*** Serbia Serbian Western garments

Serbian Boys Clothes: Western Garments

Serbian lace collar>
Figure 1.--This boy was photographed at the Jovanovich photographic studio in Belgrade, probably about 1905. He wears a sailor suit which is alotte hard to tell because the silor collar is covered ny a large lace-trimed collar cut like a sailor collar. We suspect that the collar was detachable and reserved for special occasions, but we are not sure. Also notice the longish hair. He looks to be from a wealhy family. Unless we knew the studio, we would have guessed that this was a German image.

After independence in the late-19th century, Serbia moved to integrate with the rest of Christian Europe and clothing styles began to become more Western. Popular styles like sailor suits became very popular in Serbia during the late-19th century. Austrian/German styles became very popular. We are not sure about the process. It presumably was gradual just as the independence process was gradual. Western clothing first appeared in the cities. People in rural areas continued to wear traditional styles. The Ottomans granted auttomy to the Serbs (1820s), but full independence was not achieved for some time (1870s). We suspect that as soon as it was safe to do so, Serbs wanted to wear Western dress just as they wanted to rejoin Christian Europe. Here there was a major difference between urban and rural areas. There was a continuing Ottoman influence in rural areas. And there was a Muslim population in Serbia. We have little actual information, but presume that Muslims were less interested in both independence and adopting Westrn dress and other customs. Tradiotional styles persisted in rural areas until sfter World War II. We can not yet describe Serbian garments in detail because our achive of Serbian photographs is still very limited.


We do not yet much information on Serbian boys' headwear. Boys commonly wore headwear in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Boys wearing matching sailor caps on the next page about 1930 are a good example. We suspect that Serbian styles were similar to German headwear. We have begun to acquire some information. We note boys wearing sailor caps. This included both boys wearing both sailor suits and non-sailor outfits. Soft sailor caps seemed popular in the 1920s and 30s. In the post-World War II era, as in other countries, headwear became much less common.

Skirted Garments

Casual Styles

We begin to see Yugoslav boys wearing the sanme casual styles popular in the West by the 1960s. The Yugoslavs after the break with Stalin (1948), gradually developed a more relaxed form of Communism and a more open society. We began to see the pan-European fashions that began to develop in the 1970s. Which moved steadily toward casual styles.



We do not yet have much information on boys' suits in Serbia. A major consideration here is that Serbia was just emerging from the Ottoman era in the 19th century. It was not as prosperous as Western Europe and of course propeity affects fashions. And a large part of the rural population even after independence did not fully adopt Western styles. One problem is that we have so few 19th century Serbian photographs. Economic prosperity also affects the photographic industry and the size of the photographic industry. We have begun to acquire some images, but our archive is quite limited. What little we see shows suits that are similar to standard European styles. Austria/German styles seem particularly influential. One popular style was the sailor suit. Not as popular perhps as in Austria and Germany, but till popular. Serbia is a land locked country, but the sailor suit seems very popular both the 19th and 20th century. We re not sure when they first appeared. Our 19th century Serbian archive is to limited to know when the style reached Serbia, but the 1860s is likely. The Austrian/German influence is likely a factor. We see sailor suits into the mid-20th century. Some families dressed all the children or at least the boys in matching sailor suits. We see boys wearing them from very young age unto their early-teens. Traditional styling seems standard, but as in other countries, Serbian mothers often added special touches. The unidentified Belgrade boy here is a good example (figure 1). Mother has added a lace collar showing the influence of Fauntleroy styling. We know a little more about Serbian suits in the 20th century as our archive is somewhat more substantial. We continue to see Serbian styles basically following geeral European styles. One of the mot important sources of information are the available school portraits. Until after World War II it was common for boys to wear suits to school.


We have very little information on Serbian pants and trousers in the 19th century yet. As far as we can tell, boys wore mostly long pants until the very end of the ventury when you begin to see knee pants in the the cities. We do have some informaton on the 20th century. After the turn of the century we see many more children wearing shirtened-lengh pant, both knee pants and bloomer knickers. After the terrible tragedy of World War I, we see most Serbian boys no longer wearing traditinal clothing. Instead we see Western clothing like pants. Short pants were very common. We see some boys wearing German-style Lederhosen. Yjos seems to have been primarily a style worn by the German ethnic community. Serbian boys do seem to have commonly wiorn look-alike H-bar shorts. This seems to have been common throuhout Yugoslavia. It looks to have been a German influence on Serbian and general Yugoslav patterns. We also see rompers, a French style, but but as far as we can tell, they were not very commonn. Short pants continued to be common into the 1960s, although seasonally long pants became more common. By the 1970s we see more boys wearing long pants and pan-European styles becoming widespread.


We tend to see the same hosiery trends in Serbia that we see in Austriaand Germany. Long stockings were very commin in the 19th century. We see three-quater sicks in the early-20th century, The ankle socks the by here is wearing are rather unusual (figure 1). We see many boys wearing knee socks agter world War I and throgh mid-century. Then in the post-World War II era we begin to see ankle socks becoming invreasingly important as long pants become increasingly important..



We are not sure about earlier trends, but Serbian children are now affected by the same trends popular in the rest of Europe abd North America. A Serbian reader in 2011 tells us about the fad for crazy bands. "There is a craze in Belgrade for crazy bands. I suspect that they are popular in other cities as well. They are rubber bands shaped like animals and come in different colours. They are popular with primary age girls and boys up to about 10 years of age. There are lots of shapes to collect. The children will not part with any of the collection. I asked a boy if I could have one and he gave me short shift."


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Created: 12:27 AM 1/11/2009
Last updated: 1:17 AM 2/20/2023