Henry Willem Otto Voûte: Childhood Garments--Folk Outfits

Figure 1.-- Here we see my father and his sister wearing folk outfits. They seem to be Alsatian folk costumes. I believe the smock was probably blue. The portrait was taken in 1899. Note the props. My aunt has an umbrella. I'm not sure why. Father has a buggy whip in his right hand and an old fashioned pipe in his left hand. Mother made me a similar smock /blouse which I wore as a little boy.  

I note a smock outfit father is wearing in one portrait, but I think this may be more of a folk costume than an outfit he commonly wore. Note the stripped stocking cap. I believe the smockwas probablky blue. His sister wore pinafores and smocks, but other than this folk outfit I don't see father and his brothers wearing them. He is with his sister here who has an enormous hair bow--one of the largest I have ever seen. While these outfits look rather like folk outfits to me, I do not actually know much about this. I do not even know if they are Swiss or German folk costumes. Actually there may be similarities between German and Swiss folk costumes, especially in border areas. Hopefully some HBC readers will know more about folk costumes. I would be interested in any information that readers may have. A reader writes, "I recognize these clothes immediately. They are neither Swiss, nor German, but Alsatian. When the portrait was taken before World War I, Alsace was part of Hermany. Germany seized Alsace-Lorraine as a result of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Mannheim was very close to Alsace. No matter who was in charge; the folk costumes remained the same. The cap the boy is wearing and the large bow the girl is wearing is typical of Alsace." Interestingly my mother made me a similar smock which I wore when I was about the same age as father here.


Voûte, Tom. E-mail message, June 13, 2006.


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Created: 11:19 PM 6/13/2006
Last updated: 5:46 PM 6/16/2006