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June 7, 2017

50 Vintage Portrait Photos Show What Children Wore in the Victorian Era

Life for children in Victorian era was nothing like childhood in today’s world. For the wealthy there was an overwhelming sense of boredom and the constant prodding to be proper and polite with very little parent to child communication. For the poor children life was much different. The poor children had to work public jobs for their families to survive. Toys were nothing more than homemade dolls or wooden blocks. On the other hand their family life was tighter knit and more loving.

The clothes make the man” is a phrase that probably could have been penned during the Victorian period. Victorian clothes were very much a symbol of the status and standard of living of the person. Children in the Victorian era usually wore huge bulky clothes to reveal the status of their parents and family.

The concept of sewing machines emerged only towards the end of the Victorian era. Until then there was no way at all of making cheap clothes. Most wealthy and middle-class children wore exquisite dresses designed by a dressmaker, unlike the poor children who wore tatty clothes and rags which were often discarded by the rich people and were handed down to the poor class.

The upper class wore rich tailor-made suits or frocks which were worn by them until they were beginning to show little traces of dirt. Then they were discarded as the fine outer garments could not be washed without spoiling them. Other clothes when showed the signs of wear were discarded and then were passed on to the poor class.

The discarded clothes were usually given to the servants, who wore them until they reached the next stage of decay and then the poor class would sell them to the street urchin who would wear clothes which were of no value. Good second-hand clothes commanded quite high prices.

(Images via Lisby's Flickr)


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