Clothing For The Young Boy
( Originally Published 1924 )
"AT FIRST THE INFANT"
CLOTHES have no sex distinction during the first year of a child's life. He is simply a "baby." But from the time the "baby" becomes a lad and begins to show his independence by standing and walking, there should be a masculine quality in his apparel. Altho his clothes may still have daintiness in fabric, they should be rather tailored in design, without feminine lace and frills.
Later he will probably wear Oliver Twist suits —plain trousers buttoned on to plain waists of like or contrasting material—or sailor suits of serge, blue linen, or heavy white drill. There are many styles for boys that are original and attractive and yet do not suggest a likeness to Lord Fauntleroy in his ruffles and long curls. Cotton poplin is much used for the very little boy. He may have initial belts, like Dad wears, or emblems like those of big brother in the Navy.
"THEN THE SCHOOL BOY"
The "Clothes that made young America free" are sturdy in material and loose and comfortable in construction.
Happy is the lad when he passes to the stage of real suits. This generally occurs when he enters school, and when he desires above all other things to avoid the opprobrium of "sissy." Tho mother sees her baby growing away from her tender care, she has no right to humiliate the lad by clothing him in fine raiment when rougher clothes are the accepted badge of the "gang." Many a boy has been branded with sensitiveness and lack of confidence, an inferiority complex, because mother would not let him "grow up." Certainly mothers, and fathers too, should not only enjoy their children but should help them to develop. If the other fellows wear stockings, the lad shouldn't have to wear what he terms "girl's socks." If corduroy trousers and flannel shirts and sweaters are the or-der of the day with a boy's companions, thus should he be clothed, If a mother has definite standards of dress to which she is determined to adhere, she should see that her boy associates with other boys whose mothers have the same ideas. Often one of the first thing which come between a boy and his mother is that question of clothes.
Let his clothes be harmonious in color, trig in line, and still be able to withstand hard wear. Then, "Johnny, do be careful of your clothes," will be unnecessary. Every boy should be taught to respect property, to avoid vandalism, but the legitimate wear on his clothes which comes from boyish activity should be expected,
The everyday suit of a boy is probably a Norfolk with patch pockets. It is made of herringbone, tweed, or some other durable rough-surfaced material. Careful tailoring, with the parts of greatest wear strongly reenforced, is worth paying for because of the prolongation of the life of the suit. There should be two pairs of trousers to be worn alternately, so that they will continue to match the coat which may fade with wearing.
With the school suit the blouse or shirt is soft and usually has an attached collar. English broad-cloth comes in plain colors which harmonize with the dominant color of the suit, as a tan shirt with brown tweed, a gray with a gray herringbone mixture. Striped madras or a good quality of percale answers all school needs.
Golf hose of wool or cotton-and-wool mixture ; brogan oxfords or heavy laced shoes of brown calfskin are neat, comfortable, and of iron-like endurance. A cap of cloth or a felt hat, toning in color but not matching the suit, will complete the school outfit, except the top coat which can carry out the general color plan. If the suit is brown, the top-coat should not be gray, but a harmonizing color. Boys like plaid mackinaws, coats of fleeced fabrics with plaid backs, or short suède or suèdine, or finished leather lined with sheepskin. Every boy should own a rain-coat and a rain-hat which are really waterproof.
A heavy wool sweater with matching knitted cap, an extra pair of heavy knickers for skating, a wool jersey with sleeves, white sleeveless jerseys and drill running pants, white wool socks and "sneakers" for the gymnasium, a one-piece wool bathing suit, a warm bathrobe and slippers, six suits of athletic underwear the same weight the year round, two dozen handkerchiefs, one half-dozen neckties, three extra pairs of inexpensive cuff-buttons—these are things the boy should have.
A navy-blue serge suit of fine cut and material is the dress-up regalia of a lad.. In season, cream wool or linen trousers would take the place of the blue ones. The blouse or shirt is of white broad-cloth or madras. The collar may be an Eton, usually with straight corners for the younger boys and starched double fold for the older lad.
The tie is a narrow four-in-hand. The colors may be more gay than those worn by men.
The shoes are patent leather ties ; the hose should be a good quality of black, long and ribbed.