Historical Girls' Clothing: German Girls' Decorative Garments--Hair Bows

German hair bows
Figure 1.--Here we see German twin ssters in 1913. We believe tht they were from Gladbach, an area east of Cologne. The girls look to be about 5 years old. Notice the colored hair bows they are wearing.

The most popular type of bow for girls was the hair bow. Hair bows were mostly for girls. Infant boys might have them, but not older boys even toddler boys. We are just beginning our assessment of German hair bows. Our initial assessment is that that they were most common in the early-20th century. But we are just beginning our assessment. We see both whilte and colored hair bows. Here we see twin Gladbach girls in 1913 wth matching dresses and hair bows (figure 1). We are not sure at this time just what the colors were. We see the girls 2 years later in 1915 in their First Communion outfits. For First Communion they have a flowered hair array instead of bows. We continue to see hair bows in the 1930s, although mostly for yonger girls. The 1937 school portait here is a good example. The decline of hair bows was especially after the girls joined the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM--Girls' Hitler Youth Organization). Hair bows was apparently considered too frivolus for the Hitler Youth. BDM membership was required by law when children turned 10 years of age. The younger BDM girls might wear little bows on their pig tails, but we no longer see older girls wearing the big bows on their head.


Melanson, Christine. E-mail message (November 20, 2018). Christine has kindly provided us family portraits of her mother and grandmother.


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Created: 10:46 PM 11/22/2018
Last updated: 10:46 PM 11/22/2018