Norfolk Jackets and Suits: Pants Types

Figure 1.--This studio portrait shows an unidentified American boy weaThe boy looks to be about 8 uears old. ring a Norfolk suit with knickers and black long stockings. Notice the large floppy bow, they were going out of style in the 1910s, but still worn to some extent. The portrait is undated, but the tured-down hat suggests the 1910s.

Norfolk suits were worn with a variety of pants or trousers durng the late-19th century and early-20th century. The type of pants changed both chronolohivally and by country. Norfolk jackets and suits were worn with knickers, knee pants, short pants and long pants. Knee pants ad knickers were the most important because the were the primsry type of psnts boyswore during the period tht Nofolk suits were most commonly worn. In the 19th century we see Norfolk suits with both knee pants and knickers. This varied from country to country. In Ameica we see mostly knee pants. In Europe we see knee pants and knickers-- knickerbockers to our British friends. The knickers were worn with long stockings and high-top shoes. After the turn of the 20th century thi begn to change. American boys at the end of the 1900s shifted from knee pants to knickers. Knickers were stanfard in the 1910s and 20s. The type of pants were a little more varied in Eutope. Knickers began declining in the 1930s as did Nirfolk jackets. The style of the Norflok jacket, except for the lapel, changed little overtime. The type of the pants or trousers with them, however, did change. We have just begun to assess the prevalence of different pants types over time.


The earliest Norfolk jackets were British and worn with knickers. They were blouced, bloomer like knickers and not the buckled knickers that appeared in the 1910s. The style crossed the Atlantic, but American boys motly wore straigh-leg knee pasbts. throughout the 19th century. I believe that the early blouced knickers were mostly worn in England, while the buckled knickers were mostly worn in America. A good example of jackets with laopels are two unidentified brothers, probably in the 1910s. Some American boys in the 1910s and early 1920s wore their knickers buckled above the knee, sometimes with knee socks.

Knee Pants

Knee pants and Norfolk suits to have been mostly an American style, at least in the 19th century. We see European boys wearing Norfolk jackets with knee pants as well, but knickers were much more common. We see them wearing knee pants with knicker jackets beginning in the 1870s. We continue to see American boys wearing Norfolk suits wih knee ants in the 1900s, but this chaged aruptly in the late-1900s. Ad by the 1910s knixkes were almost universal with Norfolk jckets. We no longer see american boys wearing knee pants with Norfolk jckets in the 1920s Te sutuatin in Europe was alittle mre varied.

Short Pants

Knee pants were popular in the 19th and early-20th century. We do not see alot of noys wearing short pnts until after world War I in the 1920s. Younger American boys might wear short pants suits, but Norfolk jackets were not all that common for younger boys. Here the Eton jacket was a more popular choice. I believe British boys did also beginning in the 1910s, but I'm unsure how common Norfolk suits were in comparison to other jacket styles. They were very popular in Germany and boys commonly wore them with short pants. espeially in the 1920, but we see them rrough the mid-30s as well. A good example is an German teenager in 1933.

Long Pants


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Created: 6:04 AM 5/24/2015
Last edited: 6:04 AM 5/24/2015