My father was an English serviceman following the war and I was consequently
brought up in military communities throughout the world.
During the 1950's we lived mainly in England. As many service men had married German women while serving in Germany following the war even in England many boys wore lederhosen.
In the mid 60's my father was posted to Northern Germany and at that time most boys including the sons of servicemen wore lederhosen, particularly during the summer moths. I was 15 years old and was soon wearing these leather shorts in common with most of my friends. They were usually worn with an open necked shirt and either long socks or ankle socks and were
ideal for walking, cycling and camping being virtually indestructible. I recall having 2 pairs at different times, the first a grey leather pair of shorts with a button flap at the front and leather suspenders, the second made from a dark green Napa leather with zip fasteners, a belt and no suspenders.
Our lederhosen were generally worn quite short with their pant legs turned up and were extraordinarily comfortable. They were still commonly being worn when my father returned to the UK in 1972 and, because they are so comfortable and regularly continue to visit Germany I still wear lederhosen from time to time today.
I am not sure who chose my first pair or why and I am of course aware
of the huge variation in styles. Although only visiting Germany for
relatively short periods I had been a keen Scout and joined the local
British troop. All the boys wore lederhosen rather than the more usual
shorts worn by British Scouts at that time (this may have been a decision
made by the adult leaders since lederhosen were worn by all the local German
troops who we met with occaisonally). Most of the boys wore the type with dark green nappa leather shorts with two
zips and a scout belt and this may well have been the reason for me getting
my second pair.
We mostly wore ordinary "office" or school shoes although, if we were
camping or cycling etc we would wear trainers or similar. As far as I recall
German boys wore much the same footwear.
When dressed up I would normally wear a jacket and tie with
conventional long trousers, although occaisonally when attending casual
parties during the day e.g. barbeques, some of us would wear lederhosen. I
think that by that time in Northern Germany most German boys were wearing
similar clothes for special occaisons. However, I have a close friend who
has no military connections although the family have many German friends. I
have seen a photo of John attending a wedding at the age of 10 or 11 dressed
I always attended English schools, mainly in the U.K. but also for a time
in Cyprus. Incidentally, even here some boys occaisonally wore lederhosen
having lived previously in Germany. During my parents time in Germany I
attended an English boarding school in U.K. but visited them at least 5 times
a year and it was on one of my first visits that I had my first pair of
lederhosen. Many of my boarding school friends were sons of servicemen
stationed in Germany and most of these boys had at least one pair. Although
we never wore these to school (strict uniform rules applied) they were often
worn at weekends during the summer.
In England by 1972 many schools were turning from traditional uniforms
and jeans were becoming more popular for all ages. Never the less many
schools (including my own) maintained a strict dress code of grey trousers,
shirt with tie and blazer with short pants and long socks being insisted
upon in the junior forms. This continues in a few places today.
I recall that large numbers of German boys did wear lederhosen to
school during summer months and even occaisonally university students.
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