Here are some of my boys~ aren't they just the cutest? I have been airing out and resting some clothing, and thought they would like to show you a nice little time reference for how boys clothing styles changed consecutively in the mid 19th century. The littlest little man in pink is the earliest, 1830s....middle fellow is 1840s, and the sprout on the right is late 1850s. Such bright cheery colors! Today, I'll elaborate a bit on the little one in pink, as boys clothing is so very hard to come by~ much less saved than girls things
So this little fellow would be perhaps a 2 year old at most. Looking closely, there is gently, but thin wear on the knees showing these were definitely used for a crawler. (Never mind the shirt, it is late 1850s...but little one couldn't be half nekkid for his picture!)
Pink was actually a very common and popular color for boys in the 19thc. This little romper is especially precious and rare, because of the pink print cotton it is made from. Its just as bright and cunning today, as the day it was made~ no stains, and only one darn that I can find~ it can be seen on the back in the next picture, along with the added calico to make the straps longer.
This is a one piece suit in transition from the earlier skeleton types~ not quite an overall, but not a separate top & bottom either. The only fastenings are 2 buttons eachwaist side seam, to hold up the trouser parts. The back flap opening was pinned closed. This piece was altered in anticipation of much more use than it actually ended up with~ and with high mortality rates, this was, as I have said with so many other pieces, most likely a fond remembrance of a little angel gone home way too soon. On the inside, the added calico strapping is actually folded over 3 times and tacked in place, so it could have been let out ohhh...perhaps another 5 or 6 inches, but never were. The addition of the calico has not made these any longer than they were when originally made.
In this picture, to the upper left, you can see the inside straps folded over, and also the large gusset in the seat allowing for fullness here in sitting~ actually the same cut as 18th c trousers. I cant imagine trying to get a squirming little one in and out of these easily....there is a wonderful secret addition on the front crotch, where the center seam has been left open so the little fellow could relieve himself without having to take these off...........NO undies were worn with these.
This could have been worn just with a white shirt similar to the one you see it with, and I think most likely, it would have had a matching little jacket as well.
I love this back view~ what a perfect chubby little silhouette...cant you just imagine him crawling around on the floor, nosing into everything? Not to often are we gifted with an example of what a small boy would have worn just as he was going from dress into breeches. These do button rather high, higher than say, trousers would have. He would have worn these, and perhaps another larger set like this, then moved in to trousers like his Daddy wore, as he got older. I have never seen another suit like this one, ever.
An easy way to kind of judge quickly, at a glance, the age of boys pants, is looking at the waist length~ much like the height of the waist on girls dresses. The higher up they come on the chest, the earlier they are. Late 1700, early 1800s boys skeleton suits buttoned onto or stitched onto the pants at the level of the armpits. As we move later in the 19thc, so the waist of the pants goes down further to the natural waist~ weather fastened to a top, or made as a separate