German Schoolwear:  Garments

Figure 1.--This German photograph looks to be a school group taken in the early 1950s. Several of the boys wear lederhosen, some with the halter. We at first thought this was a school group, but a German reader tells us that it is more likely a children's group home. Click on the imge for a fuller discussion. Click on the image to see the full group.

German boys have worn a wide variety of school clothes. Unlike British and French school boys there is no destinctive style assocaited with German school boys. Many German boys beginning in the 1920s seem to have worn lederhosen to school, but this from available images appears to have usually been a minority of the boys in most classes. Wearing lederhosen also varied regionally in German, being most common in Bavaria. HBC has little information on schoolwear in Germany during the 19th century. We note that many younger school boys in the early 20th century wore sailor suits to school. Sailor hats were also common, although many boys also wore an army-style peaked cap. Sailor suits declined in popularity during the NAZI era (1933-45). Suits were commonly worn in the 1920s and 30s. Hitler Youth uniforms were sometimes worn to school. I am not sure if there was a specific day for this, as was common for Scouts in many American schools through the 1950s. Casual shirts and sweaters had become nmore common by the 1940s. Suits by the 1950s were rarely worn to school.


German boys have worn a wide variety of school clothes. Unlike British and French school boys there is no destinctive style assocaited with German school boys. Lederhosen may be an exception here, but unlike British and French school styles, lederhosen were never worn by more than a minority of boys and were most common in one region--Bavaria.


We have noted substantial variations in the garments worn by German school children over time. We have very limited information on the 19th century until the later decades. We have very detaile information on the 20th century because of the abundance of available school pgotigraphs. German children did not wear school uniforms. Therefore they wore ordinarcy child and youth fashions. For many years children wore their better clothing to school, often dressing up. This varies somnewhat by academic level and chronolohical period. There was one exception here and this was the school cap. German boys wore a kind of peaked military cap to school. Not all boys wore them, but we note them both in primary and secondary schools. We are not sure when the German school cap first developed , but we note them in the early 19th century and they continued to be worn in the 1930s, but not after World War II (1939-45).

Specific Garments

German boys have worn a wide range of garments to school over time. This of course varied chrnologically. German boys did not normally wear school uniforms, except for boys attnding military schools. Thus there are no school uniform garments in the same sence as in England. Thus the garments worn to school are a good reflection of popular contemporary dress patterns. While there were no uniforms, there were certain garments that were commonly worn by boys for school. Perhaps the most popular garment was the sailor suit. Sailor and army-styled caps were also popular. We see many boys wearing suits of various styles to school, but this became less common during the inter-War era and was gradually went out of style asfter the War. Lederhosen were commonly worn in in Bavaria, but less so in other parts of Germany.

Additional Information

Related Links: Careful this will exit you from the Boys' Historical Clothing web site, but both sites are highly recommended

Apertures Press New Zealand book: E-Bookon New Zealand schools available

Boys' Preparatory Schools: Lovely photographic essay of British preparatory schools with some over 200 color and black and white photographs depicting the schools during the 1980s

Apertures Press British book: E-Bookon British preparatory schools available


Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1880s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]
[The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]

Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Return to the Main school page]
[Return to the Main country page]
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer [School sandals]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Pages
[Return to the Main German School Page]
[Australia] [England] [France] [Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Scotland]
[United States]

Navigate the HBC School Section
[Activities] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Debate] [Economics] [Garment] [Gender] [Hair] [History] [Home trends] [Literary characters]
[School types] [Significance] [Transport and travel [Uniform regulations] [Year level] [Other topics]
[Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to the Historic Boys' School Home]

Created: February 27, 2002
Last updated: 8:59 PM 3/11/2009