Figure 1.--The Croatian boy has his captains cap in his lap and is holding the beard of his Goat Toy. Maybe he thinks it will bring him luck, or maybe he is just playing . The card was taken by Photo Mosinger in Zagreb in 1910. At the time, Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Croatia is now an indepent state in the Balkans. It was in modern history a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then after World War I federated in a new country called Yugoslavia--meaning Land of the Southern Slavs. From the very inception of Yugoslavia, however, trouble developed between the Croats and Slavs. Traditional dress was still common in the 19th century. By the time of World war II, Western dress was worn in Croatia, although there was still some traditional dress in the countryside. Some sources believe that gayly decorated folk costume, folk customs and folk music are the important distinctive features of the Croatian nation. Croats in the 20th century came to see these cultural elements as the way in which Croats could present themselves to the world.


Croatia is now an independent country. This has not been the case for most of the country's history. The country is located in the Balans. Croatia was at times within the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, Crotia was setlled by Slavs (7th century). The Croats became Roman Catholic (9th century). There was for a brief period an independent kingdom. For most of Croatia's subsequent history is associated with Hungary. There wa a personal union between Hungary also became the king of Croatia. There were exceptiins to the Hungarian connectuin such as during the Turkish (1526-1699) and the much briefer French (1809-13) invasions nd the Austrian annexation (1849-68). Even though Croatian had a Hungarian monarchy, there was a local aristocracy and diet (parliamet). The Hungarian monarchy is a misnomer. The last actual Hungarian king was killed defending the country from the Turks. The crown was inherited by the Hapsburgs so in fact it became an Austrian monarchy. After World War I, Croatia was united with Serbia and other southern Serbs to form Yugoslavia. The uniin was unstable because of Croat resistance to Serb domination. The NAZIs established an Croat pupit state after invading Yugoslavia (1941). Tito reunited the country (1945) and although a Croat supressed nationalist agitation. Croatia suceeded from Yugoslavia (1991), resulting in one od several wars connected withbthe breakup of Yugoslavia..



Croatian sources report that Germany clothing styles influence Yugoslavian styles. A HBC contributor still remembers his mother browsing German fashion magazines and big stores catalogues. Italian styles is now more important because of growing Italian fashion industry, but in the 1960s, Italian fashions were not nearly so important. This is probably because many Yugoslavs worked temporarily in Germany. Usually only the father worked in Germany and the families stayed in Yugoslavia. So when the fathers came home at holidays they would bring German clothes, magazines, cars, etc.


We have only limited information on Croatin boys' garments at this time. We have begun to cpllect some information. Located in the Balkans, there have been a range of influences, but we suspect the relationship with Austria-Hungary was especially important. In addition, Germany's large fashion/clothing industry also had a major impact throughout the Balkans.


Some boys wore turtle necks during the 1960s which were considered very stylish.


We note younger Croatian boys wearing dresses in the 19th century. This was a commonn practice in Europe. We do not know how common it was Croatia or how it may have compared to other countries. We suspect that in the major cities the fashion was similar to that in other provincial cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We do not have a sufficient archive of ikjages to make real assessment at this time.


Smocks were not worn in Croatia. There were some similarities between smocks and the uniform school jackets. They were, however, not smocks, but front buttoning jackets.

Sailor suits

We believe that sailor suits were popular in Croatia during the late 19th and early 20 century. We note the younger boys in a working class family wearing varous styles of sailor suits about 1910.


Some younger boys with stylish mothers wore shortalls during the 1960s.

Regular suits

We have little information on Croatian suits at this time. Our archive is still very limited. We have archived a photograph of an unidentified Croatian boy wearing a short pants junior Eton suit in 1959. As our archive is so small, we have no idea how common this was. It is a style more associated with America than Eyrope.

Short pants

Boys commonly wore short pants during the 1960s. Both play shorts as well as dress shorts were worn. Dress shorts were common for younger, but now are rare. Short pants here were not considered as "a young boys style". Young boys started wearing long pants very early, but in the summer everybody wears short pants. Play or casual shorts are common for everybody also now. It is very common to see short pants here especially in Mediterranean part, because it is rather hot in summer. It is was not just younger boys wearing short pants. Today just about everyone wears shorts--it is quite common to see adults wearing them during the summer.


Lederhosen were worn in the 1960s. They were not a dominate style, but some boys did wear them. It was presumably the German influence. They are now rarely seen.

Knee socks

Kneesocks were very common. They were never considered as "girls" fashons in Croatia, like in some other countries. Now they are rare, because in summer nobody wears any socks at all during the summer.


Some younger boys in the 1960s wore tights, although not commonly with short pants. They considered that was more for girls. More common was to wear tights with long pants for warmth during the winter. Many nursery school boys wore white, red or blue tights under long trousers. Some grade school boys also wore them.


Sandals were worn in the 1960s. Some boys wore white sandals with white kneesocks. Now sandals are still common, but usually black or brown. Most boys wear them without socks.


Family images are very useful because they provide insights as to what kind of clothes and fashions the rest of the maily was wearing. Family images can also provide some useful life-style insights. We do not have many Croatian images at this time, but have begun to collect some for this section. At this time we only have an image of an unidentified Croatian family, probably taken about 1910. It looks to us like a working-class family.


