Boys since the introduction of
and skeleton suits in
the 18th Century have worn long trouser suits. Long trouser suits of various
forms were common in the early 19th Century, although boys night wear
a lace collared tunic over long trousers before graduating to a proper
suit. After mid-Century knee pants became more common. American catalogs in the
1880s tended to show knee pants suits through 12 years of age and long
pants suit begining at 10 years of age. By the
end of the Century boys it was increasingly common for teenagers to
be dressed in knee pants suits. Many boys might spend many of their teen years in knee
pants. This varid greatly from family to family, but for teenage boys
in knee pants, receiving their first long pants suit became a major rite of passage.
This situation was commom in America, England, and Europe up to
the First World War. After the war, fashion standards became much more diverse.
Boys' pants or trousers through the 1920s had button closures.
The BFGoodrich Co. in 1924 registered the name "zipper," although
it would be a number of years before this closure was used in any
apparel other than overshoes, it would eventually repace buttons.
Eventually vitually all pabts would have zipper rather than button closures.
American boys after the War generally wore
knickers. Younger boys might wear shorts,
especially during the summer. Some wealthy families, especially those with British connections, might also choose
shorts for their boys. Another group which was more likely to
wear shorts were European
immigrants from countries where even older
boys commonly wore short pants and knee socks. American boys
through the 1930s, howver, most commonly wore knickers. Some
boys wore knickers to at least the first years of high school. In the 1920s even older boys might wear knickers,
sometimes through high school. Most boys
looked forward longingly to the day when they would get their first
long pants suit. After the 1930s long pants suits became increasingly
common. Younger boys and boys from more affuent familes might wear
short pants suits
, especially if they went to private chools. Most boys, however,
wore long pants suits. Americam public schools did not require uniforms and
then had no influence on wether boys wore shorts or longs.
English boys by the 1920s were almost uniformily outfitted in short pants, with
knee length shorts. Most boys, hower, receved a long pants suit in their early teens. Older
boys wore shorts, but this was usually their
school uniform and the school, not the parents,
insisted on shorts. Boys of all economic classes wore shorts. Wealthy boys when
they were young might be dressed in kilts or blouses with lace collars,
but in many cases they might get their first long pants suit earlier than boys of more
modest means. This is in part because less wealthy boys might not have a suit and
rather wore their school uniform for dress up ocassions.
earlier than poor or middle class boys.
European boys wore short pants suit much more commonly than British
and especially American boys. The choice to keep their sons in shorts, in many cases well
into their teens was the parents's choice. Wearing shorts on the cotinent had less to do with
schools than in Britain. Younger teenage boys on the Continent could be
seen which would never be the case in either Britain or the United
States. Much older boys could be seen in short
pants suits on the continent than in Britain. The length of shorts on the Continent
rapidly became shorter during the 1920s. By the 1930s-40s, Europen boys,
even older boys,
could be seen wearing much shorter shorts than British boys.
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