No book is perfect, and I am more aware than anyone of what was left out of "Pink and Blue". It was -- and is -- my fervent wish that it never be considered the last word on the gendering of children's clothing. There is so much we still don't know, beginning with the experiences of children who were not white and middle class.
That's why I was unspeakably excited to see Katie Knowles' dissertation "Fashioning Slavery: Slaves and Clothing in the U.S. South, 1830-1865" show up in my citation alerts. Knowles proves convincingly that enslaved boys were kept in shirttails well past the age at which middle class white boys were breeched, or put into short pants.
The period of boyhood seems to have been prolonged for black men. Most comment that boys like themselves received pants at age twelve, thirteen, or even as late as fifteen. Henry Johnson remembered that he had no clothing at all until he was more than twenty.
This practice persisted disturbingly in the habit -- remembered from my childhood -- of referring to even elderly Black men as "boy". Her dissertation is available online in PDF format, and I recommend it highly for anyone interested in the intersection of race and gender in the study of dress.
My one question for Dr. Knowles:
When can I order the book?