Holding over 6000 pieces, the clothing collection includes garments and accessories worn by children from birth up to their teenage years.

Far from simply a collection of white christening robes, the collection covers many different types of clothes worn over the last 300 years, from formal and restrictive styles of the 18th century to more casual and brand-led choices of the 21st century. Included in the collection are clothes for work, school, celebration or occasion, undergarments, fancy dress, shoes, sport and leisurewear. 

Bathing costume

Bathing costume

Sea bathing first became popular for health reasons in the 1790s: King George III set the fashion for sea-bathing when he visited Weymouth in 1789.

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Boy's dress

Boy's dress

One of the hardest of childhood customs to understand is why were little boys given dresses to wear. Wasn't it difficult for them to wear clothes that made them look like girls?

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Camp Fire gown

Camp Fire gown

This gown was worn by a girl called Sybil Vincent. Sybil and her friends from Croydon High School formed a Camp Fire group called Camp Keema.

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Silk Dress, 1760

Silk Dress, 1760

This is an English girl's dress of about 1760. It is a fashionable dress made from expensive Chinese export silk, but it has a thrifty secret.

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Clarks shoes

Clarks shoes

These shoes were made by Clarks in about 1850. They are made from black leather and elasticated cotton.

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Fauntleroy suit

Fauntleroy suit

This suit was worn by six-year old Walter Hamilton Moberly during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign.

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Gilman shoes

Gilman shoes

These children's shoes were made in England by C. S. Gilman in about 1851. They are made from velvet with a patent leather toecap and fasten with a button.

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Hyam & Co. suit

Hyam & Co. suit

This boy's suit was made between 1870 and 1880 by the British manufacturer Hyam and Company who were based on Oxford Street.

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Mourning coat

Mourning coat

Amy Brock made this coat for her daughter Eileen in 1921 after her husband died while serving in the British Army in Mesopotamia.

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'Pudding' safety hat

'Pudding' safety hat

These protective hats were the equivalent of a crash helmet. They could be helpful for a child using a baby walker on wheels.

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Highland suit

Highland suit

This is a photograph taken in 1883 is of a Victorian boy named Justin Laczkovic aged eight. He wears one of the most popular fashions for boys at that time, a 'Scotch' suit.

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Utility coat and hat, 1944

Utility coat and hat, 1944

This is a little girl's smart russet woollen coat and hat, made under the Utility scheme during the Second World War.

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Patchwork dress, 1942

Patchwork dress, 1942

This dress was made for a girl called Jane by her mother in 1944 after a surprise invitation to a birthday party.

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Swaddling band

Swaddling band

This swaddling band is the oldest item of children's clothing in the Museum's collection, and was made in Italy between 1575 and 1600.

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Shop online...

Patrick Rylands Cool Cat

The V&A online shop stocks a distinctive and refreshingly different range for children, big and little, then and now, including toys, games, books and accessories.

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Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 5200 | V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA