German Boys' Clothing Glossary (M-Z)

Figure 1.--We note a number of German boys wearing jackets and suits with Norfolk jackets at the turn of the 20th century. Tghis image is unidentified, except that it was taken in Lobenstein. The Norfolk jacket appears to have been a popular school style ( Schulanzugs )

We will archive foreign language terms here. We will use English language definitions, although we may try to add foreign language definitions in the future. At the least the alphabetical listing of foreign terms will help our non-English speakers navigate HBC and find the topics of interest. We also plan to use this page to follow foreign-language fashion terms which provide insights into fashion developments. Again this project will require some time to persue so it will be a while before we will be able to compile a substantial list. Many German clothing terms are destinct, but there are also some similarities with English. Here are the German words associated with closing and fashion that we have noted. Hopefully our German readers will help us build and improve the list.

Manchester (der Manchester, singular only): That is (was) the name in Germany for corduroy since about 1860. The term developed because corduroy was developed in England and Manchester was a great production center. Now the term Kord (Cord) or Kordsamt is now used in Germany.

Mantel/mäntel (der Mantel/die Mäntel): Coat or overcoat

Matrosenanzug (der Matrosenanzug/die Matrosenanzüge): : Few boys' clothing styles have been as important or so widey worn as the sailor suit. The sailor suit is certainly one of the classic styles for boys' clothing. Originally conceived in England, it soon became an internationally acepted style, easily crossing national borders. The classic sailor suit has changed little over time, although the pants worn with it have changed. While the classic style has changed little, there have been many variation on the classic style worn first by the British princes and subsequently by royals and commoners throughout Europe and America.

Mieder (das Mieder/die Mieder): Bodice such as the top part of a girl's dress.

Mode (die Mode/die Moden): Fashion

Modisch (an adjective): Fashionable

Mütze (die Mütze/die Mützen): Eine Mütze is the generic terms for all different kinds of caps. It is often used without an adjetival sufix for berets and bonnets. It is used with an adjitival suffix to descripe specific kinds of caps. In Germany and Austria stocking or watch caps, for example, are called Eine Pudelmütze. Other styles were die Schülermütze and die Schirmmütze.

Netzhemd (das Netzhemd/die Netzhemden): Singlet

Norfolk Jacke (die Norfolk Jacke/die Norfolk Jacke): One reader reports hearing a German tailor talking about a crease or pleat in the back of a "Norfolk Jacken" in combination with a belt or strap, a so-called "die Golffalte/die Golffalten" (golf pleat) that could run from the center of the back or alongside the sleeves.

Ohrring (der Ohrring/die Ohrringe): Earring

Ohrenschützer (der Ohrenschützer/die Ohrenschützer): Ear muffs

Pantoffel (der Pantoffel/die Pantoffel): House shoe, slippers.

Pferdeschwanz (der Pferdeschwanz/die Pferdeschwänze): a pigtail is a "Zopf" in Germany. The term "braided" meaning "geflochten". But you don't need to add "geflochten" because as I understand the term a "Zopf" includes the braiding already. If it is not braided it is a "Pferdeschwanz" (literally translated "horsetail" but I guess in English its a ponytail).

Pony (das Pony/die Ponis oder die Ponies): The Germans use "pony" or "ponies" terms of course derived from English. According to a dictionary, the word is used for the hair cut, because a pony has a similar fringed mane. This would explain its British word "fringe". An older form for "pony" (a juvenile horse) is "powny", Old French "poulenet", French "poulain" is from Latin "pullanus": "pullus" meaning "foal". Both terms were introduced in German during the 19th century. (A German reader, however, writes "Sorry, I am not aware of these words in the German language). This of course would be confused in English where a "pony tail" hair cut is a girl's hair style where the hair is shaped into one or two stands that are worn behind the head, much like a "quque" that men wore in the 18th century.

Pudelmütze (die Pudelmütze/die Pudelmützen): In Germany and Austria stocking or watch caps are very popular during the winter and called Eine Pudelmütze or simply eine Mütze.

Pullover (der Pullover/die Pullover): Sweater. In English pullover refers to a sweater pulled over the head without buttons. In German it appears to be a general term for sweater.

Regenmantel (der Regenmantel/die Regenmäntel) : Raincoat

Revers (das Revers/die Revers): Lapel

Riemen (der Riemen/die Riemen): Belt. Another German word is der Gürtel/die Gürtel.

Rock (der Rock/die Röcke): Little European and American boys until well after the turn of the 20th Century wore dresses and other skirted garments like kilt suits. Other skirted garments include smocks and pinafores. American boys rarely wore actual Highland regalia with bright plaids. One skirted garment I know less about are actual skirts.

Sakko (der Sakko/die Sakkos): Jacket, both casual and suit jackets. Another German term is Jacke/Jacken

Sandale (die Sandale: The plural is die Sandalen): A Sandale is a type of shoe fastened to the foot with thongs or straps. Sandals have been worn since ancient times. There are two basic types of sandals, closed toe and open toe sandals.

