A Buster Brown suit was a very popular style of clothing for young boys in the United States in the early 20th century. It was named after the comic strip character Buster Brown, created in 1902 by Richard Felton Outcault. It typically consisted of a belted, double-breasted tunic or jacket worn with a large round collar, floppy bow, and shorts or knickerbockers, and was often worn with a round straw hat and a haircut with bangs. Along with the sailor suit, the Eton suit, the Norfolk suit and the Fauntleroy suit, the Buster Brown suit is cited as one of the key looks in boys' clothing of the period.
The suit was typically chosen by mothers for their sons against their children's wishes. It was perceived by mothers as a symbol of neatness and gentility but could lead to its wearer's being mocked by other children and called a "sissy". Mark Rothko, who arrived in the States as a child immigrant with his family in 1913, was deliberately dressed in a Buster Brown suit made in Daugavpils in order to camouflage both the family's poverty and their Russian-Jewish origins. The Buster Brown suit was also occasionally worn by older boys and men, such as the teenaged Eugene Bullard, a fan of the comic strip, who in the late 1900s purchased a Buster Brown suit with knickerbockers for Sunday best.
The three most important innovations in the last part of the century were: the sailor suit, the "Little Lord Fauntleroy" suit, and the "Buster Brown" suit.
From the age of seven Gene remembers being dressed in his neat Buster Brown suit and being taken to a dance school in downtown Pittsburgh by his determined mother. He remembers, too, the taunts and jeers of the rough neighbourhood boys, who would place their hands on their hips effeminately and call him a sissy