Swiss Boys' Clothing: Demographics

Figure 1.--This commercial postcard shows a Swiss Alpine girl and boy with goat. All that is missing is Heidi. On the front it says' "6927 Gute Freunde" Good Friends). It was printed by the Photoglob Co. Zurich.

A Swiss reader writes, "I think there was a great difference between the kids whe grew up in the mountains of on farms and the ones who grew up in mor urban areas. I saw that difference on two occasions. Once, when I went to the boarding-schools and then when I was about 19 years old and fulfilled my military service. Both times I was in very close proximity of many boys or young men. While the urban kids wore more modern underwear and were the first ones to have long pants etc., we country-kids still had the old-fashioned underwear, such as union-suits, waists, stockings etc. This was very much the case at the boarding-school. We from the country got teased about that, which accelerated the change to more modern closing for us. It is however safe to say, that long underwear during cold weather was a standard piece of clothing for just about all boys. It just changed from union-suits or stockings to long underpants and undershirts and then in the early 1960s, tights came into the picture as they started to be manufactured commercially. Tights were not worn in the military, as a piece of footed clothing was not practial, especially for us in the mountain infantery where we covered long distances on foot and therfore had to be able to change our socks very often. I observed there too that those young men who came from urban areas wore more the jockey-type uderpants and a-shirts, where the "farmer-boys wore the long underpants and undershirts. My family lived back in Switzwerland in the early 1990s and I was involved in the Scout troop of my son. Long underwear had clearly become something one would only wear for outdoor activities in cold weather. Long underpants and tights are widly available in stores but clearly only sold fot that purpose. Boys, other than the the very young ones do not wear long underwear or tights on a daily basis anymore. Just for sports and outdoor-activities. There they are part of the standart equipment. As to outer-clothing the biggest difference was that the coutry-pleople still wore the heavy woolen clothing, where as the urban kids had changed to the lighter more colorful clothing." [Voute]


Voute, Thomas. E-mail message, June 7, 2006.


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Created: 3:18 AM 3/9/2008
Last updated: 3:18 AM 3/9/2008