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A Girl's Clothing at 1900

A girl's clothing was simpler and less tight fitting than her mother's. Once she reached her early teens she began to dress in a more adult fashion. Around the age of twelve the hem of her dress would begin to be lower so that by the age of 16 it might be at her ankle and then a few years later her hem would reach to the floor.

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girl wearing white cotton sleeveless undershirt, baggy white cotton knee-length drawers and black stockings held up at the knee with garters.


Drawers were like underpants. This girl wears split drawers to make the trip to the outhouse quicker and easier.


This is an undershirt or under vest. In cooler weather a girl might wear a knitted vest of cotton.


Girls and women wore stockings. Pantyhose and tights had not been invented yet, and socks were regarded as a men's garment. A girl wore stockings of wool, cotton, or silk, depending upon the weather and the occasion. Stockings came up above the knee and were held in place with garters.


Stockings had no elastic at the top and one needed garters to hold them up. These garters are made of crocheted cotton laced with elastic and silk ribbon.

Foundation Garments

girl wearing wide white hair ribbon tied in a bow at the back of her head, white cotton corset over a white cotton slip and black shoes that tie with a bow over the instep.


A chemise is a slip. This one is made of cotton and fastens at the shoulder with buttons.


Girls' and women's shoes had moderately high heels and pointed toes. They might slip on, button or lace and come above or below the ankle.


A girl's corset provided support and guaranteed good posture. It would be stiffened inside with "boning" made of narrow strips of steel. It hooked up the front and laced up the back. Corsets could be uncomfortably tight, but by the end of the nineteenth century more comfortable "sensible" stays were very popular. It would not be appropriate for a girl to wear a colored corset.


A girl might wear her hair down or tied back with a ribbon as shown here. When she became an adult, she would wear her hair pinned up.

Daily Garments

girl wearing medium-blue sailor style dress with three quarter length sleeves.


Girls' dresses were usually simpler than their mothers' dresses. They were long enough to cover the knee but not the ankle. This girl wears a dress appropriate for a schoolgirl.

close up of gold, dangling earrings


Earrings in this period were made for pierced ears. The simple gold earrings worn by this girl are appropriate for her young age.

Outer Garments

girl wearing black straw boater, black knee length coat, white gloves and holding schoolbooks bound with a strap

view of the back of the coat showing ribbon trim


This coat is made of wool and hooks up the front.


Gloves were considered a necessary part of a woman or young woman's outer wear. They could be heavy and warm for cold weather, or of fine leather or cloth when being worn as a matter of fashionable custom rather than protection from the elements.

School Books

This girl's schoolbooks are bundled together with a strap for carrying them.

close up of hat showing black ribbon band and white ostrich feather decoration


Hats were a necessary part of outer wear for men, women and children. Having a suntan was not considered stylish! This girl wears a straw boater decorated with a bow and an ostrich feather.

See Also...

"On the Way To School"

Deerfield Grammar School Class

Janet Russell (1886-1981) and William Russell


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