Dating victorian costume

A new type of transitional attire, specifically designed for small boys between the ages of three and seven, began to be worn about 1780.

These outfits, called "skeleton suits" because they fit close to the body, consisted of ankle-length trousers buttoned onto a short jacket worn over a shirt with a wide collar edged in ruffles.

Clothing plays an integral role of the "look" of childhood in every era.

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The age of breeching varied, depending on parental choice and the boy's maturity, which was defined as how masculine he appeared and acted.

Breeches were reserved for men and older boys, while the members of society most subordinate to men-all females and the youngest boys-continued to wear skirted garments.

To modern eyes, it may appear that when little boys of the past were attired in skirts or dresses, they were dressed "like girls," but to their contemporaries, boys and girls were simply dressed alike in clothing appropriate for small children.

Until the 1770s, when little boys were breeched, they essentially went from the petticoats of childhood into the adult male clothing appropriate for their station in life.

Although boys were still breeched by about six or seven during the 1770s, they now began to wear somewhat more relaxed versions of adult clothing- looser-cut coats and open-necked shirts with ruffled collars-until their early teen years.

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