This mid 1840 daguerreotype shows the Dennis Brothers and their sister quietly figuring a cypher on their slate. This is an English Dag, but plaids and stripes were just as en vogue here in America. At the in between time between being young enough for an all out dress & leggings, and old enough for a miniature version of their father's suit, boys wore what is called a tunic over breeches. This was a close fitting top with either long or short sleeves, with an attached band of skirting that hung about half way down between the waist and knees. Both types can be seen above~ both straight flat front, and with a front that is gathered up into a yoke just under the collar bone, like alot of the dresses we see from this period.
This boys tunic is made for winter wear, as it is fully wadded in both the chest and skirting, as well as full length of the arms. This would fit a boy, depending on build, of about 5-7 years old. The outer silk is tissue thin and woven in differing black & grey vertical stripes. There are 3 bands of black velvet at the cuffs, a narrow passementerie trim around the skirting only, and a false ecru velvet collar.
The skirting is gathered to the bodice, which makes me date this piece to late 1840's, as earlier examples would have been pleated. It is obvious from the wadding that this was worn in cold weather, but other than that, I could suppose it would be hard to imagine how it actually looked when worn, so I have dug around and found a daguerreotype with a little chap wearing a nearly identical one, in cut~ the pattern of his fabric is a bold plaid
This is a closer view of the false collar. The velvet is actually carefully pieced from 8 different little scraps. It has been layed over the silk, and carefully stitched on, then the whole neck has been bound over in matching stripe silk. It must have been THE latest fashion, an important trim to add, why not just leave it plain? Velvet like this, showed a person the wearer had status