February 23, 2022
Early Children's Attire
Before the early-twentieth century, clothing worn by infants and young children shared a distinctive common feature-their clothing lacked sex distinction. The origins of this aspect of children's clothing stem from the sixteenth century, when European men and older boys began wearing doublets paired with breeches. Previously, both males and females of all ages (except for swaddled infants) had worn some type of gown, robe, or tunic. Once men began wearing bifurcated garments, however, male and female clothing became much more distinct. 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.