*** boys clothes: German family trends

German Boys Clothes: Family Trends

German families
Figure 1.--We had thought these brothers were Hungarian. We have since learned that they were Austrian boys living in Budapest, perhaps with family in Germany. They were photographed in 1905. The oldest brother wears his cadet uniform from military school. His two younger brothers wear intical sailor suits. The boys were 6, 10, and 14 years old. The boys were photographed in an styalized boat, presumably to go with the boys' sailor suits. 'Siofok' is a holiday resort town on Lake Balaton in Hungary. Presumably the photograph was taken during a family vacation. Note that the older boy wears his cadet uniform rather than a sailor suit even on vacation.

Here we will follow family fashions over time. HBC has decided to also gather information on entire families. One of the limitations of HBC is that too oftn we just view boys' clothing without the context of with what the rest of the family was wearing. This means not only siblings of different ages and gender, but also the parents. Family images are ca very useful way of approaching this. Family portraits as wellas snapshots exist in large numbers. Without the parents, one can not definitively establish what a juvenile fashion was as opposed to general fasshion trend. The prents also help to establish social class origins. Thus comparing boys' clothing with that worn by mothers, fathers, and sisters can yield a range of fashionn and societal insights. These images will help show show differences in both age and gender appropriate clothing. Here we are still beginning to collect information. As HBC grows we are extending both the chrobnological range of this section as well as the number of images, important to be able to reach valid conclusions. Eventually we may able to make some regional assesment about trends within Germany.

The 16th Century

Surely the most famous German family of all time is surely that of the great reformer Martin Luther. There are countless images of Luther's family some fairly contemprary images. And the story of him nd his wife Katherine, who he helped liberate from a convent, is a fascinating part of his life and the Reformation story. They thus offer what we think are firly accurate epresentations of 16th century German family life and the clothing worn. At the time, men and boys were still wearing dress-like and tunic garment.

The 19th Century

We have little information on German families during the early 19th century. With the invention of photography, much more information becomes available on the second half of the 19th century. We are just beginning to archive the 19th century family pages we have found and begin to assess the paterns illustrated by the photographs. Througout the decade younger boys wore dresses. This varied greatly from family to family. At mid-century we see men in frock coats and women in voluminous dresses. Boys has longish over the ears hair and wore tunic suits. Girls wore dress with pinafores. Gradually as the century progressed. boys began to wear their hair cropped. Younger boys still wore dresses. We still boys wearing belted tunics in the 1890s, but the cut-away jackets were no longer very common. The sailor suit had become san important style in Germany by the 1890s. Boys more commonly wore knee pants. Younger boys commonly wore shrt-cropped hair. Girls dresses had tight neck collars.

The 20th Century

We have collected numerous images of German families in the 20th century. The images provide a wonderful archive of changing fashions and styles, not only for boys, but for the other members of the family as well. We note many German boys in the early 20th century wearing sailor suits. Tunics were also worn. Norfolk suits were popular with younger boys. Long stockings were commonly worn, especially during the Winter months. After World War I, short pants and kneesocks become more common. We see many boys wearing open collar shirts even with suits during the inter-War era. Until after World War II, German boys wore destinctive styles. Geradually by the 1970s, German boys are increasingly wearing pan-European styles. By the ednd of the century, boys in Germany and other European countres can no longer be easily identified by the clothes they wear.

The 21st Century

We note two primary family trends, both continuations from the late-20th century. We see the trend toward smaller nuclear families. And we see the trend continuing toward casual dress. We see lots of coloful jackets and sweaters. Children dressed casually not only for play, butb also for school. and there seem few occasions for which they dress up. Girls are open to what they wear and we see them wearing both pants and skirted garmebnts. Boys wore both long pants and short pants, albeit commonly long baggy shorts. Adults are dressingb like teenagers did in the late-20th centuries. We see both men and women wearing jeans. German children wear the pan-European fashions rgatb began to emerge in the 1970s. One divergent tend is the popularity of tights. We see boys wearing them as well aass girls,at least younger boys. This is also the case for boys in other northen European countries like Russia, but not the casr in Britain and the countries of southern Europe.


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Created: April 21, 2002
Last updated: 8:12 PM 7/7/2016