A history of kids clothing

Kids clothing, a true industry in the late two centuries, was barely a preoccupation back in the days.Clothing worn by children used to be all about monotone color schemes and lack of sex distinction.

Depending on the social status, the clothes were made by their own mothers or ordered from seamstresses. Between mid-16th centuries until late 19th century, both boys and girls were dressed in skirts, gowns or doublets. Under the dresses, boys and girls were given pantalets or pantaloons as they were called. Between the age of two and eight, boys were considered old enough to start wearing breeches or trousers.

Until 18th century, swaddling infants, a practice believed to date back in Paleolithic, was commonly used by parents in America and Europe. Parents started to give up this habit by 1800 when doctors were concerned that it was bad for babies. As soon as children, boys or girls, started to walk or crawl they wore dresses up to their foot. But once the boys were considered old enough to have responsibilities they were given trousers, vests and coats. The girls’ garments didn’t change much during this time. A girl wore skirts or dresses both in private and public spaces. By 1940s girls were allowed to wear pants only as play clothes.

Most of the outfits that children above age of 6-7 used to wear were a scaled-down version of adults clothing. 19th century is the beginning of a new era in fashion for kids. New garments designed for them appear on the market. Changes in children clothes designs were influenced by medicine and research concerning child development stages. This is the era of rompers, jumping suits and a start for what we know today as body suits, the most popular item of clothing for children. Goodbye traditional white baby clothing, hello colors, patterns, solid colors floral and animal patterns!

Boys wear blue and girls wear pink. It’s the norm nowadays, although nowadays parents tend to ignore gender association. Several articles and publications from 1939-1940 show that these two colors used for children clothing were standardized by manufacturers and retailers and it was the beginning of gender association. The trend lasted until 1960 -1970 when the women liberalization movement insisted on gender neutrality and manufacturers had to accept the change. The result: most of the baby girls outfits had a masculine touch. 1980 brings new discovery in the medical field and with parents now having the possibility to find out the baby’s sex before birth, the children wear industry explodes.

Nowdays, you can find a lot of types of children clothes on stores and on the internet with just a click away. Fine times.

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