What did boys wear during 1930s? Little boys from ages 3 to 5 were seen in casual play clothes of a one or two peice shorts and shirt set. In winter these were overalls plus a shirt and sweater. Boys continued to wear these combination suits up to age 10.
Long pants could be worn by boys as young as 6. Most young boys still work short pants called knickers or breeches, with tall golf socks until they ages into long pant suits in the teens years. More about 1930s teenage boys fashion.
Boys shirts were called blouses. They could be button down dress shirts or work shirts like their father’s, or casual knit polo shirts in summer.
Knitwear was the latest and greatest fashion for boys. Knitted sweaters, cardigan, knit jackets, and vests were very trendy and perfect for wiggle boys. Some athletic clothes such as sweatshirts with a Micky Mouse print were great for gym or home use.
Boys enjoyed playing dress up in costumes inspired by books and movie characters: Sailor, cowboy, rodeo star, baseball player, Indian (Native American) and pilot.
1930s Boys Fashion History
From Clothing the child, by Florence E. Young, 1935
Boys Ages 3-10
A mother’s problem in dressing her son is to preserve a sensible balance between her desire to keep him her “Baby” too long and his wish to grow up as quickly as possible. Sonny has definite ideas about every thing else.
One-piece cotton suits are still good. Then probably sonny won’t want those, but the two piece wool trousers with a belt and a blouse (shirt.)
Juniors button blouses can be as manly as desired and can be of the same shirting patterns as his dad’s, neat stripes, fine checks, or just solid colors. The button-down collar is both sporty and sensible. A pert bow tie is good.
Golf socks in ribbed weave are suitable for this group of boys. Because they are masculine, such socks keep the youngsters from feeling the need of long trousers.
Boys hats and caps – 8 panel flat caps were essential. A warm knit beanie for winter. A dressy fedora hat for church. Aviator style helmet caps were very trendy amoung boys as well as sailor caps.
Boys Ages 10-13
The not-s0-young one, chafing at knickers, is bought off for a while with a pair of slacks. Perhaps it comes hard to lot him have long trousers, but you can ease him into them by allowing a pair of slacks to be worn for special occasions with his knicker jacket, or sweater for sports. Boys are getting into long trousers much sooner than they used to.
While rules previously discussed apply to all garments, garments, some articles for the young man deserve special consideration. Shorts are good of cotton material and should be purchased by waist measure, while shirts or one-piece suits should be purchased by chest measure.
Mannish two-piece pajamas are welcomed by this group. The best cotton shirts are of broadcloth chambray, oxford cloth, and poplin.
Sweaters with a definite front and back and seams under the arms fit better than those knit straight around. This is true only of a slip-on sweater.
Trousers are purchased by waist measure and the cost by chest measure.
It is never to early to start a, boy’s taste off on the right track; up to this age that is the mother’s job, few tactful hints will do a world of good, and the young man will take better care of his clothes if he selects them himself.
More 1930s Fashion
Since most boys and men’s fashion were very similar you can 1930s men’s fashion for more information:
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.