German Boys' Garments: Shirts--Collar Types


Figure 1.--This is a difficult image to assess. A HBC contributor purchased it in Germany. She believes, however, that the boys are not German. She writes, "I think these boys in the portrait are not German! Their names are Chester and Clarence. These names are not used in Germany. When I bought the picture it was among other pictures from the U.S. The pprtrait was tken, however, in Hamburg, Germany. Apparently the boys were guests in Germany, perhaps visiting family." The question thus becomes are they wearing American or German clothes. The brothers wear age-graded outfits. The younger brother wears a sailor suit with a huge striped collar. His brother wears a jacket with a white collar and polkadot bow. Note that the collar is smaller and less stiff than a standard Eton collar. The portrait is undated, but we would guess was taken in the 1890s. Image courtesy of the BP collection.

We note German boys wearing the same basic shirt styles as worn by boys in other European countries. We do not know of any destinctive German shirt styles. The main variation is that some styles were more or less popular in Germany than other styles. We notice a variety of detachable collars. These detachable collars were worn with what were called shirt waists--essentially shirts without collars. Shirt waists appeared in the mid-19th century and were widely worn through thde early 20th century. We notice both pointed and rounded collr styles of dofferent shapes and withs. Thwy were generally worn with neckwear of various desriptions. The Eton was not nearly as popular as in England. I'm not sure why. We notice sailor middy blouses with a wide variety of collar styles. Other countries also had middy blouses in non-traditional styles, but there appears to have been an especially large variety of collar styles. As there was np shirt tails, the middy blouse as the name implies was a blouse. We mention it here because it was such an importan style of shirt-like garment. >Many boys after World War I wore a style of wide, open collars. The style in fact appeared during the 1910s, but was mych morecwidely worn in the 1920s. It was not only worn for casual wear, but someboys wore it with their suit as well when dressing up. we note here both collar styles and shirts notable for the collar style.

Small Collars

We note in the late-19th century all types of often very large collars worn by boys. The situation in the mid-19th century was very different. Shirts and blouses were made with no collars or very small collars. These small collars were the style througout Europe. Because boys were commonly photographed wearing suits, often with vests, we normally see very little of the shirts they were wearing. Often all we can see is the collar and they were basicallhy very small. We note different collar styles, but do not know what they were called. Hopefully we will eventually lear more details about the various styles.

Detachable Collars

We notice a variety of detachable collars. These detachable collars were worn with what were called shirt waists--essentially shirts without collars. Shirt waists appeared in the mid-19th century and were widely worn through thde early 20th century. We notice both pointed and rounded collr styles of dofferent shapes and withs. Thwy were generally worn with neckwear of various desriptions. The Eton was not nearly as popular as in England. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was uncomfortable or perceived as too English. Sailor middy blouses were especially popular for German boys. These detachable collars continued to be worn after World War I, but quickly gave way to shirts with soft collars attached to the shirt.

Connecting Collars

This is is a rather formal collar that we have seen boys wearing around the turn of the 20th century in the 1890s and 1900s. We have no idea what to call it. It appears to be a collar in which one wing of the collar connects with and overlaps the other. It looks to be a detachable collar. We note it being worn without neckwear and with a kind of low slung bow tie. It appears to be a collar style most associated with Germany. We think it was a style worn by both teenagers and young men. It was a fairly popular collar style. We note it being worn with suits. We even notice it being added to boys, but not girls, sailor outfits. This rather defeated the purpose of a sailor suit as a smart but comfortable, practical stye for boys.

Eton Collars

Eton collars were very common in America and Britain during the late 19th and early 20th century. We notice realtively few German boys wearing stiff Eton collars. We do note German boys wearing smaller white collars that do not seem to have stiffened (heavily starched). The large stiff Eton collars are relatively rare in Germany. This is especially true for the large stiff ones worn by British boys. We do see some German boys wearing classic Eton collars. A good example is an unidentified German boy. Most Eton collars we see in Germany, however, are not as large or stiff. I'm not sure what these collars were called in Germany.

Fauntleroy Lace Collar

The Fauntleroy style was not as popular in Germany as in many other European countries. We seen some boys wearing lace collars, but they were not as popular as in America, Britain, and France. It is a little difficult to assess the popularity of the lace collar, but a good indivator is its presence in the historical record and here it is clearly less common than in America and several lther countries. I'm not sure what a Fauntleroy collar was called in German. We have not noted many German boys wearing lace collars, but we have noted some. An example is German brothers in the 1880s. We have noted several different styles of lace collars among those we have noted.

Peter Pan Collar

HBC has little information on Germany, but believes that the Peter Pan collar was also a popular in Germany as elsewhere in Europe, but perhaps somewhat less so than France. We do not know what it was called in Germany. A German reader tells us that she has never seen a German term for these collars. We have seen younger German boys wearing Peter Pan collars in the photographic record. They do not seem to be as common as in some other countries. Curiously, it may have been more common in Germany than in England as we do not see many boys English boys wearing Peter Pan collars aboove approximately age 8 years. We have found a few examples, esoecially with younger boys. One example is Paul Clemens in 1935. This seems to have been a more popular with well-to-do than woking-class families. We see an advertisements from Bleyle, an important manufacturer, offering fashionable outfits with Peter Pan collars in 1939. After World War as in other countries, Peter Pan collars in Germany became more of a girls' style or used for very young boys.

Ruffled Collar

We note some boys wearing shirts or blouses with small ruffled collars. These were not very common, but we do note a few. It seems most common in the mid-19th century with cut-away jackets. A good example is an unidentified boy. Another example is a Poznan boy. We note one unidetified Nürnberg boy wearing a very small ruffled collar along with a sailor outfit. We note a younger German boy wearing a ruffeled collared blouse for a Christmas portrait in 1942.

Sailor Collar/Middy Blouses

We notice sailor middy blouses with a wide variety of collar styles. Other countries also had middy blouses in non-traditional styles, but there appears to have been an especially large variety of collar styles. As there was np shirt tails, the middy blouse as the name implies was a blouse. We mention it here because it was such an importan style of shirt-like garment. The tradition sailor collar was detailed with three stripe, representing Nelson's three great victories. There were, however, many other styles. These differet styles seem more common than in many other countries. Note the large sripped sailor collar here and matching dickey (figure 1). The German term for sailor suit is "Matrosenanzug". The German term for sailor collar is "Matrosenkragen". A sailor or middy blouse is a "Matrosenbluse".

Schiller Collar

Many boys after World War I wore a style of wide, open collars. The style in fact appeared during the 1910s, but was mych morecwidely worn in the 1920s. It was not only worn for casual wear, but someboys wore it with their suit as well when dressing up. The style was known as the Schiller Collar. This was not a term commonly used in English. Rather it is a translation of the German term Schillerkragen. One source indicates, "And for the past century or so, the Schillerkragen--"Schiller's collar"--has been Germany's equivalent of the "Byron collar." Both poets translated their love of freedom into an open collar-the original sports shirt." Here we are a little confused. Byron and Schiller were contemporaries. Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) and Byron were contempraries and both were important romantic poets. The open collar style for which they were noted was popular in the early 19th century.It was, however, little seen again until after the 20th century. We note some German boys wearing them in the 1910s, but especially after World War I in the 1920s. It was also worn in other countries. In America it was known as a sports collar. We do not know who first revived the style. We are unsure about terms in other countries.

Wing Collar








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Created: 4:21 AM 8/5/2004
Last updated: 2:09 AM 12/29/2013