** Austrian boys clothes -- garments

Austrian Boys' Clothes: Garments

Figure 1.--This gretting card was mailed in Austria during 1911. Of course that does not mean that the children were necesarilly Austrian, but it is likely that the fashions involved were at least worn in Austria. The boy is wearing a tunic suit.

The garments worn by Austrian boys were quite similar to those worn in Germany. They were not identical, but very similar, especially with Bavaria and southern Germny. Sailor outfits were very popular, especially for the urban middle class. There was a considerable difference betweem the populparlity of the sailor suit and other styles between Vienna abd other cities and rural areas and villages. Social class was also a factor. Eton collars and kilts never caught on, but the sailor suit was very popular and commonly worn through the 1930s. Younger boys wore dresses until breeching in the 19th and very early-20th century. We notice a range of suits. Knee pants became increasingly popular in the 1890s and after World War I (1914-18) when the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was broken up, short pants became increasingly common. Short pants were for several decaded standard for boys and even worn in the winter. Lederhosen were very popular in Austria. Most boys commonly wore shorts until the 1960s when long pants, especially jeans, became more common. Long stockings were very common, especially during the colder months, even after World War II. The differences between cities and vllages and social clases largely disppeard after Austria recovered from World War II and began participating in the general European revival generated by the German Economic Miracle. This and American influenses eventially led to the development of a general European style with boys throughout the continent wearing the same garments and styles. With climate being the main differential.


Austrian boys headwear was in general very similar to German styles. The headwear most accociated with Austrian boys are sailor hats and caps. There does no appear to be any strong association such as the beret in France. We note a fashionble straw hat in a Decker portait worn at the mid-19th century. The hat band matched the boy's tunic. The sailor suit was so popular in Austria over so long a period that various styles of sailor hats and caps were widely worn. The wide-brimmed sailor hat was not just worn with sailor suits, but was worn with Fauntleroy and other fancy suits. Broad brmimmed sailor hats were very popular from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Then sailor caps began to become more popular. Austrian folk dress includes a kind of Tyrolean hat, but HBC does not know how commonly it was actually worn. We do not some boys wearing them. The German military-styled peaked school cap was also common in the first half of the 20th century. We have also noted Austrian boys wearing a variety of other caps, including the German Schirmm´┐Żtze.

Skirted Garments

Austrian boys as in other countries wore arange of skirted garments over time. We have collected some information. We see mostly dresses and tunics in the images we have collected so far. We have found some 19th century images. Tunics seem popular in early-20th century commercial postcards (figure 1). We have not found any examples of Highland kilts or kilt suits among our Austrian images. Although we do see some dresses that look a bit like kilt suits. Nor do we see smocks. We do see pinaores, but only for girls. We do see boys wearing pinafores. Our 19th century Austrian archive is very limited and thus our ability to assess skirted garments is very limited. The 19th cenury was the last decade in which this conventions common. After the turn-of-the-20th century when photographic images are more abundant. And we see that this convention was rapidly declining. We do still see Austrin boys wearing tunics in the early-20th century. This declined by the tume of World War I and we see very few examples after the War in the 1920s. And we can say this convention had largely disappeared because we have a large enough archive to make a valid assessment. As far as we can tell, Austrian and Germam conventions are very similar.

Younger Boys Suits

We have found a variety suits worn by younger Austrian boys. This was important because in the 19th nd early-20 century, suits were much more common than is the case today. By suits we mean outfits with tops (bloyses) and bottoms (pants) matching are coordinated. Unfortunately our very limited archive, especially the 19th century archive, limits our full discussion of these younger boy outfits. we hope to rectify this as HBC expands. For the most part these were dress-up outfits were a boy's best clothes for church or special occassion. The most imprtant by far was the sailor suit. The sailor suit became almost a national outfit associated with Austria, perhps becaus of the Vienna Choir boys. Which unlike the other drssy outfits could be worn for play or school as well--although a boy probably had one such suit reserved for best. These dressy oufits were most important in a large, fashionable European city. They were less common, except for the sailor suit, in the many rural villages. Other styles included one-pieve outfits, button-on outfits, and Fauntleroy outfits.

Standard Suits

We do not yet have a great deal of information on Austrian suits, largely because our Austrian archive is fairly limited. We note boys wearing skeleton suits in the early-19th century. This was a common style throughout Western Europe. As far as we can tell the types of suits worn in Austria and chromolgical trends is fairly similar to Germany, at least by the time photographic images beconme available in the mid-19th century. At mid-centuiry, jackets and pants often did not match, byt by the 1860s suits we begin to see matching suits, althouh this did not become lsrgely universal until the 1870s. We note the same juvenile styles. Fauntleroy suts were not very common, but sailor suits were. Sailor suits became especially popular in Austria. We are not sure hu because Austria-Hungary was not a mjor naval power. Perhaps it was the influence of the monarchy. We see the same styles like collar-buttoning, single and double breasted, Norfolk and Eton jackets. And we notice the same type of pants (including short, knee, knicker, and long pants) worn with suits. The chronological trends concerning these styles as well as the wearing of suits also seem similar. The major destinctive Austrian trend seems to be the use of tracht (folk) styles for suits as well as more casual styles. And in the post-War II period we note suits becoming less common for boys, atrend we note throughout Europe.

