German Boys' Clothes: Garments--Cold Weather Clothing

Figure 1.-- Here we see an unidentified Germany boy in 1926 with a great shepard. They are prepared for some winter fun. The boy wears a knit stocking cap with winter design, a double breasted pea jacket, and cloth leggings. He looks to be about 5-6 years old.

We note German boys wearing a wide range of inclemate weather gear. Located in northern Europe, the weather can be quite cold in the Winter. Thus we note boys wearing a range of warm clothing. We do not see winterwear commonly in 19th century studio portraits. Mothers commonly took off the winter togs. After the turn-of-the 20th century with the appearance of the family snapshot we see many more excamples of children wearing their cold weather winter clothing. We do not know of many destinctive German styles. We notice coats and jackets as well as a range of sweaters worn by German boys. We also notice snow suits as well as ski outfits.


We do not have much information on capes. Our informtion is limited because of our still sparse 19th century Germam archive. We are not sure about the early 19th century, but we see them in the late 19th century photographic record. We do not note them in the 20th century. They were not a destinctively boys' or even child's garment. We note capes being worn by girls as well as men and women. We do not have enough images yet to know how styles varied over time and how boys and girls capes varied.


The weather can get quite cold in Germany durng the winter. Thus we see boys wearing a variety of heavy cold-weather coats. We see German boys wearing a variety of different coats. In the early 20th century they were often worn with kneepants or short oants. We note different styles of overcoats like the boy here wears. We also notice trench coat style gaberdine overcoats like the ones commonly worn by British school boys. The popularity of the different styles have varied overtime.

Gloves and Mittens

We are not sure just how common gloves and mittens were for German children. Of course in the 19th centuryt, glasves were worn for formality and not just cold weather, but yhis was more gfor adults. We do not see many children wearing gloves and mittens during the 19th century, but this is because for studio portraits the children commonly took off their heavy winter outerwear. This changes with the 20th century anbd the appearance of family snapshots, we begin to see many images of children playoutside during the wiunter. An we this see children with their winter togs, includings gloves and mittens.


A jacket is essentially a short coat. The two basic differences netween coats and jackets are the length and formality. They come in many different styles and weights. Many are light-weight, essentilly short coat. Most jackets do not have padding/insulation or are very lightly padded. There are also heavily padded jackets, commonly knoewn as ski jackets. Jackets are casual garments not worn as part of formal attire. Children off wear themn to school on cool days. They are done in many different styles and in different materials. Some are water resistant, but usually not waterproof. The jacket is a largely 20th-century garment. Boys in the 19th century tended to have limited wardrobes unless from well-to-do families. Thus most had a winter coat and a suit coat, but not an intermediary garment. This became more common in the 20th century, largely a function of rising income levels. After World War I we see noys with sweaters abd during the 1930s with Hitler Youth jackets. We also see another jacket with a sailor back flap, another kind of youth unifoirm garment. Jackes do not become really common in Germany, however, until after World War II when the German Economic Miracle begins and families negan to have higher levels of descresionary income. We begin to see boys wearing all kinds of different jackets.


We are not sure when knit suits first appeared in Germany. We note beginn notiing them in the 1910s, but they could have appeared earlier. Knit suits consisted of matching tops and pants and ususlly short pants, even though they were cold weather wear. The shorts were at first often long, bit got shorter during the inter-War era. We are not sure if knit outfits were as common for girls. They seem done dor younger children. We see both pre-school and younht primary boys wearing them. Knit outfits seem very popular in the inter-War era. We note a German boy in a portrait with his sister in 1929. He wears a knit suit with matching top and pants. The knit is done in a ribbed style. We continue to see knit outfits after World War II, often stylish outfits. We notice many colorful knit patterns offered by Burda since the 1960s. Knit sits began to decline in popularity during the 1970s.



Sweaters are widely worn by German boys. The northern European climate makes the sweater a pratical garment for childre. But because girls mostly wore dresses , you do not see nerly as many girls wearing sweaters. The weather was not varable like the British weather. Thus there was less need for a garment the children could take off and put back on. There was, however a need for cold weather clothing. We do not yet have a fix on the chronology of sweaters. We see sweaters mostly in the 20th century. This may partially why vesta were so common in the 19th century. They were worn in circumstances like sweaters were worn in the 19th century. We notice quite a few styles of sweaters. This was made somewhat complicated by the fact that these garments were often hand knitted at home. Many European boys during the 1920s began wearing sweaters, which tended to be made longer than now, extending below the waist line. We have observed this convention in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands as well as other countries. We do not know why this convention developed. We also notice boys tucking their sweaters into thewaistband of their pants, some you never see today. An example is an unidentified schoolboy in 1943. Later the swearters became shorter and were cut at the waist and often tucked inside the pants. We also notice boys wearing belts over their sweaters which meant the belts served no real purpose other than adornment.


We notice quite a few portraits of American children wearing leggings, both learther and cloth leggings. We see very few examples of German children wearing leggings. We have not yet noted leather leggings which were worn in the 19th century. We have found a few images of children wearing cloth leggings in the 20th century. It is difficult to tell is this is a good reflection of the actual degree to which they were worn. Our archive of 19th century images is limited, so our assessment is probably not yet valid. We do have a fairly extesive archive of 20th century images and we think they do accurately reflect the fact that German children did not commonly wear legging. In fact we often see Grman boys wearing short pants during the winter, although commonly with long stockings or knee socks.


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Created: 1:46 AM 4/29/2011
Last updated: 1:46 AM 4/29/2011