Dressing appropriately and other german kids clothing habits

Germans do dress seriously. When I mean seriously, I mean appropriately. Each occasion has its own attire. As I blogged earlier, when you go outdoors, you need the outdoor gear. You can't just turn up with your trainers and jeans to go for a walk in the woods. People will be able to tell from miles away you are not German. Proper walking boots will look more serious together with a windproof jacket and hiking trousers.


The same goes for children. They must have the right attire for every occasion. At our daughter's kindergarten, we were supplied with a list of clothing she needed to have there at all times: rain jacket, waterproof trousers, trainers, sports outfit, wellies, and more. Admittedly these waterproof trousers or 'Regenhose' are a great invention. They are really common here and very practical for sand play when the weather is not the best or for puddle jumping.

In addition to the above list, during winter, she needs a snowsuit/overalls as well as snow boots. I need to mention at this point that the most snow we get is about 2cm at any one time and this rarely lasts for more than a couple of days. Snowsuits are good to play in the snow but to be sitting in a pushchair in a shopping centre with 7 other layers underneath or on top, it may be a little extreme. How many times have I looked at a child and thought: no wonder you are complaining, you must be boiling in there.

I have no problem with dressing my daughter in a snowsuit in winter when it is really cold but not from October to March. This year, autumn came and I was gently reminded that it was now too cold for leggings and skirts or dresses (to the horror of my daughter enjoying her princess stage). My daughter needed to wear thicker (corduroy-style) trousers. Then, a few weeks later, I was told she needed tights under those trousers. I managed to fight that, though, because we were potty training. How can a two year old remove tights, trousers and underwear in time? But, I then discovered that the solution, according to the German clothing method, was not to leave out the tights, but to just peel my child like an onion when she arrives at kindergarten in the morning. Snowsuit off, corduroy trousers off and you are left with a child in tights. This seems to apply from the first slight temperature drop when summer ends!

Regenhose - part of our blending-in gear

I am happy to add tights under her trousers when it is really cold and we are going to be outdoor for a while. Yet, I can't get used to children wearing tights instead of trousers. For me tights are underwear. But kids walk around in tights whenever they are indoors pretty much from October to March.

This is going to take some getting used to! Not sure my daughter gets it either. So far, wearing any kind of trousers under skirts and dresses didn't cut it and tights are not to be worn with jumpers, t-shirts or sweaters.

Dressing up has become a multicultural battle!

11 comments:

  1. made me laugh! i used to have a german friend and when we went to the library once she stripped her little girl down to her tights and i was baffled. nearly 7 years later, i finally understand! thanks for the enlightenment! ;)

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    1. I am glad I made you laugh. Who knew clothes were so culturally important.

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  2. Hahaha, so funny and so true! In Poland, people tend to put too much clothing on the child, and dress them according to the season, not temperature (so even if it's a warm winter you're still reqeuired to dress your child as if you were going to spend a night in your freezer. Also, Polish people tend to stay indoor more when the weather is bad...and we tend to advice young moms to put one layer of clothing on your child than you would for yourself. Which never worked for my daughter because this way she was much too warm! But yes, I agree that it's a matter of cultural differences! Interesting!

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    1. I have heard this before too: one more layer on your children. I never stuck to it though (except when they are tiny).

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  3. I couldn't hav e immagined this form the Germas!! I thought Italians were the worst when it comes of getting yr kid dressed up :)
    Angelique

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    1. Oh really? I had no idea Italians were bad!

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  4. Wao, I didn't know about this tights thing. Thanks for sharing this experience. In Italy people tend to dress the children too warm - maybe like in Poland? - and especially when it's windy or raining, mum's would avoid to go outside. In Germany they use to say that there's no such thing like bad weather, there's only bad (inappropriate) clothing. Same occurs in Switzerland (at least in the northern part of Switzerland). Thanks for inspiring me for another dressing-up-children-in-Europe post!

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    1. It has some positive sides... as you say, they don't let the weather stop anything!

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  5. It's the weekend and I finally got around to reading this - it's been languishing in my inbox for a few days as I had a hunch it might be insightful and I wasn't wrong. Great post Annabelle, how funny that you've finally connected a piece of the puzzle for Marie here in the comments after all those years. And it's really quite startling (and amusing) how countries presume to know best about things when they're not necessarily in the best position to advise. You mentioned you don't get much more than 2cm of snow, here in Canada once the white stuff comes down we don't usually see grass for four months or more and it feels positively balmy on the days we get above freezing! Yet there are still kids coming to school without snowpants and hats.
    I'm always reminded those of us lucky enough to live abroad are that little bit closer to seeing the big picture - speaking of pictures check this one, it's a perfect illustration of weather perception differing by location: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=591996027514099&set=a.251092048271167.56433.251089648271407&type=1&theater

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  6. Ha - this is so true. My sons (BOYS!) were told to traipse about the Kita or Kiga in only their strumpfhose. It was so strange for me - I'm with you, they're underwear! When my youngest was born in Germany... in the broiling heat of August... they dressed him in FIVE layers at the hospital. I kept peeling and peeling trying to find my son. This was so crazy to me. My two other babies were born in fall and winter in Florida. They wore only a diaper, not even a shirt, for most of the time. I quickly learned, though, that I better at least pretend like he had tons of layers on if I was going to leave the house. It wasn't worth the earful from all the Omas :).

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    1. I was actually told when my second was born in a hot April in Germany that he was not allowed to be with bare arms and legs for about a month (even indoors).

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