German School Wear during the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933

Figure 1.--This German class shows that boys age 8-10 wore mostly suits and sailor suits to class, but two boys wore velvet suits.

German schools after the First World War continued the policy of allowing boys to wear the clothes parents selected for them. Given the horrors of the First World War it is understandable that German parents would have little reason to develop an interest in uniforms for school children, although the War did not affect British opinions on uniforms. Interestingly, sailor suits continued to be a popular style for boys, including older boys than wore sailor suits--both with short and long pants. This varied from Britain and America where it became increasingly rare in the 1920s for older boys to wear them. A few boys also wore smocks, at least in the early 1920s. Most boys that didn't wear sailor suits, however, wore short pants suits of various designs.

I do not have details on this class. I do not know what type of school it is or where it is located. The boys appear to be about 7 to 9 or even 10 years of age. They have a lady teacher. There may be one girl in the photograph (the rear right), bit it may be a boy with long hair.

There is substantial variety of clothes worn by the boys. All the boys except two of the sailor suited boys appear to wear short pants. The following styles are worn:
Smocks: None of the boys in this photograph appears to wear smocks.

Figure 2.--These boys appear to be wearing velvet suits, one with an opened collar, the other with a ruffled collar. Note the destinctive styling of the boy's middy blouse sitting on the ground by them.
Velvet suit: Two boys in the first in the first seated row appear to wear velver suits. The younger boy wears his with an open collar. The older boy wears his with a slightly ruffled collar. The older boy wears short pants that are cut shorter than the younger boy. They look to be worn with plain grey kneesocks.
Sailor suits: German boys in the 1920s wore a wide variety of sailor suits. Some had long pants, but most had short pants. The pants were mostly blue, but both white and blue middy blouses were worn. Most but not all had had classic three stripe styling. All had long sleaves, some with the three strips at the cuff. They were all worn with bows, but the bows varied widely. One boy wears a sailor suit in a light shade, presumably a light blue--although this color is less common than the white or dark blue suits.

Figure 3.--German boys wore sailor suits with both long and short pants, but shorts were the most common.
Sweaters: A few boys are dresses in sweaters without jackets.
Regular suits: The boys wearing suits are mostly wearing open neck shirts. Many of the shirts have prominent if not large open necked collars. Other boys have no prominent collars at all with their jackets. None of the boys wear ties. Both single and double-breasted jackets are being worn.
Kneesocks: Most boys are wearing plain grey kneesocks. One boy in a sailor suit wears whire kneesocks. Another sailor suited boy wears white knee socks with patterened tops. White kneesocks seem to have been commonly worn with white middy blouses.


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Created: December 18, 1998
Last updated: 9:37 PM 5/31/2007