German Boys' Clothes: Vest Designs

Figure 1.--This German boy is off to his first day of school in a brand new Norfolk short pants suit. Note his matching vest. It does not have a 'V' front, but goes all the way up to his neck. The snapshot is undted, but looks to have been taken in the early 30s, in part because of the low-cut oxford shoes. His long stocks seem to have been chosen to mtch his suit.

The standard vest was made with a "V" front. This matched the "V" front of a lapel, sack suit. Most of the vests we have found were designed like this. These vests were commonly worn in the 19th cetury as part of three-piece suits. They were more common for men than boys, but we see boys wearing them. They continued to be worn in the 20th century, both with suits and by themselves without a suit jacket. This was doine so that the collar, shirt, and neckties showed. It should be remembered, however, that many boys in the late 19th and early 20th century wore collar buttoning suits without lapels. We habe found some examples of vests that did not have "V" fronts, but rather went all te way to the neck eather like a shirt waist. We are not yet sure just how common these vests werre. They would have been a useful garment in cold weather. We do not know if they were worn with collarbuttning jackets because they would not show up in a photographic portrait. The examples we have have found are suits with high-cut lapels. I am not sure when they originated, but we do not notice them after the early-30s.


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Created: 4:45 PM 11/10/2008
Last updated: 4:45 PM 11/10/2008