Historically inspired young boy's suit, Portland, ca. 1895

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Historically inspired, this young boy’s silk velvet suit is reminiscent of a Revolutionary War-era officer’s coat, with a pulled back button and tab design. The faux, attached shirtwaist mimics vest styles worn during the late 18th century. Military-inspired clothing and the use of decorative buttons were popular design elements in women’s and children’s turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th) period fashions.

While inspired by the late-18th century, the suit includes short pants, a fashion which emerged about a century later. Short pants for young boys appeared during the mid-19th century, remaining popular into the 1940s—although more so in Europe than the United States. The length varied with style and age, longer for older boys, shorter for younger children.

The suit is associated with Neal Woodside Allen (1884-1976) a Portland antiques dealer, politician and civic leader. The suit was likely paired with a lace collar, attached via a knob at the back of the jacket neck. A related image of Allen wearing a similar suit demonstrates a family preference for the style, often called "Little Lord Fauntleroy" suits.

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About This Item

  • Title: Historically inspired young boy's suit, Portland, ca. 1895
  • Creation Date: circa 1895
  • Subject Date: circa 1895
  • Location: Portland, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: silk, cotton
  • Local Code: 1990.139
  • Collection: Costume collection
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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