Lederhosen: Individual Experiences

Figure 1.--

HBC has collected some individual accounts of boys wearing lederhosen. Interestingly we do not yet have any accounts from Austrians and Germans where lederhosen are most common. Perhaps this is because wearing lederhosen there was so common that readers don't believe that it is worth noting. Hopefully we will acquire some German and Austrian accounts as HBC continues to expand.

An American Boy in Germany: The 1950s

I spent the summer of 1955 in northern Germany, in North Rhine Westphalia, as an exchange student. I was a 16 year old prep school student at the time. I celebrated my 17th birthday there with my German family. I was a junior going into my senior year. [Note for foreign readers: An American prep school is a private school comparable to an English prep school. A junior is an 11th grader and a senior is a 12th grade. After ones senior years, a boy begins university. Almost all prep school boys go on to university.] I lived with a German family. The father worked and the mother was a housekeeper. The father took me to a tennis court nearby where he liked to play tennis. He had been in the army during World War II.

An English Boy in Germany: The 1950s

My father was an English serviceman following the war and I was consequently brought up in military communities throughout the world. During the 1950's we lived mainly in England. As many service men had married German women while serving in Germany following the war even in England many boys wore lederhosen. In the mid 60's my father was posted to Northern Germany and at that time most boys including the sons of servicemen wore lederhosen, particularly during the summer moths. I was 15 years old and was soon wearing these leather shorts in common with most of my friends.

An English Boy in London: The 1950s

I grew up in the 1950s and early 60s in a good middle class suburb of London. My family was four in all. My father was an engineer and was often away visiting sites and companies. My mother was a housewife, who was at home to look after me and my sister and my father. My sister was a couple of years younger than me. We had a comfortable middle class existence. My parents owned their own home and we had a car. By my observations the wearing of lederhosen by boys was not common but neither was it rare.

A Dutch Boy in Scotland: The 1960s

My parents were interested that I learn English. As a result, I spent several summers in Scotland with friends of the family. I'm not sure how many people learned English in Scotland, but I did. Our friends lived in Kinrossshire, several of the boys there wore kilts when they dressed up. I never did, but as they wore their national costume, I often wore my lederhosen as it was as close to a national costume as I could get, my father being partly of Austrian extraction. Of course lederhosen are really German/Austrian and not commonly worn in either the Netherlands or Belgium.

Australian Boy: The 1970s

I had a couple experiences with lederhosen as a boy. I wore a funky pair of Lederhosen to school for a "national" day and I was supposed to have worn them on a trip to Hahndorf, which is a small Germanic village town nestled in the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia. I caught a cold, however, and stayed at home in bed and a another boy wore them instead. I thought they were ok and a German boy I knew said I looked Austrian. I did wear them once to a theme night birthday party.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: October 4, 2002
Last updated: October 4, 2002