German School Wear during Imperial Germany, 1913: Class 2

Figure 1.--This German primary class was photographed in 1913. While I have the names of the children, I do not know the name of the school. It may have been a school near Hamburg.

German schools were some of the most highly recognized throughout Europe in the years before World War I. It is thus instructive to look at some of them. There were no uniforms at the schools. Many of the children dress very similarly, but there were also some significant differences from school to school.


I do not have details on this school or which class itv was. The children look to be about 10 years old. It does appear to be one class in a large school as the children are all about the same age. The building and background suggest that it may have been a suburb or a small town school. I do not know what type of school it is or where it is located--although it may have near Hamburg. It was a coeducational classappears to be a coeducationalboys' school, I'm not sure how common this was in German schools. The photograph was taken in 1913. The teacher is a man, even at the primary level. He is located at the right and looks quite serious.


The boys are wearing quite similar clothes, mostly wear sailor suits are plain jackets. None of the boys wear smocks, but many of the girls wear pinafores.

Figure 2.--Two of the boys here wear middy blouses, although one is quite dark and difficult to tell. The boy on the right wears a plain jacket. Notice the shaved heads.


It is likely that manu of these children wore hats or caps to school. But took them off upon arrival so we do not get to see their headgear. I'm not sure how many of these boys would have worn sailor caps to go with their sailor suits.


None of the boys wear smocks. Smocks were more associated with France, but younger boys at some schools may have worn them.

Floppy bows

None of the boys wear floppy bows. HBC has noted younger boys wearing them at some schools. A few of the boys do wear sailor scarves with their sailor suits. Nobe of the boys wear ties.

Sailor suits

About half of the boys are wearing sailor suits. The girls do not appear to be wearing the sailor fashion. The boys wear both light-colored stripped suits and dark suits. The detailing varies from suit to suit, but the general strling is quite similar. None of the boys appear to be wearing the traditional white or blue suits woth three stripes. The light-colored suits are all stripped suits. One of the boys in the stripped suit does have a collar with the three traditional white stripes. I'm not sure about the colors, but you would asume blue on white. Some of the boys are wearing middy blouses with horizontal striped dickeys. Other boys wear plain dickies. Many of the boys wear kneeapnrs suit, but some boys may be wearing long pants. Some of the outfits are sailor suits, these seem to be most kneepants suits. Other boys war middy blouses with trousers that did not match.

Figure 3.--Two of these boys wear light-colored stripped middy blouses. One clearly wear kneepants, the other boy may wear long panrs. The other boy appears to wear a Russian blouse outfit. Again notice the shaved heads.


Several of the boys wear plain jackets, buttoned to the collar. They appear to be heavy jackets although it does not appear to be a cold day. All of the outfits have long sleeves.

Russian blouses

A few boy appear to be wearing dark Russian blouse type garments with shoulder buttons.


It is hard to assess just wehat kind of pants the boys wear. Some boys are claerly wearing kneepants. Some seem to be wearing long pants, athough that is no clear. I do not see any boys wearing short pants or knickers.


None of the boys appear to be wearing plain shirts or shirt waists as they were called at the time.


All of the boys wearing kneepants wear long dark stockings. They all seem to be the same dark color. The stockings extend just above the knee as can be observed with one boy in a kneepants sailor suit. The girls probably wear the same long stockings. The stockings are not being worn for warmth as the leafy background as the children's demeanor show that it is not a cold day.

Figure 4.--Notice the boy on the left wearing a kneepants stripped sailor suit. You can tell that his stockings come only slightly above the knee, providing an idea of the length of the stockings. He is one of the few boys wearing an actual sailor suit with matching middy blouse and kneepants.


The way the boys are sitting it is difficult to tell what kind of shoes they are wearing. I do not see any snadals.

Girls Clothes

The girls all wear dressess--many with pinafores. None appear to wear sailor dresses. The pinafores are in a wide variety of colors. None of the girls wear hairbow. Pergaps they were not allowed.

Hair Cuts

The boys in the photograph all wear short hair cuts--almost shaved heads. The uniformity here suggests that it may have been a school rule. There appears to be no rule for the girls.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: Decemember 18, 1998
Last updated: May 5, 2000