Boys' Vest (Waistcoat) Conventions: Worn without Suit Jackets--19th Century Trends

Figure 1.--We are not sure how vests were worn in the early-19th century, but we note boys wearing them withut jackets at mid-century. This Daguerreotype is a good example, but we are nor sure if it dates to the 1840s and 50s. note there is no neckwear.

As far as we can tell, the vest was primarily worn as part of a suit in the early-19th century. Without photography, however, it is difficult to know for sure. we do note boys wearing just vests in the earliest photographs--Daguerreotypes, at least in America (1840s-50s). We do not know if they were worn like this earlier. We suspect that they were worn like this earlier, but before photography this is hard to establish. Most of the examples we have found are Dags and Ambros !1840s-50s), we have found few CDVs which boys wearing just vests (1860s). Almost all the vests we note in the subsequent 19th cenury photographic record was worn as par of suits. We see boys wearing blouses and shirts and we see boys wearing suit jackets with and without vests. We rarely, however, see boys wearing vests without their suit jackets. We have noted a few portraits of boys just wearing their vests in the 19th century, but they are relatively rare. This may, however, reflect the rarity of informal snapshot like photographs before the appearance of the Brownie in 1900, but the formality of the age also has to be considered. We have noted very few in America. Our knowledge of other countries is more limited, but as far as we can tell was also relativly rare. This may have changed some what by the late 1890s. We do, however, see a few formal portraits of boys dressed up in vests without their suit jackets such as the boy here . Such images, however, are quite rare.


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Created: 4:40 AM 3/5/2014
Last updated: 4:40 AM 3/5/2014