As with other countries, we have noted images of Croatian children wearing costumes. Some of these are difficifult to interpret. Some are clearly costumes for play acting or parties. Others are rather unusual and we find difficult to interpret. One such image shows a girl wearing long baggy pants rather than a dress in the early 20th century. Hopefully our Croatian readers will offer their insights here.

Folk Costumes

Some sources believe that gayly decorated folk costume, folk customs and folk music are the important distinctive features of the Croatian nation. Croats in the 20th century came to see these cultural elements as the way in which Croats could present themselves to the world. We know, however, very little about Crotian folk costumes at this time. We note Croats wearing traditional outfits in the 19th century. This included plain whote shorts and trousers, a style we see throughout the Balkans. We believe that these outfits were still worn to some degree before World War II, especially in rural areas. Dress in the cities was westernized by the time of World War II. It is less clear when Croats began wearing fancy folk costumes to fairs and festivals and on important festivals. Although many started wearing traditional folk costumes for folk festivals and, even, holidays, there were no confirmations of the use of these fancy folk costume in everyday life. There were many common elements to Balkans folk costumes. This reflects the centuries of Ottoman ruile. We do not yet have details on specific Croatian costumes. We note a lot of red and white shirts or blouses. While red was important we see many white costumes as well. We have noted striking gold embroidery on white garments. Embrodery and lace are important elements as is the case elsewhere in the Balkans.


Croatia is one of the European countries from which emmigrants have flowed through much of recent history. There was a major wave of immigration with the Turkish conquest (l6th century). About 0.5 million people emigrated from Croatia during the late 19th century up to the start of World War I. This seems a large number and we can not yet confirm this, especially as many of the immigrants came to America. American data suggests much smaller numbers. Even so, Croatia is not a large country and emmigration did represent an not inconsequential part of the population. A major reason reason for the emmigration was economic conditions and this in part affected annual fluctuations. Another factor was the desire to avoid military service. This was part of the reason that most of the emmigrants to America were men.


We do not have much information on Croatian boys' actibities yet. We do note a group preparing for an Easter holiday skit during the Communist era.


Yugoslavia students in the 1960s and 70s did not have any schools with individual school uniforms. In primary school we all wore blue jackets especially made as school jackets. It was something like workers jackets (blue collars). They were common in some high schools also, but not in mine. The purpose of thes school jackets was to cover socially diferences on which socialistic government was wery sensitive. These jackets were wworn by boys and girls. The girls' jackets were just a little longer than those worn by the boys--just above the knee. Since the 1990s there are no any kind of school uniforms at Croatia or Bosnia. School jackets were worn over ordinary clothes, so it was worn also with short pants and kneesocks. Jackets were more like tuxedo (but made of cheap material). That means it was not buttoned to the collar, it had only three or four buttons (also blue) and three pockets (two bigger on sides, and one small at chest - for pencils). Material was not heavy - cotton, little heavier than for shirts, so in winter we all wore coats over this jackets on our way to school.

Youth Groups

Croatia as part of Yugoslavia had both Pioneers and Scouts--rare for a Communist country. In most Communist countries Scouting was banned. The situation in former Yugoslavia was different than in other communist countries. That is because our government in 1948 broke all connections with Soviet Union--a dangerous step at the time. But they didn't invade us militarily as they did in Hungary during 1956. Although after World War II, Yugoslavia was one of the most extremely fanatical East Block countries, after the break Marshall Tito imcreasinngly allowed western influences and contacts with western countries. As our Croatian contact reports, "we did things our way". So they were in many cases unique in everything.


Everyone joined the Pioneers in first grade of elementary school. It was especially important in the early years after the World War II, but by the 1960s our Croatian correspondent reports, "I can remember that we went from school to a city theatre where there was a large celebration. They give us pioneer caps and scarfs (caps were blue and scarfs were red). They then took a few photographs and we went home. When I came home, I put my cap and scarf in the drawer, and never worn it again." The Pioneer uniform was only hat and scarf, worn usually on white shirt and blue short or long trousers, and skirt for girls. Worn in very rare ocassions. The Pioneers "disappeared" 15-20 years, but I do not have precise details. HBC wonders why the Pioneer Movement was so weak in Yugoslavia. Our Croatian correspondent reports, "Really, I don't know why we did wear our uniforms much. I think, because it was not obligatory. In my time there were very much influence from "western" countries, so if somebody can avoid "communistic" things without getting into trouble--they would. In Yugoslavia you can find very interesting combinations. For example, Pioneers in white shirt with caps and so, but wearing jeans (Levi's or Lee) which was considered forbidden in other "eastern" countries. Scouts wearing jeans were also common." ago.


Scouts wore beretes and scarves, green shirt and trousers of your own. Scouts were very different than pioners. It was not obligatory for everybody to participate. Only those really interested did so. Our HBC correspmdent reports, "I was there few times, we learned knots, camping skills, etc... I was never in camping with Scouts, but many of my friends were. Scouts, unlike the Pioneers, is today an active program in Croatia.

Personal Experiences

Stylish mother: A boy with a stylish mother describes the clothes he wore during the 1960s.


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

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing national pages:
[Return to the Main European page]
[Return to the Main Yugoslav page]
[Return to the Main countries page]
[Albania] [Austria] [Bulgaria] [Croatia] [Greece] [Hungary]
[Macedonia] [Montenegro] [Romania] [Serbia] [Slovenia] [Turkey]

Created: April 7, 2000
Last updated: 1:42 PM 4/18/2017