Prior to 1800, children were simply thought of as "little adults" in regard to clothing attire. Their clothing was a miniature version of adult society. As with adult fashion, direction was initiated in Europe and was further influenced by the parents' status in society. By the mid-1800s, boys and girls both wore simple dresses and, by 1858, pantalets became the choice of children's dress. During the nineteenth century, girls were wearing empire dresses. Simply shaped, the only definition to define the body was a sash at the high waist. The empire dress was often worn over short pants and aprons and became a practical means of protecting a little girl's dress. Boys in this period wore trousers with buttoned-fly fronts, wide-sleeved shirts, and suspenders. The multi-use bandana was worn by boys of all social classes. Joseph Courts, the inventor of the tape measure, created children's size specifications in 1850, resulting in better fitting garments. It was during the mid-nineteenth century that the school uniform was born, adopting the Eton suit which dated back to the Eton Charity School, England, in 1440. By 1798, Eton was a secondary school for upper class boys. In 1900, Sears, Roebuck and Company began designing clothing for children of less affluence. Children's clothing design was building up momentum; the August 15, 1918, issue of Vogue featured children's clothing for the first time. Childrenswear departments opened in May and Macy's department stores in the 1920s. Earnshaw's magazine focused on Japan and the Philippines in its July 1931 issue, as a source of affordable European fashion looks. Just as World War II changed American fashion for women, so too did this time period have an affect on childrenswear design. Cartoon characters and child Hollywood idols played a key role in design direction. Gender expectations influenced "proper" design elements in the 1950s and, by the 1980s, children themselves were dictating fashion choices. The end of the twentieth century brought a mirror image of the adult market of fashion to childrenswear. Branding, licensed products, and designer lines drove the market. Previously "gender-appropriate" colors became nonexistent and the industry recognized the positive business opportunities in both apparel and related children's products.
   See also Fashion magazines.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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