Schlafanzug(der Schlafanzug/die Schlafanzüge): Pyjamas

Schirmmütze (die Schirmmütze/die Schirmmützen): Some German readers have mentioned a "Schirmmütze". I'm not sure what "Schirm" means. "Mütze" was of course the general term for cap. It is rather like a ski cap. It was worn by Hitler Youth boys as part of their Winter uniform. Another HBC reader reports, "I used to wear a blue Schirmmütze. I noticed an image of a boy wearing one on the long stocking page. My Schirmmütze was bought for me, because I liked the "Michel aus Lönneberga" (Swedish: Emil) books by Astrid Lindgren so much. My parents used to read the books to me and the main character wearing a Schirmmütze is pictured in them. I decided I wanted to wear one of them. You could open its sidewings. I wear it during the winter." Another German reader writes, "A Schirmmütze looks very similar to a baseball cap with a visor, but no opening in the rear and, possibly, with small sidewings to protect the ears from cold air." I'm not sure I would liken it to a baseball cap as the viser (peak or brim) is very small and there is no rounded crown.

Schlips (der Schlips/die Schlipse): Necktie. Another German term is die Krawatte/die Krawatten.

Schlägermütze (die Schlägermütze/die Schlägermützen): The flat cap may sometimes be called "Schlägermütze" but I am not psitive that this is the best translation. Certainly in Germany it was worn as a symbol for the working class. A German reader writes, "Yes and no. The term today is used as a term for a teenager who is beating people, a Schläger." I'm not sure why this usage developed, but probably reflects how the middle-class viewed the working class.

Schleife (die Schleife/die Schleifen”): The basic word for bow is die Schleife. There are several related words for different kinds of bows. “Haarschleife” is a hairbow, “Zopfschleife” is a bow on a pigtail, a classic item for a German girl. “Halsschleife” is a bnow worn as neckwear, very common in the late 19th century. “Schuhbendelschleife” is a bnow worn on shoes. “Schleifchen” (diminishing of a “Schleife”) is a bow worn at the sleeve of a shirt/blouse/cloth/etc. I am not familiar with this.

Schottenröck (der Schottenrock/die Schottenröcke): This is the German word for kilt. It is a garment for girls in Germany, although Germans know that men and boys wear it in Scotland. It is the „das Schottenmuster“ which gives the name, caros or rectangle patterns. The plural is Schottenroecke.

Schulanzüug: The plural is Schulanzüege. German boys didn't have to wear any special uniforms to school, so they wore what ever their parents bought for them. A Polish reader reserching boys clothes in Beslau (now a Polish city) writes, "In magazines from the 1900s there were something like Schulanzüge (clothes considered as more elegant and 'correct' to school) ...."

Schülermüze (der Schulanzug. The plural is die Schulanzüge): The "Schülermütze" cap was a military style with a leather brim. I believe it appeared in the 1910s. By the 1930s it was going out of fashion. The color pattern of the cap indicated the year of secondary school that a boy belonged. The cap came in various colors. One German reader reports a dark green Schülermüze with a orange and yellow band and a black brim.

Schuhe (der Schuh/die Schuhe): Boys have worn a wide variety of shoes over time.

Schuluniform (die Schuluniform/die Schuluniformen): School for most children is the major experience with the world outside the home. About a third of the day is spent at school and about half of a child's waking hours. School clothing did not used to be a great issue. Mom and dad chose it or the school had a uniform. In our modern world, kids haver become much more concerned with their clothes. The cost of those clothes and conflicts associated weith them have caused many schools and parents to reaasess the school uniform. Some countries are beginning to reverse the decline in uniform usage. School uniforms have varried from country to country and over time. The school uniform familiar to our British friends consist of a blazer, school tie, and dress pants which is worn by boys in many countries, especially English-speaking countries. This uniform evolvedin the England during the late 19th century. Blazers were at first sports wear, but in the 1920s began to replace Eton suits and stiff Eton collars and by the 1930s had become the standard uniform at many private schools.

Schürze (der Schurz/die Schürzen): Schürze means both apron and pinafore. The smock-like pinafore worn by girls were very common in both Austria and Germany through the 1950s. It was worn by little girls and women over their dresses. It was called " Eine Schürze " and was normaly white. To emphasize that it s a child's pinafore instead of an apron, a German speaker might use "Kinderschuerze," but just palin "Schürze" was commonly used as well. A German reader tells us that the Schürzen were for women and girls. We have noted some photographs of boys wearing them, especially younger boys.

Schutzkappe (die Schutzkappe/die Schutzkappen): The cap (with a visor or peak), In past boys used to wear the french style béret, nowadays has been replaced by cap with its visor on side over ear if not completely backwards. A German reader notes that this is a rather unusual synonym for „Schirmmütze“. A second meaning of „Schutzkappe“ is a (workers) shoe over the toes.

Stulpen (die Stulpe/die Stulpen): Cuff. Cuffs might be done in the German or Austrian style like at the Volkstracht.

