Dutch Boys' Clothes: Garments


Figure 1.--This 1950s image shows a little Dutch boy in a belted shorts set calling his father. The conversation of course was about Tweka clothes. It read, "Hello, daddy, I've got a real Tweka suit. That proves that Mom is a sensible woman, because there is no better woollen children's wear in such pleasant smart patterns for boys and girls. First-class finished, color proof, real, warm and easy to wear, ... and strong as iron, as is everything of Tweka. So, pay attention to the [?noise] label! Tweka woollen children's wear in the better stores." A Dutch reader tells us that such a [?character-confirming] advertisement wouldn't be tolerated today.

HBC has developed some information is available on the various garments worn by Dutch boys. Much of our information comes from the post-World War II era, but some information ois also available on earlier periods. Dutch boys wore many of the same caps and hats worn in other European countriesm but thaere was one caaistically Dutch style with a peaeked bill. Smocks were common in rural areas until about the mid-1930s. Sweaters have proven to be very popular garments in the Netherlands. I'm not sure when Dutch boys began wearing sweaters, but they are clearly being comnonly worn by the 1920s. Dutch boys like other European boys generally wore kneepants in the late 19th century. After the turn of the 19th century, short pants became increasingly common for younger boys and knickers for older boys. Various styles of shorts have been worn, includng button-on styles and suspener shorts. In the country long pants were still quite common for everyday wear. Some boys wore suspenders or bracers to keep up their pants. Younger boys wore suspender pants with the suspenders attached. Although not a common style, some Dutch boys, likeboys in other European countries did wear romers. Sunsuits were also popular for younger boys. long black stockings were worn under the famous black trousers. Kneesocks became increasingly common by the 1910s, but did not entirely replace long stockings. Dutch boys are perhaps most noted for wearing wooden shoes. In fact this was a style most common among boys from modest-mcome families are living in rural areas. Dutch boys have worn a wide range of footwear.

Headwear

Dutch boys have worn many cap and hat styles similar to those worn by other European boys. Younger boys in the 18th century might wear "fall" caps. I'm not sire, however, if these were exclusively Dutch. Sailor hats were especially popular in the late 19th and early 20th century as many Dutch boys wore sailor suits. In the late 19th and early 20th century Dutch boys also commonly wore military looking caps with a hard viser or bill. These caps were called "kleppet". It was a characteristically Dutch style. I'm not sure of the origins of those caps.

Skirted Garments

We see Dutch boys wear a variety of skirted garments. Younger Dutch boys like other European boys for several centuries commonly wore dresses for several years before they were breeched and began to wear trousers like their fathers. HBC at this time has little information about this parctice in the Netherlands. Available imagesm however, provide some information on the styles of dresses worn over time. As in the rest of Europe, this practice began to decline after the turn of the 20th century. HBC has little information about Dutch boys wearing smocks. We do not believe that they were as common as in some neighboring Belgium. Some images from the turn of the century do show Dutch boys wearing pinafore-like smocks. A Dutch source reports that boys did wear smocks, but not as a part of the school clothing like in France/Spain/Italy. Smocks are called "boerenkiel" (kiel=smock for boeren=peasants) and were common in rural areas until about the mid-1930s. Smocks declined in popularity in the 1940s and especially the 1950s. By the late 1950s they were only being worn by younger boys. We have not yet noted boys wearing kilts, but our information is still limited. We do note boys wearing tunics, especially at the turn-of-the 20th century.

Sailor Suits

The sailor suit was one of the most important Dutch boy's style for perhaps three generations. The authors believe that the sailor suit was an especially popular style in the Netherlands, perhaps in part due to the country's maritime tradition. We still have limited information on Dutch sailor suits, but they appear to have been widely worn by the 1880s. Sailor suits were normally worn with kneepants or knickers. After World War I (1914-18) short pants sailor suits become more important, but were worn by younger boys. HBC has not noted destinctively styled Dutch sailor suits, but rather boys wore common styles developed in other countries. Probably English and German styles were the most important influences.

Suits

Dutch boys used to wear suits more commonly than is the case today. Boys used to have much more limited wardrobes than is the case today, but many would have suits. Suit styles appear to have been influence by English styles. Younger boys wore short pants suits while older boys may have worn knicker suits--especially during the winter. Some boys wore suits to school, but this became less common in the 1950s. There have also been a variety of suits styled specifically for younger boys.


Figure 2.--Sweaters throughout the 20th century were one of the most important garments worn by Dutch boys.

