Clothes for Children in the 1920s

Written by catherine mezensky
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Clothes for Children in the 1920s
Children wore simple clothes in the 1920s. (Topical Press Agency/Valueline/Getty Images)

During the 1920s, children's fashion began to change. Previously, boys and girls dressed in many layers with lots of lace. Like adult clothes in the 1920s, children's outfits became simpler. Manufacturers used lots of light cotton fabric and reduced the lace trim. The knitting craze from World War I carried over, and children often wore homemade knitted jerseys and buttoned cardigans.

Clothes Worn by Both Boys and Girls

Children of both sexes wore certain styles. Mothers dressed babies in rompers with side snaps. Older children wore cloth coats and canvas shoes. The union suit was still the preferred undergarment and most children wore their hair short, though girls often wore big bows in theirs.

Sailor Suits

Both boys and girls wore sailor suits, a style inspired by the British naval uniform. British children first wore sailor suits in the mid-19th century, and the fad spread later to the U.S. Typically they were dark blue and made of cotton, wool, poplin or chambray. The girls' suits had skirts.

Boys' Clothing

In the 1920s boys' clothes became more modern. In earlier eras, boys mostly wore long stockings and shorts. This outfit evolved into short trousers and knee socks. The knicker suit was popular for boys in the 1920s. Trousers still had button closures for most of the decade, even though BFGoodrich patented the zipper in 1924. Boys switched to lace-up shoes instead of high-top boots. Cloth hats, particularly berets and brimmed caps, were popular.

Girls' Fashions

Lighter and more cheerful clothes came into style for girls. They wore light cotton dresses in flowered or striped prints. Some girls liked to wear pinafores. For school gym classes, girls donned a dress that had bloomers underneath. Besides union suits, girls wore slips, pantaloons or petticoats as undergarments. Like boys, they no longer wore lace-up boots but instead wore low shoes that laced or had buckles.


In the 1920s teenagers dressed much like adults but had their own fashion fads, too. They began to prefer short socks, which would later be called "bobby sox." Cardigans and V-neck sweaters were popular. Girls wore them layered over a white collared shirt, a gathered skirt, a tie and a beret. Like younger girls, they also wore cotton dresses.

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