Distinctive fashions for young people were not unique to the twentieth century. During the Victorian era a gradual increase in young workers' leisure time and disposable income laid the basis for an embryonic youth market, with cities in America and Europe seeing the development of mass-produced goods, entertainments, and fashions targeted at the young.
Young people also used fashion to mark out individual and collective identities. During the 1890s, for example, many working girls in urban America rejected conservative modes of feminine dress in favor of gaudy colors, fancy accessories, and skirts and dresses cut to accentuate their hips and thighs. Young working men also adopted distinctive styles. In the mid-nineteenth century, for instance, the Bowery area of New York City was home to dandified street toughs known as "B'hoys." According to the socialite Abraham Dayton, "These 'B'hoys' ... were the most consummate dandies of the day," and paraded the streets with lavishly greased front locks, broad-brimmed hats, turned-down shirt collars, black frock-coats with skirts below the knee, embroidered shirts, and "a profusion of jewelry as varied and costly as the b'hoy could procure" (Dayton, pp. 217-218).
Comparable fashions also appeared in Europe. For instance, in his autobiographical account of life in the British town of Salford, Robert Roberts recalled the gangs of young toughs known as "scuttlers" who, at the turn of the century, sported a trademark style of "union shirt, bell-bottomed trousers, heavy leather belt picked out in fancy designs with a large steel buckle, and thick, iron-shod clogs" (Roberts, p. 155).
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