This page represents an homage to short leather pants which have been an every day piece of clothing worn by boys and girls throughout the first twenty years following the Second World War. German short leather pants were one of the earliest examples of unisex clothing.

Perhaps the symbol short Lederhosen still stands for a certain decency that could be relied upon once again fifty years ago after the terrible times of the Second World War. This includes the anecdote that testified to the righteous thinking of our biology teacher. He owned a cottage surrounded by forest in the Luneburg Heath. Many a weekend he invited half a dozen boys there who he thought should get to know each other better. His supervision was hardly noticeable, and his motto for it was: "I know you will get along. There are no scoundrels among you.” At one point he added: "Because scoundrels don't wear short leather trousers. They hide their wrong thoughts like their bare legs.” I found this bold remark confirmed over many decades as I made the involuntary acquaintance of quite a few scoundrels. None of them appeared in short leather trousers and probably hadn't owned any.


Here is presented the kind of short leather pants with two zip fasteners and a more or less broad sleeve at the thigh. As a boy who grew up in Northern Germany, I could not acquire much taste for the Bavarian and Austrian old-style variety with buttoned bib. I remember comrades who had to wear them because they had no other trousers. However, it looked strange in the Brackelstein County. Until one day the owner of the princely brewery replaced his leather apron with lavishly decorated Bavarian knee-length lederhosen. Having the beer served from him like that had style. Men also make fashion!

Singular stuff like short leather pants which are a genuine German invention, mark turning points in the novels SNAKIE - DIANA and SNAKIE - BILLY. They contract friendships, break them or help to patch affairs of the heart up again. In the fifties and sixties of the last century, when urban agglomerations were not as crowded as today and people were widely unstressed and not distracted with today's excess of technical devices, the appearance of bare legs in short leather pants sometimes took an effect like a subtle charm. An nowadays outworn abracadabra, which actually is replaced more bad than good by knee-length shorts with huge pockets as for street thieves.

Since I re-wear the leather pants of my early years, I am greeted by people, who ignored me before as a Northern German “Piefke” (untranslatable – close to the meaning of “limey”, that slightly insulting American word for British citizens). Occasionally, someone adoringly comments: “Mei, so a schene olte Lederhos’n!“ (Heavens, what nice old leather pants!) As if I were, dressed in that manner honouring the tradition, more presentable than before. In Austria and in Bavaria, leather pants belong to traditional costume and are more integrated in everyday life than elsewhere. But they are dyed black or brown. In this regard, my worn out mouse-grey pants come across as an old man’s youthful protest.




More information about my own leather pants


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