An English Boy in Germany: Lederhosen (1950s-60s)

My father was an English serviceman following the war and I was consequently brought up in military communities throughout the world.

During the 1950's we lived mainly in England. As many service men had married German women while serving in Germany following the war even in England many boys wore lederhosen.


In the mid 60's my father was posted to Northern Germany and at that time most boys including the sons of servicemen wore lederhosen, particularly during the summer moths. I was 15 years old and was soon wearing these leather shorts in common with most of my friends. They were usually worn with an open necked shirt and either long socks or ankle socks and were ideal for walking, cycling and camping being virtually indestructible. I recall having 2 pairs at different times, the first a grey leather pair of shorts with a button flap at the front and leather suspenders, the second made from a dark green Napa leather with zip fasteners, a belt and no suspenders.

Our lederhosen were generally worn quite short with their pant legs turned up and were extraordinarily comfortable. They were still commonly being worn when my father returned to the UK in 1972 and, because they are so comfortable and regularly continue to visit Germany I still wear lederhosen from time to time today.

I am not sure who chose my first pair or why and I am of course aware of the huge variation in styles. Although only visiting Germany for relatively short periods I had been a keen Scout and joined the local British troop. All the boys wore lederhosen rather than the more usual shorts worn by British Scouts at that time (this may have been a decision made by the adult leaders since lederhosen were worn by all the local German troops who we met with occaisonally). Most of the boys wore the type with dark green nappa leather shorts with two zips and a scout belt and this may well have been the reason for me getting my second pair.


We mostly wore ordinary "office" or school shoes although, if we were camping or cycling etc we would wear trainers or similar. As far as I recall German boys wore much the same footwear.

Dress Wear

When dressed up I would normally wear a jacket and tie with conventional long trousers, although occaisonally when attending casual parties during the day e.g. barbeques, some of us would wear lederhosen. I think that by that time in Northern Germany most German boys were wearing similar clothes for special occaisons. However, I have a close friend who has no military connections although the family have many German friends. I have seen a photo of John attending a wedding at the age of 10 or 11 dressed in lederhosen.

School Wear

English schools

I always attended English schools, mainly in the U.K. but also for a time in Cyprus. Incidentally, even here some boys occaisonally wore lederhosen having lived previously in Germany. During my parents time in Germany I attended an English boarding school in U.K. but visited them at least 5 times a year and it was on one of my first visits that I had my first pair of lederhosen. Many of my boarding school friends were sons of servicemen stationed in Germany and most of these boys had at least one pair. Although we never wore these to school (strict uniform rules applied) they were often worn at weekends during the summer.

In England by 1972 many schools were turning from traditional uniforms and jeans were becoming more popular for all ages. Never the less many schools (including my own) maintained a strict dress code of grey trousers, shirt with tie and blazer with short pants and long socks being insisted upon in the junior forms. This continues in a few places today.

German schools

I recall that large numbers of German boys did wear lederhosen to school during summer months and even occaisonally university students.

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main German page]
[Return to the Main Lederhosen page]
[Introduction] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Biographies] [Bibliographies] [Activities] [Countries] [Contributions]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: October 25, 1999
Last updated: November 7, 1999