French Boys' Garments: Short Pants Types

Figure 1.--Note that in this page showing children's party clothes, only the boy wears white gloves.

HBC has noted a variety of shorts worn by French boys. We have little information yet on the types worn in the early 1900s. Mpre information is available on the shorts worn at mid-century.Younger boys might wear button-on or suspender shorts. We have noted jean and cord shorts in the 1970s cut very shortly. Even German style lederhosen were popular for a time in the 1970s. We have noted that several catholic schools had blur school uniform shorts which were also popular with some choirs.

Early Shorts

We have little information yet on the types worn in the early 1900s. The early shorts tended to be knee-length like kneepants, but did not have the three ornamental buttons at the hem.

Button-on Shorts

Younger boys might wear button-on shorts.

Suspender Shorts

Suspender shorts seem to have been especially popular in France, perhaps more so than any other country. We do not have a complete chronology of suspender shorts, but they appear to have been widely worn by French boys from the 1930s through the 1950s. I have not yet noted comments from our French contributors on sespender shorts, so do not yet have any details on this style. Boys appear to have worn suspender shorts for both play an dress occasions. The most common type was parallel in front and crossing in back. We do not know of any destinctive features of French suspender shorts. As in other countries, they were mostly worn by younger boys although age trends have varied somewhat over time.

Cordroy Shorts

We do not have information on the chronology of cor shorts in France. We believe, however, that they were some of the earlies shorts worn by French boys. We have noted jean and cord shorts in the 1970s cut very shortly. Cord shorts have also been popular with scout groups.


Lederhosen were never as commonly worn in France as in Germany. Some Scouts wore lederhosen, I think mostly in the 1950s. Lederhosen were sold in the 1950s as 60s as casual boys wear. One American HBC contributor who spent a year in a French school during the mid 1960s tells me that some of his French classmates (boys 11-13) wore lederhosen to school. Since the popular adoption of jeans, especially after the late 1960s, lederhosen have mostly disappeared in France. Alsace is an area of FRance that is ethnically German. Alsace was seize by the Germans in the Franco Prussian War (1870-71), but regained by France after World War I (1914-18). A HBC reader reports, "I have never seen lederhosen there." They are being worn by two related groups of scouts (one at Riaumont near Lille and another one near Paris), but I am convinced that this is a relatively new development, aopted by the priests who founded the Riaumont group in the 1960s. It has not been adopted by any other group of French scouts, although individual Scouts may have worn them. A French reader whose mother grew up along the Swiss border tells us that he wore Lederhosen as a boy in the 1960s and provides some details about Lederhosen in France.

School Shorts

We have noted that several catholic schools had blue school uniform shorts.

Choir Shorts

which were also popular with some choirs.

Reader Comments

A Frebch reader writes, "I have notice a little detail on figure 1. The boy in the fancy garment has his ankle socks rolled. I remember about 1945-50 ankle socks were considered smarter (more fashionable) than knee socks. It is strange though that the little girl is not wearing her socks like the boy. It was a little variation in fashion after World War II. Another fashion at the time were big bows in back of rompers and dresses. In the 1950s my sister loved having big bows in her hair and dresses. Very often I rememnber seeing my sister with bows in her hair and dresses like this with large ows in back. My brother and I had no special opinion but we were often dressed in nice clothe like this."


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Created: March 31, 2001
Last updated: 5:06 PM 10/25/2007