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Vintage Children Fashions That Were All The Rage During Each Decade

Sailor suits in the 1910s, whoopee caps in the 1920s, woolen bathing suits in the 1930s, and Peter-Pan collars in the 1950s. These were just some of the weird and wonderful fashions that sprung up during the decades of the 20th century. We’ve identified 40 vintage fashions across the years from the 1910s to the 1970s, so read on to immerse yourself in some truly fabulous fashion nostalgia.

1910s — Smocks

Back in the early days of the 20th century little boys wore smocks. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the garments in question were quite often bedecked with ruffles. But a revolution came along around 1910. Before that, smocks and other children’s clothes were almost universally white, the color of innocence. But then parents apparently discovered color and realized that kids didn’t have to resemble ghosts.

1910s — Gingham

By the second decade of the 20th century fabrics for girls’ clothing were beginning to change. Previously muslin had predominated, but now more robust fabrics such as gingham were becoming commonplace. This was a boon for girls, since muslin was a notoriously fragile cloth that tore all too easily. Stronger cotton fabrics meant girls could enjoy active play with much greater freedom.

1910s — Sailor suits

A century ago, being dressed up in nautical gear did not necessarily mean that you enjoyed a life on the ocean waves. That’s because sailor suits were the height of fashion for children back then. Mostly it was young boys that wore clothes mimicking what adult mariners wore. But not exclusively so: in some cases girls got in on the act as well.

1910s — Short hair and ribbons

Long flowing hair for girls had been the order of the day in Victorian times, but change was afoot as the 20th century progressed. Now girls began to tie up their hair with ribbons. Many young girls also started to wear their hair in shorter styles. Ribbons paired with shorter haircuts became widespread: much more practical than the long tresses favored by their predecessors.