The period of time from 1837 to 1901 is known as the Victorian Era in honour of Queen Victoria, England's longest-reigning monarch as of 2011. During the Victorian Era, about 30 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line, but the middle class was expanding. The wealthy and growing middle class paid a lot of attention to their clothes and to the clothes of their children.
Young girls in the Victorian Era wore clothing similar to their mothers and grandmothers; this was the norm for girls in the wealthy and middle classes until the late 19th century. Girls wore several layers of clothing. As underwear, they wore chemises that usually extended to the knees, as well as wool petticoats, stockings and garters. Girls in the Victorian era might also wear soft corsets. In the Victorian era they likely contained bone and were designed to make the waist look smaller.
Babies wore long dresses whether they were boys or girls. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Victorian parents enjoyed showing off their children, perhaps following the example of Queen Victoria, who had nine children. Babies wore white, though their white dresses might have decorations such as embroidery, depending on their social class. Wealthy and upper middle class Victorians wrapped babies in elaborate drapes and even dressed them in hats and other accessories when going out.
Victorian boys of the wealthy and middle classes wore dresses until the age of 3 or 4. Boys between the ages of 3 and 7 wore knickerbocker suits with full knickerbockers gathered at the knees, a frilly blouse and a jacket that buttoned only at the neck.
Older Boys Clothing
After the age of 7, a young boy might start to wear a tunic with short trousers or pantelletes. However, according to Historical Boys Clothing, long trousers with tunics were more likely