HistoryWired About the Program Help Comments Smithsonian Institution
Back to Map

Enlarge

Boy's Sailor Suit
1908

"pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy"
Sailor suits like this white-cotton two-piece have long been favorites for young boys to wear. Although today we associate sailor suits with blue, they have been popular at different times in a variety of colors. This suit, for example, has pink trimmings and dates from the early 1900s, a time when Americans did not yet associate pink with femininity and blue with masculinity. Such "color coding" of infants did not become widespread until after World War II. The following 1918 quote from "Infant's Department" shows just how much our attitudes about the proper colors for clothing boys and girls have changed: "...the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. The reason is that pink being a more decided and stronger color is more suitable for the boy; while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."

Notes
Web display only

Learn more!
· Children's Fashion, pre-1900

What do you think?
Would you like to see more objects like this on the site? Tell others by casting your vote.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Fewer More


Start HistoryWired | About the Program | Help | Comments

Smithsonian Institution | Terms of Use | Privacy