Sweaters

The Dutch winters can be quite cold. Thus sweaters ("trui") have proven to be very popular garments in the Netherlands. I'm not sure when Dutch boys began wearing sweaters, but they are clearly being comnonly worn by the 1920s (surely appearing much earlier). They are still very popular today. HBC has, however, little information on sweater styles and patterns.

Jackets

Jackets like sweaters are important garments for Dutch boys who often have to contend with chilly weather. The modern jacket, however is a relatively recent development. This is in part because most Dutch boys until the post-World War II era did not have extensive wardrobes to include specialty garments like jackets. In our modern era almost all Dutch boys have jackets of a wide variety of discriptions.

Coats

HBC at this time has limited information on the types of coats worn by Dutch boys. One image shows a coat worn in the 1860s that looks rather like styles worn in England during the early Victorian era.

Shirts and Blouses

Younger boys wore a variety of blouses often with large collars. Eton and Peter Pan collars were two favorites. Often they were made with button on styling. Boys generally wore solid colored long sleeve white shirts through the 1910s. After World War I (1914-18) many other styles of shirts became more common, including short sleeved shirts. Colored and paterned shirts also became more prevalent.

Ties

HBC has relatively limited information in the ties worn by Dutch boys. Dutch boys have worn both neck ties and bow ties. One Dutch contributor remembers wearing what he calls a "butter-fly" bow tie as a boy. Modern Dutch boys dress up less commonly than in the past so the usage of ties in general have declined.

Bows

American an European boys in the latter half of the 19th century common wore bows with a variety of outfits. The pattern and styles varied over time and from country to country. Boys continued to wear bows in the early 20th centuty. We are, however, just beginning to compile onfprmation about the bows worn by Dutch boys.

Pants

Dutch boys like other European boys generally wore kneepants in the late 19th century. After the turn of the 19th century, short pants became increasingly common for younger boys and knickers for older boys. Various styles of short pants ("korte broek") have been worn, includng button-on styles and suspener shorts. In the country long pants ("lange broek") were still quite common for everyday wear. Shorts continued to be commonly worn in the 1950s, but by the 1960s, long pants were becoming much more important.

Shorts Sets

Many Dutch boys in the late 1940s and 50s wore shorts sets. This was a combination outfit for younger boys with matching or coordinate shirts and short pants. Some had self belts, belts in the same material as the shorts.

Rompers

Although not a common style, some Dutch boys, likeboys in other European countries did wrar romers. It was a style for younger boys and appears to have been most common during the 1940s and 50s. They could have been worn earlier, but HBC at this time had little information on the 1930s. There is no Dutch word with the precise meaning of romers. The Dutch say "speelpakje," a suit to play in or play suit.

Sunsuits

A variety of sunsuits for younger boys appearedin the late 1940s. They might have existed earlier, but HBC befins to notice them in the late 1940s. They were a style for yonger boys, similar in some ways to rompers, but without the elasticized leg openings. As with many Dutch garments of this period, some were made in knit.

Suspension

Some boys wore suspenders or bracers to keep up their pants. Younger boys wore suspender pants with the suspenders attached. Some younger boys wore button on shorts. Older boys wore belts which was the most common way for boys to keep their pants up. In some instanced boys wore their belts over their sweaters rather than to hold up their pants. HBC has no information on the origins of this style.

Hosiery

One Dutch contributor reports that at the turn of the 20th century, long black stockings were worn under the famous black trousers. Kneesocks becanme increasingly common by the 1910s, but did not entirely replace long stockings. Younger Dutch boys continued wearing long stockings into the 1940s. They tended to be lighter colors than had been worn earlier. They were worn by boys wearing shorts in colder months. I'm not sure if Dutch boys wore tights like German boys.

Other Garments

HBC has noted a variety of Dutch garments which are difficult to describe. Often the photographic images do not provide a good depiction of these garments. We will archive these images here until they can be more fully identified and described. Reader comments will be most appreciated in developing information on these garments.

Footwear

Dutch boys are perhaps most noted for wearing wooden shoes. In fact this was a style most common among boys from modest-mcome families are living in rural areas. Dutch boys have worn a wide range of footwear. Yonger boys might wear strap shoes for dress occasions. Sturdy shoes were most common in at the turn of the 20th century. Gradually by the 1920s Oxford-style shoes became increasingly common. It was at this time that sandals appeared. At first English-style school sandals were the most common, but other styles appeared after World War II. Sneakers became increasingly popular in the 1970s.









HBC





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Created: March 2, 2001
Last updated: 5:21 PM 10/23/2008