to as kilts. Sometimes they were plaid skirts, but often they were just a palin darl skirt like this boy wears.

Chronology

The Funtleroy kilt style first appeared during the mid-1880s along with the Fauntlerou craze. As such we do not believe this was a 1885-86 image when the Fauntleroy suit. It took a little while for Fauntleroy kilts to appear. Thus we think a likerly date for this image would be the late 1880s or about 1890. The fancy Fauntleroy blouse rather than a pinned on collar and the lace rather than ruffled trim suggests that it probably was not the late 1890s or the turn of the century.

Individual

We do know the name of this child.

Age

The child looks to be about 5 or 6 years old.

Location

The photographic studio was Polles which was located in Mansfield, Ohio.

Garments

The child wears a standard Little Lord Fauntleroy kilt suit with the jacket and skirt matching. It dors not appear, however, to be a velvet outfit.

Jackets

This child's jacket is a standard small jacket without lapels worn open so the fancy blouse van be appreciated. The jacket is not as small as some of these jackets that HBC has noted. The jacket is trimmed in piping of a contrasting kight color. We are not sure what coklor the jacket is, but it clearly is not black.

Collar

Some of these outfits wre wrn with pinned on lace collar. This boy's collar, however looks to be part of a fancy blouse. Unlike many boys wearing Fauntleroy kilts, he does not wear a floppy bow with his lace collar.

Blouse

The boy wears a fancy Fauntleroy white blouse with lace trim. While a fancy blouse it is not as elaborate as some we have seen. The collar is rounded and extends just to the dhoulders. The collar trim is repeated at the wrist trim.

Kilt

While the skirts worn with these garments were commonlycalled kilts, many such as the one this child wore had little are no similarity with an actual kilt except that they were both skirted garments. This boy's kilt was not a plaid tartan, but rather the same solid color and material as the jacket. It also looks to be pleated akk around like a skirt and there is not front pannel like a true kilt. It is worn at a length below the knees.

Pantelettes

There is no indication that the child is wearing pantalettes, but it is possible that the below-the-knee length of the skirt covers them up.

Stockings

Like most American children boys, this child wears his Fauntleroy kilt with long black stockings.

Hair Styles

This child wears long ringlet curls, but as they fall at her back they are difficult to see. Often mothers will lay a ringle or twp on the child's shoulders so that they can be seen and admired, but this child's mother did not. The rather full bangs are a little usual . They looked to have been combed forwar d from the crown than forward of a substantial cernter part which was more common.

Gender

These Fauntleroy kilts should not be confused with dresses that have Fauntleroy styling. The fact that this is a Fauntleroy kil suit strongly suggests that the child is a boy. Girls in the 1980s usually wore dresses rather than skirts and blouses. In fact the jacket and kilt skirt is much plainer than a dress that would have normally been worn. The hair style also suggests a boy as from about 1880-1910, full ringlets like this in America were more common for boys with long hair than for girls. On addition, the child's shoes look a but heavier than often worn by little girls.





Christopher Wagner





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Created: December 1, 2001
Last updated: December 1, 2001