In past centuries, children's clothing
was often just a scaled-down version
of adult's fashions.
Even in the 19th century, children's
clothing (especially girl's) often
resembled adults' clothing. The older
the child, the more the clothing was
like an adult's clothing.
These children are from an 1841
Godey's Lady's Book fashion plate.
The little boy is wearing a green silk
coat. The little girl in the center is
wearing a white cotton dress. She had
mitts (fingerless gloves) on her hands,
and her hair is braided and then looped
under her ears. You can see her
pantalettes (long under-drawers)
showing under her skirt.
Today, many little girls wear pants. In
the 19th century, little boys often wore
skirts, (often called kilts or aprons)
until they were around four years old.
The little boy on the far right is wearing
a "dress" over white pants.
Sometimes it's hard to tell if a child in
an old photo is a boy or a girl. If in
doubt, look at the hair. Usually a little
boy's hair will be parted on the side
and a little girl's will be parted in the
center. Also, often a child is carrying a
toy that will help. Boys often carry
whips or tops. Girls might have a doll
or a kitten.
These clothes are from around
1858. The little girls' skirts are very
large and both boys and girls wear
decorative white undersleeves.