Danish Boys' Clothes: Families

Figure 1.--This 1923 photo shows the four youngest boys wear identical kneepants blue sailor suits. The two older boys wear rather adult suits, although we are not sure what kind of pants the older boys are wearing. The two younger girls wear white dresses and hair bows. Notes how all the boys have short cropped hair.

Available images of Danish families provide interesting insights on how Danish boys were dressed as well as how other members of the family were dressed. We see many socuilogical and cultureal similarities with German families, especially familirs in northern Germany. Here religion and culktural similarities surely werre factors. The large German fashion and clothing industry must have also affected fashion trends in Demark. Often boys of similar age were dressed similarly. Many families could be quite large, so there were often several boys of similar age. The sailor suit was one of the most popular garments, but by the 1930s was beginning to be worn less. Older boys might wear adult-looking garments.

The 19th Century


Austria and Prussia joined together to attack tiny Denmark in the German-Dajnish War (1864). The Danes were unable to resist the invasion by two of the great European powers and lost the souther half of the country--most of Schleswig-Holstein. We note a family portrait taken in the area seized-- an Rendsburg family. The portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken in the late-1860s. It is impossible to tell if tghe family is Danish or German.


Sailor suits were very popular in the 1890s. This seems to have been a general European trend. And Denmatk wascstrinly influenced by styles in Britain and Germany. Denmark is a very small country and thus clthing styles were strongly influenced by the larger European country. Denmark did not have a sizeable navy, but it did have a maritime tradition which may have been a factor in the popularity of the sailor suit. We have one unidentified family from Kj÷ge with a younger boy wearing a sailor suit and his two older sisters wearing identical plaid dresses.

The 20th Century

The 1900s

We note boys in the 1900s wearing knicker pants with long stockings. Large bows seem popular. Children were often dress identically or in similar outfits. We notice a family photographed in Ranum, probably about 1900. We also see the Hansen family in 1909. This large family lived in southern Denmark, probably in the village of Burkal. Interestingly the family Nible is prominantly displayed. The boys wear fancy blouses and knee pants.

The 1910s

Here we have a portrait of the Sorensen family taken about 1913-14. In the center of the front row are the two parents, Soren Christian and Maren Sorenson. The others are their ten children. The younger boys wear sailor blouses with knee pants and long stockings. We have a photograph of an unidentified Danish family taken in the Danish West Indies during World war I (circa 1915-16). The Danish West Indies would a a year or so later be purcjhased by the United stayes ahd becane the Virgin Islnds (1917). Given the tropical location, they are almost all wearing white. It is a Danish family, apparently with some German friends. At the front of the photo is an adolescent boy wearing a Boy Scout uniform. Presumablky he is a Danish Scout. Also note one of the younger boys wearing rompers.

The 1920s

Boys in the 1920s still commonly wore sailor suits, especially in the early 1920s. Often all of the younger boys woukld be dressed in sailor suits into their early teens. Presunably they would wear these suits to school. During the cooler months they would be dark wool suits, often kneerpants suits worn with long stockings. By the mid-teens boys would begin to wear increasingly adult clothes. Younger school-age boys commonly had their hair cropped. Here we see a Damish family in 1923 (figure 1). Notice that the younger boys are all dressed in identical sailor suits. We also notice images of the Bohr family in the 1920s-30s.


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Created: September 18, 1998
Last updated: 6:08 AM 9/20/2010