Historical Girls' Clothing: German Girls' Chronology

German dresses 1900s
Figure 1.-- This 1903 cabinet card portrait shows what looks like the children of a prosperous middle-class family. They look to be about 6-22 years old. The girls wear a variety of popular dress and hair styles at the turn-of-the 20th century. Notice the younger girls have long hair and wear hair bows. The younger boy wears a sailor suit. One the nack we find this was a family Christmas portrait. The studio was Hermann Tiel in Hamburg. On the back we learn that the studio was part of Waarenhaus Hermann Tietz (the Hermann Tietz Department Store). Tietz was a famous Hamburg department store, kind of a German Macy's. Like several German and American department stores, it was owned by a Jewish merchant family. It would be targeted by the NAZIs after Hitler seized power.

We do not know much about German girls fashions in the 18th century, but have acquired quite a bit of information beginning in the 19th century. Girls wore dresses and skirts in the 19th century and much of the 20th century. This was a pattern observeable throughout Europe, although the time line varied from country to country. There is a great wealth of information for the late late-19th and early-20h century as a result of photography. Here we see popular dress styles at the turn-of the-20th century. World War I and II had a huge impact on fashion in America and Britain, primarily because of war mobilization, many women entered the industrial work force for the first time. This played a major role in popularizing informality in dress. We note German sisters in the 1920s. This trend toward informality was a little slower to develop in Germany. Even during World War II, the NAZIs resisted using adult women in the industrial work force, instead using slave and forced labor from the occupied countries. For the most part, German girls continued wearing skirts and dresses into the 1960s. Although we begin to see girls wearing pants in the 1940s, wsoecially during cold weathr. The popularity of Jeans in the late-1960s and 70s was was a major factor in changing girls clothing trends. We have not yet have much information on German girls' fashions. We have archived large numbers of images of German girls in the HBC boys section. We have not yet, however, assessed the fashion trends depicted there.


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Created: 3:30 AM 5/9/2015
Last updated: 3:30 AM 5/9/2015