A little red wagon (we are not sure if this one was red) was a basic
accoutrement of American boyhood. Every boy either had one or wanted
one. They very commonly appeared under the Christmas tree. Boys commonly
wore flat caps in the 1920s, no other cap even came close. Notice
how the cap here snapped to the brim. World War I resulted in many
fashion shifts, mostly toward a greater informality in dress. The
boy's shirt here is a good example of this. Open collars were much
less common before the War. In America they were called a sports collar,
similar to the German Schiller collar. Many garments made the transition
from the 1910s and chief among them were knickers. They were mostly
worn with black long stockings. Sneakers appeared in the 1910s, but
were not very common. They greatly increased in popularity during
the 1920s. The high-top style were common. Boys wore them for play,
but not commonly to school.
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Another example of the increasing informality in dress was a variety
of play suits. Some like the Oliver Twist suits were suitable for
informal dressy occasions. Other like coveralls were one-piece play
suits. This boys wear a two-piece button-play suit. The plain styling
shows that it was primarily a play suit. Short pants were not as popular
in America as they were in Europe. Often like the shorts the boy here
is wearing were quite long, as long as the knee pants that were more
popular earlier in the century. It was still very common for American
boys to go barefoot. This was not not necessarily a sign of poverty.
Many boys went barefoot which was not especially prevalent in the
South and rural areas in general.
This little boy wears a severely cut bangs hair style. Bangs were
widely worn by boys and girls. Severe cuts like this were most common
with pre-school boys. He wears a white play suit with a square cut
open collar. Again we see the popular wagon to cart around important
boyhood items. The wheels tell us that this was an older one. The
white stockings and strap shoes were more common for girls by the
1920s, but were also worn by some pre-school boys. We see tan-colored
long stockings beginning to replace black long stockings for younger
boys. Mother here has chosen white long stockings to go along with
his white play suit.
This boy is dressed very similarly to the first boy in the 1922 picture.
He has a flat cap, knickers, and black long stockings. The basic difference
is his shirt. Notice that he is wearing a shirt rather than a blouse.
Boys in the 1920s began asking mother for shirts rather than blouses
which they began to see as suitable only for girls or little boys.
These brothers wear flat caps with matching knicker suits. Notice
the single-breasted styling. (Norfolk styling which was popular in
the 1910s declined in popularity during the 1920s). The suits have
vests (waistcoats). They wear bowties which were declining in popularity,
but were still worn. Notice that they are wearing rather sporty knee
socks with their knicker suits. Knee socks were beginning to replace
long stockings by the late 1920s, although many younger boys continued
to wear them in the 30s. Both boys wear high-top shoes. They were
also being replaced with low-cut oxfords during the 20s.
This little boy wears bangs like his sister. He also wears a velvet
Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Notice the open cut-away jacket. Fauntleroy
suits went out of style after the turn-of-the 20th century. We still
see younger boys wearing them into the 1930s. He wears an Eton-style
collar. We begin to see ankle socks by the late-20s. And he also wears
low-cut oxfords, another popular style in the 20s. The girl wears
a dress. Most girls did in the 1920s, although we see some girls wearing
bloomer romper outfits for play and at camp. She is wearing tan long
stockings. Tan generally replaced black as the most popular colour
for long stockings.
Sailor suits were still worn in the 1920s, but they were more popular
for girls. We note girls of all ages wearing them - even high school
girls. They of course wore their middy blouses with skirts. They were
also a common gym uniform for girls, normally worn with bloomers.
Sailor suits were also worn by boys, mostly pre-school and younger
grade-school boys. The boy here seems to be wearing a red scarf with
his middy blouse. He is also wearing knee socks (which have fallen
down) with his short pants. Note the low-cut oxford shoes. In the
1930s high-top shoes generally went out of style for both boys and