Slipper (der Slipper/die Slipper) : Loafer or slip-on shoe

Socke (die Socke/die Socken): Sock

Spielanzug (der Spielanzug/die Spielanzüge): The romper was in many ways the beginning of a revolution in children's clothes. It was the first true play suit and the first garment (other than dresses and pantalettes) designed for both boys and girls. One of greatest change in children's clothing occuring after the turn of the century was the declining custom of dressing boys in skirts until the age of 4 to 6 years ended. While the custom did not disappear until the beginning of the 1920s, it became increasingly less common as the century progressed. One of the reason for this decline was the appearance of rompers for younger children. Other fashions appeared for little boys. One of those fashions were one-piece romper suits which were worn by both boys and girls. Older boys wore short pants. In America, School-age boys wore knickers.

Sportjackett (das Sportjackett/die Sportjacketts): Sports jacket

Stiefel (der Stiefel/die Stiefel) : Boot

Stoff (der Stoff/die Stoffe): Fabric

Strumpfband (das Strumpfband/die Strumpfbänder): A "Strumpfband" is an elastic band around the upper end of the Lange Strumpf (sing.) or longstockings to hold them up.

Strümpfe (der Strumpf/die Strümpfe): Hosiery or hose are tailored coverings for the feet or legs worn with shoes or sandals. The extent to which legs were covered and not just feet depended on the fashion trnds of the era, especially the hem length of pants, skirts, and related garments. Modern hose are made of knitted or woven fabric, but this has not always been the case throughout history. Hoisery in American usage is synomous with hose, but in Briatain may refer to any machine-knitted garment. The discussion here refers to the American usage. Strümpfe are socks and stockings irrespective of their length, but not tights. Nowadays, however, many people younger than about 50 years of age use the same word, "die Strumpfhose/die Strumpfhosen" (tights), for both, long stockings and tights. It seems to be a lack of insight into the difference between both. A German reader cautions about the umlaut, "Strumpf has no umlaut when singular, but the plural carries umlaut. Therefore: ein Strumpf, zwei Strümpfe, eine Strumpfhose, zwei Strumpfhosen."

Strumpfhalter (der Strumpfhalter/die Strumpfhalter): A "Strumpfhalter" is a suspender fixed to the Lange Strumpf or long stockings by means of either a "..." (clasp, I don´t know the German term) or a "Wäscheknopf" (white button) which is sewn to the stocking. The "Strunmpfhalter are fixed either to a "Leibchen" (bodice, for younger children) or a "Strumpfhaltergürtel" (suspender belt) for older children.

Strumpfhosen (die Strumpfhose/die Strumpfhosen): Tights or garments looking like tights have been worn for centuries. Ove most of this era they were worn by adults, mostly men, and not children. They fell from style in the late 16th century as men began wearing knee breeches. They appeared again in the 19th century for specialized wear such as theatricals and athletics. They did not become coomonly worn children's clothes until after World War II in the late 1940s and early 50s. Children wore over the knee stockings in the early 20th century, but these were usually stockings and not tights. Conventions for wearing tights have varied from country to country. Very young boys might wear tights in America and England, but they were mostly worn by girls. In continental Europe and Japan it was more common for boys to wear them. A German reader tells us that this has changed in Germany and tights are increasingly seen as a girl's garment.
T-shirt (das T-Shirt/die T-Shirts): The English word T-shirt is used in German. T-Shirts along with Jeans are some of the most commonly worn clothes worn by modern boys. In is interesting to note that neither were commonly worn by American boys until after the Second World War (1945). Until the 1940s boys almost always wore shirts with collars, although collar styles had changed greatly over the years. These clothes did not reach Europe and Engand until the 1960s-70s.

Teufelsmuetze (die Teufelsmütze/die Teufelsmützen): One German boy tells HBC that he wore a cap (with visor) for going out which was called a "Teufelsmuetze" (or "devil's cap") which was woolen knit covering the head and ears. It came to a point on the forehead between the eyes, therefore the name. nother German reader as provides us a photograph of him in his Teufelsmuetzehttp: Stefan

Trikot (das Trikot/die Trikots): A trikot is a shirt worn mainly by sportsmen.

Uniforms (die Uniform/die Uniformen): Boys since the 19th century have worn various types of uniforms. The idea of wearing uniforms have varied greatly in popularity in different historical periods. Uniforms were very popular with boys at the turn of the 20th century. The idea of wearing a uniform has become much less popular with most boys by the end of the century.

Unterhose (die Unterhose/die Unterhosen): Undershorts, briefs.

Unterhemd (die Unterhemd/die Unterhemden): Undershirt.

Unterjacke (die Unterjacke/die Unterjacken): Uundervest.

Volkstracht (die Volkstracht/die Volkstrachten): Folk costume

Weste (die Weste/die Westen): is another old German term which has entered the English language. The German word for vest is "Weste". Curiously Americans seem to use vest in the German sense rather than the English sense of undershirt. The English term for vest is waistcoat.

Zopf (der Zopf/die Zöpfe): a pigtail is a "Zopf" in Germany. Theterm "braided" meaning "geflochten". But you don't need to add "geflochten" because as I understand the term a "Zopf" includes the braiding already. If it is not braided it is a "Pferdeschwanz" (literally translated "horsetail" but I guess in English its a ponytail).

Zubehör (das Zubehör/die Zubehöre, plural usually not used): Accessories


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Created: March 20, 2003
Last updated: 3:45 PM 8/30/2004