1899 football shorts

Shorts or “short trousers” may not be the first garment that comes to mind at the mention of Victorian or Edwardian clothing, but contrary to what some may believe they were in common use by men in the last decade of the 19th century for various sports such as football, rugby and rowing.

Before that time shorts were more common as a garment for young boys.

Below are two patterns: the first for boy's short trousers and another for men’s and youth's football trousers.

These patterns come from the third edition of Trousers, Vests, Breeches & Gaiters Cutting by T.H. Holding 1899.

The same shorts patterns appear in the second edition printed in 1889, but are not included in the earlier 1886 edition of Holdings work on trousers.

There is also a pattern for youth shorts to be found in the 1892 edition of The Cutters Practical Guide to Juvenile and Youths Garments.

1897 football shorts
1897 football shorts 2
1897 football shorts 3

Interestingly, while Holdings pattern depicts a drawstring to fasten at the waist, many photos appear to show shorts with belt loops and belts as being very common.


Scene of the first rugby match ever between France and England, 22 March 1906
"Scene of the first rugby match ever between France and England, 22 March 1906"


Holding, T. H. (1899). Trousers, vests, breeches & gaiters (3rd ed.). London: T.H. Holding.


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