Buster Brown Suits

Buster Brown suits were popular for younger children in the early 20th Century. Toddlers at that time often wore dresses or smocks. One of their first boyish suits was often a Buster Brown suit. It was a smock-like suit, but the smock was short showing bloomer pants worn above the knee with long over the knee stockings. Most Buster Brown suits wore worn with a broad white collar and large floppy bow sailor hat. These suits were worn by boys from about 5 to 8 years of age, but some mothers dressed older boys in them for a few additional years.

Buster Brown suits are modeled on the outfits worn by the boy in a popular comic strip which appeared in the early 1900s. The strip originally appeared in the Sunday comic pages during the Spring of 1902 and ran until the 1920's. Movies, comic books, hardcover books, etc., were all spinoffs ultimately from the 1904 licensing at the St. Louis World's Fair. The shoes are still being made! There are LOTS of Buster Brown collectibles--a listing of some of the books is in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide that you can read at most bookstores.

Hats worn with Buster Brown suits varied. The two most common were broad-brimmed sailor hats and flat topped cloth sailor caps, both worn with dangling ribbons.

Also associated with the suits were longish hair, either curls or Dutch Boy bangs. The Buster Brown in the comic strip was pictured wearing longish Dutch boy bangs.


Interview with Stan Lair (1902-1987) by Seventh Graders Missy Maciel and Kathy Young: 17 Jan 1980

Have the kids' dressing styles changed a lot?

Oh, yeah, sure. We used to wear... boys your age now would be wearing what we call "knickers," just below the knee, with long black cotton stockings, and then way before that they used something they called "Buster Brown suits," which were long frock-like things. I used to... I had one of those when I was a kid. (Laughs.)

Did the girls all wear dresses?

Yeah, they all had dresses, yep. Every one of them. And most of them had hair ribbons. The style then - they had braided hair, you know, they had hair ribbons tied in their hair, that sort of thing. (Laughs.)

Links: Careful these links will take you away from the Boys' Hictorical Clothing web site

Our Gang: The kids in the Our Gang and Little Rascals shows, especially in the 1920s showed the continuing influences of the popular Buster Brown suits

Christopher Wagner


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