German School Wear during Imperial Germany, 1870-1918

Figure 1.--These German boys are in the beginning years of their secondary school. Note the wide variaruions in sailor suit styles.

We have begun to collect German school photographs. They provide wonderful glimses of fashion in Germany. Most German schools did not uniforms. Thus the clothing worn is the normal clothing worn by the boys, a good indicator of popular fashions from year to year. Most of our images are currently from the 1900s and 1910s, but we hope to eventually add 19th century school images. Especially notable is how popular sailor suits were and how diverse tghe styling was for these suits.

Individual Primary Classes

At this time we have acquired several images of German school children during the the imperial period. Unfortunately they are all during the later 20th century pre-World War I era. years. We do not have much information on the 19th century. These inmages of school classes during the Imperial period show that uniforms were not worn, but that the sailor suit and middy blouse were especially popular for school wear. We notice quite a variety of other styles including square collar blouses and lederhosen as well as plain shotys and jackets. Most children wore heavy boot like shoes, some with hobnails, but a few came to school barefoot. Unfortunately many of the available school images are not dated. This makes it more difficult to follow changing fashion trends. We have attemped to estimate dates, but this in many cases is not an easy process. We welcome any insights as to the dates of these various class portraits ftom out German readers.

Individual Secondary Classes

For some reason we have fewer images of secondary schools during the Imperial era. We do not yet have sufficent images to discuss trends, although we do note quite a variety of styles. As for the primary-age boys, sailor suits were a popular style even for the boy beginning their secondary schools.


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Created: September 6, 2002
Last updated: 11:59 PM 9/17/2004