The 1920s cultural shift saw changes in the fashion styles of children’s clothes. Even though fashion for children was less influenced than for men or women, there was a shift towards clothing made specifically for them.
Before World War I
Children dressed much the same way as adults for centuries before World War I. Although shorter dresses for girls were introduced in the middle of the 19th century and sailor suit for men, clothing specifically for children was not popularized until much later.
The Roaring Twenties
In the 1920s, children’s clothing was designed with children in mind. The focus was on comfortable clothing so that children could play more freely. Clothing trends for children, men and women were influenced by the Roaring Twenties.
Comfort was maximized by clothing designers who used simpler styles. While many layers were worn for decades, a 1920s outfit could have just one layer of clothing over the underwear. In winter, clothing was kept simple with few layers. Common outfits were wool dresses with stockings, long knit underwear suits and a jacket and sweater over the top.
Fabrics that are durable and low-maintenance
Special occasions were reserved for silk, lace, and muslin used to make clothes for wealthy children. Children wore cotton and wool clothes in the 1920s. Knit jerseys, cardigans and serge skirts were common.
Wool and cotton were strong fabrics that could withstand the elements and withstand rough and tumble play. The kids could play and run as they wanted without worrying about their clothes. It was also an advantage for busy mothers to have clothes that did not require starching, washing, or pressing.
Styles for Children in the 1920s
Both children and adults have a new look in clothing. They are less formal and more practical. Both boys and girls saw styles change, but girls who wore restricted clothing for centuries benefited the most from the new trends.
Girls’ dresses were made from cotton and became shorter. They were often paired with light cardigans. Canvas was used for summer shoes, lighter than the Victorian-era hard boots. Winter saw girls wear a heavy sailor or serge suit with a sweater and matching beret. The long, knitted underwear was attached to the stockings and provided support. After centuries of long hair, many girls cut their hair shorter. The simple hairstyle was adorned with a ribbon or bow.
Knickers were worn by boys all year. These trousers became shorter over time, and boys could wear knickers, or knee-length trousers, throughout their adolescence. They wore ankle socks with sandals or canvas shoes in summer and heavy knee socks in winter. Many boys wore knitted pullovers and cardigans. They wore ties and jackets for school, but they were less strict than before. A sailor suit or velvet suit for special occasions may be appropriate. However, these suits were much more flexible than those of the Victorian era.
Where can I buy 1920s styles for children?
You and your kids might like 1920s style, or you may want to take them to a costume party. Many great online sources exist for vintage 1920s children’s clothing and reproductions. You can make your reproductions if you have a sewing machine and a good eye for detail.
Etsy has many sellers who sell vintage clothing for children. Many sellers also sell shoes and accessories.
- Twinkletots Vintage– You’ll find vintage clothing for both boys and girls at Twinkletots Vintage.
- Sweet Shop Vintage: Click on the Wear section at Sweet Shop Vintage to browse a variety of children’s clothing spans multiple eras.
- Baby shapes – You can browse vintage styles for children by age or size.
You’ll find a great selection of 1920s vintage clothing for children on eBay. You’ll find everything you need, whether you’re looking for a Baptismal cotton dress for a little girl or a boy’s Sailor suit or swimsuits.
Posh girl Boutique
This website features vintage clothing for children. There are adorable 1920s outfits available for children and babies, including baby bonnets.
Vintage Dancer is a website that reproduces 1920s-era children’s fashions. This website offers a great clearinghouse of links to items such as hats and dresses, skirts and sailor suits, as well as knickers from Nordstrom, Amazon and Brooks Brothers.
So, Vintage Patterns
Vintage Patterns offers a wide range of sewing patterns for children, men, and women. You can view page after page of vintage patterns dating back to multiple eras within the Children’s Vintage Designs category.
The Spirit of the Age
It is important to remember that fashions associated with Roaring Twenties, such as flapper dresses were only for adults and not for children. 1920s children’s clothes were a strong representation of the Victorian notion of the sacredness of childhood. As a girl would not wear lipstick or high heels, so too would she not wear the more open clothing worn by her older sisters. Childhood was a time for innocent play, and this view was expressed in the simple clothes of that era.