Early 20th Century Children's Costumes

Written by jessica daniel
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Early 20th Century Children's Costumes
Halloween in the early 20th century was a special occasion tailored for children. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The early 20th century in America was a time of masquerades and Halloween parties revolving around the children. Games were plenty and people of all classes celebrated the holiday. Looking back on the time period today, we can find inspiration in the costumes they made and the normal dress of the children of the time.

About Children's Costumes in the Early 20th Century

In the early 1900s, the costumes were generally handmade or handed down. Nature often inspired the costumes of the time period, and the decorations as well. A fascination with mysticism and other cultures were present in the costume selections of the day. Often, the costumes for children were one piece and baggy or flowing depending on the costume. Costumes for boys and girls were similar, with the embellishments sewn on creating the difference in costumes.

Imitating Early 20th Century Costumes

Making your own costume based on the ones of the early 1900s is the best way to imitate the costumes and be authentic. The handmade quality makes a unique costume that will set you apart from the crowd. A baggy jumpsuit pattern, similar to the ones of the times, can be used to transform your child into a witch or a clown, two popular selections for the times. A ghost costume was also a popular choice, taking the same pattern in white and adding a scary mask, handmade to resemble a typical ghost.

Girls Dress in the Early 20th Century

Girls frequently wore frocks over shirts with bloomers underneath. The frock, similar to dresses, were often colourful and embellished with ribbons and lace. Young girls would have wide collars attached to their dresses, matching the embellishments of the jumper. The occasion would dictate the fancy style of the dress. Everyday wear might be a simple jumper and shirt. A rise in sailor suits for children happened in the early to middle 20th century. The girl's sailor suit was a dress, mimicking the men's suits in style and cut.

Boys Dress in the Early 20th Century

Young boys fashion changed early in the 20th century. For a while, young boys wore dresses similar to girls. Boys began dressing like little men during this period of time. Suits were common, complete with ties. The trousers would often come to just below the knee with stockings covering the rest of the legs. The fashion of Little Lord Fauntleroy, a popular children's book of the times, became popular, as did sailor suits for boys.

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