#1784 $975 Reserved
Boy's wool suit, c.1870
In the Victorian world, little boys under age six often wore skirts. In The Butterick Pattern Catalog of 1873, I found patterns (costing 20 cents) for boy's kilt-style suits identical in style to this one. The picture below from Harper's Bazar (1871) shows suitable attire for a little boy 3-5 years old.
The suit is fashioned from navy wool—the pictures were lightened to show the detail. The suit is decorated with bands of woven black trim and textured silk buttons, which miraculously are intact. The kilted skirt slips over the head with no closure and buttons to the shirt. The white cotton shirt has a wide collar, front pleats, and ruffles.
This delightful boy's suit is a fascinating remnant of our cultural history. Even as late as 1870, it was still considered proper for an upper (middle) class boy to be dressed in a skirt. But as America approached the 20th century, this was seen less and less. As a newly muscular emerging world power, the United States perhaps felt less comfortable with a feminine image for boys.
The suit is very well made. It has no label—perhaps a mother or a professional seamstress made it from a Butterick pattern. The shirt has the label "4Trade Mark."
The suit was purchased from a Connecticut auction approximately 6 years ago.
The condition is almost excellent. There are a few small holes in the skirt.
The suit is approximately size 4-5.