Real Thanksgiving Tradition Is Letting Boys Wear Dresses

Now that you know what to feed the kids for Thanksgiving, I'd like to chime in with some outlandish but awesome suggestions for how to dress them.

Though it was already a tradition in a lot places, the real national holiday came after Abe Lincoln's proclamation of Thanksgiving in 1863. I've long wanted to serve the Thanksgiving dinner Lincoln ate with soldiers during the war, yet for some reason my family and friends don't want to have canned oysters and hardtack for our feast. Closed-minded jerks.

But why not dress your toddlers in an authentic unisex gown from the era like this one? It makes me wish I still had one. A toddler, not a unisex gown. Well both, actually.

I've talked before -- inspired by Shiloh Jolie-Pitt -- about how dressing preschool-aged boys and girls different is a totally modern invention.


Sarah Jane is a blogger who is dedicated to the recreation of bygone fashions -- she keeps it real, 19th-century real -- putting in the work and everything and dressing her little boys in gowns you might find too frilly for your little girls.

While Sarah Jane and I would have nothing but extremely awkward exchanges over the Thanksgiving table, I think her aesthetic, in clothes and words, is amazing:

I am a wife to a Beloved Husband, mother to three precious little boys, an eager student of Cookery, Sewing, Making a Pleasant Home, and Living a Godly Life. I am an attempted writer, sometimes poet, sometimes singer, lover of Beauty, lover of Song ...

Actually, I take it back, we might have some things to talk about. I'm about half of those things.

She gives a great step-by-step on how to make that toddler gown, with an opening explanation you're unlikely to find on Etsy:

This is one of my all time favorite styles to make for my little boys for Civil War reenacting. The style goes together very quickly and it is easy to adjust to their figures and comfortable to wear.

And if you still have anxiety about putting your boys in a dress, are your sensibilities really more conservative than those of 1863?

This style is suitable for babies and little boys until they are "breeched" and for little girls until they adopt women's styles of clothing.

See, it's all cool. Oh, and "breeched" doesn't mean coming out feet-first, it means the age of first wearing pants, an age many of us tired dads wish had never come to us.

And apart from the cuteness, maybe a little bit of 150 years ago would be good for your toddler. As Louis CK says in this already classic bit from the old Conan, some time with mules with pots clanking on the side would be good for all of us.  

Do you think a 2-year-old in 1863 got to refuse the family gruel and have his own mac and cheese made for him?


Image via romantichistoryclothing

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