Eton Suits

We have little information as to what extent the Eron suit was worn in Austria. It does not seem to have been a major style. We have some imapges of school children of various ages wearing Eton collars. We also note a few images of boys wearing Eton suits.


As far as we can tell, Austrian boys wote the same kinds of shirts as German boys. We note many boys wearing Schiller collars, especially in the 1910s-30s. We also note boys buttoning their collars even when not wearing ties. A good example is two Vienna brothers in 1935.


We have not yet developed details on the pants worn by Austrian boys. Austrian boys all the different styles of pants, incliding knee breeches, long pants, knee pants, knickers, and short pants. We suspect that there is considerable similarity with Germany. Austria is a much smaller country. We have as a result a realtively small archive of Austrian images. We note boys wearing knee pants beginning in the mid-19th century. This was a popular style into the 20th century. It was boys' style, but we note one unidentified portrait of what looks like a girl wearing kneepants. Kneepants went out of styles in the 1920s, but we note boys wearing knickers into the 1950s. Shoer pants became very common in the 1920s and were widely won into the 1960s. Younger boys began commonly wearing long pants in the 1960s and long pants are now the most common form of trousers worn by boys. We also note boys wearing bloomer knickers.


One popular local garment was lederhosen. I have few details about lederhosen specifically in Austria yet, but the style was commonly worn in southern German (Bavaria), Austria, and Switzerland. Boys would wear them to school with a jacket or sweater. They were worn for both dressing up, and because of their durability, for play. They continued to be commonly worn through the 1950s, but declined in popularity during the 1960s. While we have quite a bit of information about German lederhosen, we have very little information about lederhosen in Austria at thuis time.


We have little information about rompers in Austria. We know that they were worn in Germany and think they may have also been worn in Austria as well. We do note an image of a French-Austrian boy wearing rompers, but his may be the French more than the Austrian influence. The portrait shows the boy wearing a romper outfit while in France during the 1947, just after World War II. Other inages show him wearing rompers and other French garments. As an older boy he and his brother always wore short pants.

Inclement Weather Clothing

Inclement weather clothing includes both rain gear and cold weather clothing. We do not jnow much about rainwear, but we see Ausrtrian children wearing a great deal of cold weather clothing. Austria is located in the heart of continental Europe and is mounaneous. Winters can be severe with heavy snowfall. Children need warm clothing for the winter. The seaonaliy of the weather makes such clothing necessary. Items include capes, coats and jackets, gloves and mittens, knits, leggings, long stockings, muffs, stocking caps and tams, sweaters, and other items. Except for muffs, they were worn by both boys and girls. The popularity of these items have varied over time. A few have disappeared like long stockings, most continue to be worn although styling has varied over time. This of course is due tp the fact that winter comes around every year and that there is a need for children to wear warm clothing during the winter.


A French reader tells us, "'Ein Leibchen' is a Austrian word and in the 1950s many boys were wearing a Leibchen which were similar to those being born in worn in France. It is a sort of untershirt with a large open collar without sleeves and quite long, made in white coton, very offten ribbed. After 1930, most French boys were wearing this sort of underwear It was named " un maillot de corps ". Now we said 'un maillot de corps Marcel'. In Germany one says, 'Ein Unterhemd and not a ein Leibchen'."


As far as we can tell, the hosiery worn by Austrian children is essentially identical to the hosiery worn by German children. We do not have much information on the 19th century yet. Children in the early 20th children wore three-quarter stockings and long stockings when the weather got cold. Long stockings were not just worn in cold weather. Modesty and formality were other factors. After World war I, knee socks became popular and were widely worn into the 1960s. Both long stockings and kneesocks were worn. We also notice girls wearing white ankle socks. Various age and gender conventions affected the type and color of hosiery. At about that time both long stockings and knee socks went out of style. Long stockings disappeared first and knee socks in the 1970s. This was in part because fewer Austrian boys were wearing short pants, especially in the cooler months. We have less information about tights, but assume trends were similar to Germany.


We have not yet begun to address Austrian footwear in any detail. W do have a page on sandals.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Austrian pages:
[Garments] [Austrian choirs] [Austrian school uniforms] [Lederhosen]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Essays] [FAQs] [German glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing national pages:
[Return to the Main Austrian boys clothes page] [Return to the Main countries page]
[Australia] [Belgium] [England] [France] [Germany] [Ireland] [Italy] [Japan] [Korea] [Mexico] [New Zealand] [Scotland] [United States]

Created: November 30, 1999
Last updated: 11:12 AM 5/31/2016