Swedish Boys' Clothes: Families

Figure 1.--Here we see a charming image of a Swedish farm family in 1936. The children are pictured on a wagon in front of their home. The lone girl looks to have four yonger brothers. That must have been a challenge. All four boys in different ages wear long stockings and all wear sandals.

We have begun to collect some in formation on Swedish families, but our information is still very limited. These images are very useful because they help to put boys clothing in the context of what girls and adult members of the family were wearing at the time. The background and context of the portraits and other family snapshots also provide a lot of other useful sociological information. Unfortunately for many of these images we do not have the family names

The 19th Century

Our Swedish archive is still very limited, especially for the 19th century. Family trends ad fashions seem very similar to Germany. Swedish children's fashions seem very similar to German styles. There were a range of cultural and commercial ties between Sweden and Germany. And Germany had a large fashion and clothing industry which influenced fahions throughout Eastern anf Central Europe. The two countries experienced similar economic and cultural experiences. Ther was considerable industrial development, but a substantial rural population continued to be important that continued to operat with basic methods and was largely unmechanized.

Charles and Sophia (1883)

This photograph shows Charles and Sophia. I am not sure about the last name. The children are Allen and Dora. The photograph here was taken in 1883 (figure 1). A second photograph was taken in 1887. The family moved to America a few years before and then lived in Illinois. In the second one the father is 38, the mother is 29, then the baby on her lap, the boy on the left is 5 years old, the boy on the right is 3 years, and the little girl is 4 years. We are not sure if the clothing they are wearing reflect Swedish or American clothing. Nor do we have a good idea at this time as to how emmigration affect how the family dressed. We suspect this varoed from familt to family, where they lived and their social status as well as other factors.

Unidentified middle-class family (1890s)

Sailor suits were very popular throughout Scandanavia during the 1890s. Sweden did not have a sizeable navy, but it did have a maritime tradition. We note a portrait of an affluent middle class family. The boys wear sailor suits with white collars and dickies. They were from Upsala. Mothers has a huge lace collar. The family had a great little Jack Russel terrier. You can bet the kids had fun with the pooch.

Unidentified Boras family (1890s)

Here we see a CDV studio portrait of three Swedish siblings identified as 'Borene barn' (Borene children). The family name is not clearly written, but Boene is the best we can make out. The children look to be about 2-10 years old. They are posed in a plays scene with a cart. This portrait photograph shows a little girl pulling a cart carrying her toddler brother, as the older brother stand behind them. The older children wear matching soft sailor caps with short side streamers. The todler wears a Paddington bear hat and white dress. The girl wears a sailor dress with an added lace collar. The older boy wears a plaid dress or tunic with lace collar like his sister. The children's hair is all done in bangs with the girl having long hair. The portrait is undated, but the mount and clothing styles suggest the 1890s. The studio was D.F. Kallman in Borås. This is a town in southern Sweden. the children hair is all done n bangs with the girl having long hair. Notice how the caps are postioned to show the children's bangs. We do not think this how the caps were normlly worn. CDVs continued to be taken in many European countries long after they largely disappeared in America.

The 20th Century

We have more information on Sweden during the 20th century. We continue to see many similarities between Swedish and German family and fashion trends, especially during the early 20th century. The urban population was growing, but much of it still had rural roots. There continued to be a substantial rural population which had not yet mechanized. Many urban families would take the kids to see the grandparents during the summer or end there for a few weeks. Sailor suits continued to be very popular for boys into the interwar era. Boys commonly wore knee pants, mostly with long stockings except for the summer. Children in the country often went barefoot during the summer. We eee many boys wearing short pants which tended to replace knee pants during the 1920s. Perhaps because of the climate knickers were akso important and we cintinue to see them after World War II into the 1950s. As the population shifted from the country=side to the citues e begin to see smaller famikies become more common.


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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: March 1, 2002
Last updated: 4:34 PM 5/26/2016