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Farmers' Clothing

It can be difficult to determine a date based on the clothing of farmers in an historic image. Their clothing was functional, not fashionable, and changed little over the years. However, a few small details can be observed in the evolution of the farmer's attire that can give a relatively rough date. Below are several representative images of farmers from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century.

During the 19th century, sack coats (worn by the man on the left), button down shirts, and soft, felt hats, usually wide-brimmed, were frequently worn. The men in the image below, which dates from the 1860s, wear overalls, but they were not as commonly worn until around the 1890s.

1860s Farmers

1860s Farmers: Image courtesy of Joan L. Severa, Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900, 1995

What stands out in the late 19th century images below are the soft, felt hats and sack coats worn by most of the men.

Late 19<sup>th</sup> Century Farmers

Late 19th Century Farmers: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Williston Historical Society

Late 19<sup>th</sup> Century Farmers

Late 19th Century Farmers: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and Barry Doolan

Late 19<sup>th</sup> Century Farmers

Late 19th Century Farmers: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont Historical Society

The images below date from the early 20th century. Note the overalls and the pants held up by suspenders. The men all appear to wear button down shirts and soft, felt hats.

Early 20<sup>th</sup> Century Farmer

Early 20th Century Farmer: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and Shelburne Farms

Early 20<sup>th</sup> Century Farmer

Early 20th Century Farmer: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Williston Historical Society

Early 20<sup>th</sup> Century Farmers

Early 20th Century Farmers: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont Historical Society

What is most notable about the 1920s and 1930s era of farmer's clothing is the preference toward the flat caps worn by most of the men in the images below. The soft, felt hats of the previous decades were largely replaced. Otherwise, the clothing hasn't changed remarkably. The men in the images below wear a variety of outfits, including overalls, button down shirts, vests, and sweaters.

1920s-1930s Farmers

1920s-1930s Farmers: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Peterson Estate Collection

1920s-1930s Farmers

1920s-1930s Farmers: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Peterson Estate Collections

During the 1940s, the soft cap is still worn quite frequently, in addition to more modern wide-brimmed hats (worn by the man in the image directly below). The farming attire appears to become more casual, with jeans and short-sleeve shirt.

1940s Farmer

1940s Farmer: Image courtesy of the Library of Congress American Memory Collection and the Farm Security Administration

1940s Farmer

1940s Farmer: Image courtesy of the Library of Congress American Memory Collection and the Farm Security Administration

1940s Farmer

1940s Farmers: Image courtesy of the Library of Congress American Memory Collection and the Farm Security Administration

The 1950s ushered in the ball cap and the short jacket, both of which were worn by many farmers. Although many of the traditional outfits were still worn, such as overalls and button down shirts, blue jeans and short-sleeve t-shirts were frequently worn in warmer months.

1950s Farmer

1950s Farmer: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont State Archives

1950s Farmer

1950s Farmer: Image courtesy of the University of Vermont Landscape Change Program and the Vermont State Archives

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