What Clothes Did Victorian Children Wear?

Boys and girls of the Victorian era wore loose comfortable clothing made of cotton, wool, serge or calico. Nautical and Scottish themes were popular with both sexes.

During the Victorian era, the practice of dressing children like miniature adults gradually decreased. Children’s clothing became looser and more comfortable as washable cotton cloth became cheap to produce. Until age 4, both sexes dressed alike, and it was common for boys to wear skirts.

The young Prince of Wales influenced boy’s fashion. Kilts and other Scottish influences, such as tartan, came into vogue, popularized after the prince wore them in a portrait. When people regularly saw members of the British royal family in naval uniforms, sailor suits came into popularity. These outfits consisted of a white blouse with a square collar, knickers and a flat hat trimmed with ribbon. Victorian boys also wore knickerbocker suits, which consisted of short pants, a frilly white shirt and a collarless jacket, until age 10.

Victorian girls wore knee-length skirts under age 10. As they grew older, their skirts gradually lengthened, becoming floor length when they reached the age of 18. In a similar fashion to adults, girls had to wear crinolines or hoops and pantaloons. Aprons, smocks or pinafores kept dresses clean. Girls also adorned themselves with tartan patterns and sailor suits similar to boys, except girls wore skirts instead of knickers.