The clothing that pioneer men, women and children wore in 1800s America reflected the hard work that was required on a daily basis at that time. While the style of clothing for pioneer children differed somewhat from their adult family members, the purpose--comfort, ease of movement and durability--remained the same.
Young girls wore underclothes similar to their mothers'; the underclothes were made of white cotton or linen. Underclothes included a chemise or shift, knee-length drawers and wool stockings in white or black.
Most pioneer girls would only own about two or three dresses; for most families, money and supplies were dear. One or two dresses would be reserved for play, work or school; one would be saved for Sundays and other special occasions. These dresses were typically made from cotton or muslin. For young girls around 6 years of age, the skirt would fall to just below the knee.
Most girls would wear aprons while working or doing household tasks. The aprons were often in a "pinafore" style, which was an apron that covered the dress from the chest area down over the skirt. Aprons were essential because they were easier to mend and clean, and this prolonged the life of girls' dresses.
For young pioneer girls, head-coverings were essential when working or playing outdoors. Girls and women usually wore cotton bonnets to protect their heads and necks from the sun and wind.
Children commonly went barefoot in the summer. A child might only own one pair of shoes because they could be costly for families. Women and girls wore narrow, lace-up leather boots. Young girls' boots were commonly flat, particularly the boots for hard-working pioneer children.