1920s Tomboy Hiking Suit


One of my latest acquisitions came by way of Instagram.  I know that some people think that social media is just for teenage girls to get themselves in trouble by posting nude photos of themselves, or for pictures of the neighbor’s cat, or for showing off your breakfast at Starbucks.  But I say it is what you make of it, and that includes scoping out items for my sportswear collection.

I couldn’t believe this knickers and vest set that was posted by @thegirlcantdance.  I contacted her and she sent more photos and a detailed condition report.  Even though I already have a linen knicker set, this one is khaki twill, and was less of a fashion piece than my “Fad of the Hour” set.  So I was thrilled to be able to add it to my collection.

The tern “tom boy” (or is it “tomboy”?) was already in common use by the early 1920s went this set was most likely made.  I love how the label name fits in perfectly with the idea of girl as garçonne.  A note about the label: Even though it reads “Trademark”, there is no evidence of this label on the US trademark database.  Those of you who were teens during the 1970s might remember a different label that was called Tomboy.

The knickers are fitted at the waist, without a waistband.  I mentioned in the comments a few days ago that you can generally tell female pants from male before the mid 1960s because the great majority of them have a side opening, whereas male pants have a front fly.

Some former owner had a small waist, and you can see the stitching where darts had been inserted.  The buttons had also been moved but I put them back in the original position so that the pants would hang properly.

I’m really happy that this was complete with the button belt.  So often the small pieces are missing.

I think it is interesting that although it was becoming acceptable for women to wear knickers, the manufacturer made sure to provide an over-vest that covered that crotch.

The knicker legs also close with buttons.

How much more do I have to say about knickers?  Al the present I’m pretty much finished with the topic.  But in the world of fashion history, one never knows when a new discovery will be made, so don’t be surprised if I revisit knickers again sometime.


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Collecting, Sportswear

6 responses to “1920s Tomboy Hiking Suit

  1. Ruth

    I’m with you on knickers, that is fad that should just fade into oblivion, along with several others I can think of. But I love the welted pockets! That’s the kind of waistline you had to have a perfect waist for, sooooo many years ago for me. I love the over vest too. I’d wear that today!


    • After moving the buttons back to the original spots, I realized that these were my size. For for fun I slipped them on. Oh, boy, but I can see why some people objected to them. It all has to do with the cut as I have another pair – same era – that are actually quite flattering!


  2. What a find! I adore this outfit. Especially the knickers! I’m also digging the handy-dandy pockets. I think knickers made a brief comeback around 2005. Yes, I’m guilty. I bought two pair. They looked great with tall boots. My Indiana Jones phase!

    Enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. the detailing – stitching all so “menswear” in the styling – the besom hip pocket …interesting to know where it was purchased…Bon Marche-Abercrombie? Certainly is a great example of the “necessity” for sportswear and realistic way of dressing !


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