German Boys' Clothes: Coordinated Outfits--Chronology

Figure 1.-- We notice a German family in 1914 that dressed two brothers alike, but not the third brother. Neither are their sisters dressed alike. It seems to have been more common to dres brothers alike than sisters. Image courtesy of the German Hosiery Museum.

We do not have a complete chronology yet, but we begin to note this practice in the 1880s and it continued to be popular into the 1950s. We first begin noting this convention in the photographic record during the 1870s. A goof example is three brothers we note in identical velvet uits. It could have begun earlier, but our archieve of 19th century German photographic images is limited. One factor her is ready made clothing. Dressing children identically was a simpler matter when ready made clothing became more common. Thismeant that precisely the same garments were readily avilable in a range of different sizes. There are numerous examples of the children in the family being dressed alike at the turn of the century. The German princes in numerous portraits before World war I were photographed in identical outfits. We notice a German family in 1914 that dressed two brothers alike, but not the third brother (figure 1). This was not only the case of the imperial princes, but the princes in the many Germn principalities within the Empire as well. Similar conventions were followed in Austria-Hyngary. We also note it after World War I. We have numerous portraits of Herbert and Kurt Hender in the 1920s wearing many idetical outfirs, mostly sailor suits, during the 1920s. The boys here were photographed in the 1930s (figure 1). A photograph taken about 1925 shows two brothers wearing similar sailor suits, but with considerable age differentiation. We notice another German family during the 1930s. The common outfit was not always sailor suits. We notice the Herbert Heim family in 1939 with the children all wearing identical H bar short pants. children After World War II the practice becomes less common, but we still note it in the 1930s.


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Created: January 22, 2004
Last updated: January 22, 2004