Lurch once donned a suit inspired by the Harry Potter of the 1800s
Little Lord Fauntleroy suits were all the rage.
For The Addams Family episode "Lurch Learns to Dance," Lurch plans to turn down his annual invitation to the Butlers Ball for a simple reason: the towering man can’t dance.
Naturally, the Addams family swarms to help teach him, and their dance lessons lead up to Lurch’s entrance to the ball, where he dons one of the most fashionable and memorable trends for young boys of all time: the Fauntleroy suit.
In the late 1800s, the Fauntleroy suit became peak fashion for boys between the ages of 3 and 8. And although the trend originated in England, nowhere was it more popular than the United States.
To get the Fauntleroy suit look, boys wore fancy blouses with ruffles or lace at the collar under velvet suits with cut-away jackets, making them look quite distinguished.
On The Addams Family, Lurch accentuates his schoolboy look by wearing knee-high socks, and not to be outdone, his blouse features ruffles and lace.
You might wonder what led so many boys to embrace ruffles, and the answer is a book that critics have since dubbed the Harry Potter of the 1800s.
Little Lord Fauntleroy was a novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett that was published as a serial in a magazine. As installments came out, readers were hooked by the story of a poor boy who suddenly becomes heir to an earldom.
In the stories, Lord Fauntleroy was depicted as having a distinct charm, and each installment was accompanied by illustrations of the boy by Reginald B. Birch, who depicted the little lord’s clothes as what later became the fashion trend known as the Fauntleroy suit.
This fashion craze stuck around long enough that eventually, teens were sporting the look, which occasionally saw fashionable young men wearing their hair in ringlet curls.
Because the serial was so popular, the merch didn’t stop at suits, either. Fans could buy Fauntleroy velvet collars, playing cards, and chocolates.
Like Harry Potter, Fauntleroy was a hit because of the rags-to-riches story at its core. Back in the 1800s when most fiction was considered sentimental, the sensational story struck a chord with Americans.
And like Harry Potter, Little Lord Fauntleroy and his velvety suits were not a passing trend. Decades after the stories were published, stage productions were still popular, including one that cast Buster Keaton to don the Fauntleroy suit at the age of 11.
Four decades later, Little Lord Fauntleroy became a silent film in 1921, and around the world, TV adaptations were produced in every decade, most recently in 2012.
The Addams Family is just one tiny fold in the fabric of the Fauntleroy suit’s influence on pop culture, but we have to say Lurch pulls off the look and we’re glad he didn’t forget to add the lace to his decadent collar.