Monday, November 16, 2009


Children's western wear became very popular in the 1940s and 1950s, due to the widespread appeal of cowboys such as Gene Autry, Dale Evans, and Roy Rogers. This fancy boys' ensemble, by Roy Rogers, features fringe, contrasting cuffs and yoke, embroidery, and a laced neckline. At this point in time, pink was still viewed as an acceptable color for boys, and singing television and film cowboys (and cowgirls) appeared in elaborate western ensembles in shades of lime green, red, and bright purple. A comparable girls' outfit of the time would most likely have included a skirt instead of pants.

Roy Rogers cowboy ensemble, c. 1950, Sage Costume Collection # 1978.116 AB.

Cowboy outfits could also be made at home, as shown in this 1949 home sewing pattern from the McCall Pattern Company.

McCall Pattern #1504, 1949, Sage Costume Collection # 2000.777.

Official Roy Rogers and Dale Evans cowboy gear could be purchased at Sears, as shown in this advertisement from the Sears Spring and Summer 1959 catalog.

Sears Spring and Summer catalog, 1959, page 452, Sage Costume Collection # 19.2232.

Acknowledgement of a child's need for play occurred in the 19th century, alongside the Victorian love of costume and fancy dress balls. Today, children are facilitated in their imaginative play by the wide range of costumes available to purchase, and it is not unusual to see children out in public wearing superhero, pirate and fairy ensembles long after Halloween. Did you have a favorite dress-up/costume ensemble as a child? Do your children enjoy dressing up on a daily basis?

1 comment:

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