Lederhosen: Practicality

Figure 1.--Boys often wear their lederhosen for years and are clearly extremely well-worn garments .

One reason for the popularity of lederhosen was there durability and low maintance. German readers writing to HBC consistently stress the durability and practicality of Lederhosen. Well made lederhosen were almost never worn out. The hard-wearing pants were practically indistructable. For that reason, they were perfevt for hiking and outdoor activities. The fact that they did not need to be washed like cloth garments made them even more practical for outdoor activities. This was presumably why leather pants were first worn by farmers in Alpine area--the practicality. Much why Native Americans and frontiermen wore them in America's westward expansion. As a result, a boy's lederosen were worn for several years and were very well-worn garments. A Canadian reader writes, "Maybe Lederhosen are practical. But just a detail. I bough some but they were so dirty that I have had to send them to the dry cleaner. I had to pay $35 for a job which cannot be done completely. I dare not to think what a boy smelt after years of lederhosen wearing. I have some reason to believe that this problem is one of the main reasons why they disappeared. Maybe some German readers remember?" HBC has no information here. None of our German readers has ever mentioned this problem. A reader writes, "They do get quite dirty, but they don't seem to smell too bad if the boy bathes regularly and changes his underwear. One doesn't have to wash leather shoes, after all--only the socks worn with them. Having one's lederhosen a bit soiled is part of the tradition--similar to the dirty white bucks that highschool and college boys wore in the 1950s. No boy wanted to appear in clean white bucks and boys went to some trouble to get them dirty, often by artificial means. The same was true of lederhosen. Nobody wanted to wear really clean ones, which would make a German boy look like a tourist and not a native. There is also a parallel to leather chaps which American cowboys used to wear for months at a time. These weren't washable either."


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Created: May 7, 2001
Last updated: 2:31 AM 1/30/2006