*** boys wear Latvia garments

Latvian Boys' Clothes: Garments

Latvian children's clothes

Figure 1.--This brother and sister were photographed in Riga, probably during the 1920s. The boy wears a juvenile suit. I'm not sure if it is a one-piece or button-on suit. The boy here appears to have buttons on the shorts to attache to the shirt which would mean the belt was decorative and the way it is rather loose that appears to make sense. His little sister wears a simple summer frock much like similar dresses we have noted in Germany. Both children wear strap shoes. It looks like the little girl wears red strap shoes. Notice the teddy. The way it is posed I would guess means that it is a studio prop and not her own teddy.

Our information on Latvian garments is still very limited because of the small number of images in our archive and our inability to obtain much information from Latvia. We have noted Latvian boys wearing the same basic garments and styles as those worn in Germany, Russia, and other neigboring countries. Unlike some larger countries, it is not possible to identify Latvian images when the provinance is not known. Latvian boys during the Soviet era seem to have been dressed a little more stylishly than boys in other areas of the Soviet Union, again probably primary because of the country's geographic location. But we know of no specifically Latvian garments or styles of garments. After World War I many boys wore short pants, often with long stockings. Suspender and H-bar shorts were common for younger boys. We noted that vests were seen as very stylish in the 1970s. We are unsure if this is a German or Soviet style.

Juvenile Outfits

This brother and sister were photographed in Riga, probably during the 1920s. The boy wears a juvenile suit. I'm not ure if it is a one-piece or button-on suit.



We do not have much information from the 19th century yet. After World War I many boys wore short pants, often with long stockings. Suspender and H-bar shorts were common for younger boys. Some boys wore knickers, but they do not seem to have been very common.

Sailor Suits

We notice some Latvian boys wearing sailor suits. We are unsure about how common it was, because of our limited Latvian archive. As Latvia wedged between Germany and Russia, two countries where the sailor suit was popular, it is understandable that many Latvian boys wore sailor suits. This was the case before World War I. The sailor suit seems to have been commonly worn by the urban middle class. Of course even though Latvia was at the time a Russian province, a substantial portion of the urban population was ethnic Germans. After World War I, the saoilor suit becsause of its bourgoiese image declined in popularity in Russia, but continued yo be worn in Latvia. We are unsure to what extent it was worn in independent Latvia. Right before World War II, ethnic Germans followed instructions from the NAZIs to return to the Reich. After the War, the Soviets regained control of Latvia. By this time, however, the sailor suit had largely declined as a major style for boys.


We do not yet have much information on Latvian suits. We think that there was a strong German influence. Many boys wore short pants suits after Latvia gained its independence from the Tsarist Empire (1918). Many boys wore short pants suits. We notice a few younger boys wearing Fauntleroy suits, like the ones we see in Germany during the inter-War era. They were not all that common, but we see some in the photographi record. We believe that they were mostly worn by boys from prosperous families. Much more common were sailor suits. We see many Latvian boys wearing sailor suits, often styled like German sailor suits. There was a substantial German ethnic community in Latvia, primarily located in Riga and the other cities and thus playing an important role in Latvian society. As in other European countries, many boys wore short pants suits in the independence or inter-war era (1920s-30s). The Soviets seized and annexed Latvia during World War II (1940). After a brief NAZI occupation, the Soviets regained control (1945). We do not know much about the Soviet era (1945-91). The Baltic Republics tended to be more prosperous than the rest of the Soviet Union which of course affected fashion.


We noted that vests were seen as very stylish in the 1970s. We are unsure if this is a German or Soviet style.


Latvia is a small Baltic Sea country in northern Europe which experiences cold winters. The northerly location makes coats an important garment. We know of no exclusively Latvian coat styles, rather we notice mostly German or Russian styles. Of course Sweden and Poland are also inflential, but clothing styles in both countries are mostly influenced by the Germans and Russians, mostly the Germans, We notice a scene in Riga during winter 1914. At the time, Latvia was still part of the Russian Empire, but many Germans lived in Ruiga. The children both boys and girls wear sailor style coats, reefer jackets. The young girl wears a broad-brimed hat and the boys wear sailor caps. An older boy seems to be wearing a cloak kind of coat with a flat cap.


We see some Latvian boys wearing various uniforms. During the Tsarist era there were school uniforms. After indepbdence (1918), boys contunued wearing school caos, but we no longer see uniforms unil the Soviet era. We note some boys wearing youth group uniforms, mostly the Boy Scouts until World War II and the eventual Communist take over. The Soviets imposed the Young Pioneers on Latvians. The school uniform and the Young Pioneer uniform were similar as the Pioneers were a school-based youth group. We have found an image of two unidentified boys, presumably brothers, boys in what look like knicker uniforms. We suspect that they may be brothers in similar (one jacket is single breasted and the other double breasted) matching suits. Both are wearing what look like peaked military cap, probably school caps. The dealer thought they might be Boy Scouts, but we doubt that. Hopefully Latvian readers might be aboe to provide some insight. We note that they seem to be living in a rural area. We also see Latvian boys being drawn into the military and wearing various uniforms.


Latvian children wore the same variety of hosiery we see in other countries European countries, especially the northern countries like Germany and Russia. We have little information on the 19th century. We notice Latvian children wearing both knee socks and long stockings during the early-20th century. Long stockings were especially common during the cold weather. Latvia on the Baltic has cold wunters. And as many boys wore knee pants/short pants, the long stockings helped keep them warm. A good examole is an unidentified Latvian boy in the 1930s. The country was briefly independent during the inter-War era. German fashions were influential even while Lstvia was part of Tsarist Russ\ia. The German influence was even more importanbt during the intert-War era. Latvian hosiery seems very similar to German styles until World War II when the country was invaded and annexed by the Soviet Union. Long stockings continued to be widely worn in Latvia during the Winter into the 1960s. This was common throughout the Soviet Union. Knee socks were also widely worn. We see more children wearing ankle socks after World War II. We are not sure at this time if Latvian hosiert trends varied in any meaningful way from the rest of the Siviet Union.


Strap shoes were commonly worn by children during the inter-war years. They were especially popular for girls. Boys also wore them, especially younger boys from affluent families.


Related Baltic Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Estonia] [Latvia] [Lithuania] [Prussia]

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Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Long pants suits] [Knicker suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers] [Blazer] [School sandals] [School smocks] [Sailor suits] [Pinafores] [Long stockings]

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Created: 2:29 AM 1/25/2006
Last updated: 5:31 AM 10/2/2023