German Boys' Clothes: Garments--Hosiery


Figure 1.--Kneesocks began to become popular in the early 20th century. By the 1920s they were more commonly worn than long stockings, although long stockings were still worn to some extent in the 1950s.

German boys commonly wore long stockings at the turn of the 20th century. As in other countries, black was the most common color for long stockings. Three-quarter socks were worn, but not as commonly as in France. These were generally repalaced with kneesocks in the 1910s. Younger boys continued to wear long stockings during the colder winter months, often with short pants. Germany can be quite cold in the winter and those those boys that wore shorts all year round might wear long over-the-knee stockings when it was cold. Kneesocks were more popular with older boys, both they might wear knickers rather than shorts during the winter. White kneesocks had a dressy look. After World War II, long stockings began to disappear, but some younger boys beginning in the late 1950s began wearing tights during the winter instead of long stockings. Tights are still worn by younger children. Older boys also wear tights, but usually for winter sports.

Chronology

Men and boys in the 18th century appear to have worn white or less commonly colored stockings with knee breeches. In the early 19thbcentury we have noted short whit socks worn with long pants skeleton uits. German boys commonly wore long stockings as kneepants becme more common in the late 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, long stockings were still common. As in other countries, black was the most common color for long stockings. Three-quarter socks wer worn, but not as commonly as in France. For m,any years older boys wore long stockings while younger boys might wear sjhorter socks. These were generally repalaced with kneesocks in the 1910s. Younger boys continued to wear long stockings during the colder winter months, often with short pants. Germany can be quite cold in the winter and tus those boys that wore shorts all year round might wear long over-the-knee stockings when it was cold. Conventions seem rather ill defined in the 1920s and early 30s. A good example are the brothers in a middle-class family during the 1920s. Conventions only begin to become more established in the 1930s. It became increasingly less common for older boys to wear long stockings. Kneesocks gradualluy were more popular with older boys, but they might wear knickers rather than shorts during the winter. After World War II, long stockings began to disappear, but some younger boys beginning in the late 1950s began wearing tights during the winter instead of long stockings. Tights are still worn by younger children. Older boys also wear tights, but usually for winter sports.

Types

German boys appear to have worn the same type of hosiery worn by other European boys There are, however, some difference in the time-line and relative importance. Long stockings have been especially important in Germany. Three-quarter socks were common at the turn-of-the 20th century. German boys also commonly wore kneesocks, especially during the mid-20th century. We have noted one destinctive style worn with lederhosen--lofers. These split socks are someyimes worn with folk outfits. A relatively recent development has been tights. Also tights appear to have been more common in Germany than in many other countries. Modern German boys mostly wear ankle socks.

Clothing

There are asociations between cerain types of hosiery and pants. This has changed over time. Kneepants suits were mostly worn with long stockings, although there was some seasonal and functional variation. Knicker suits by the 1920s and short pants suits were also worn with long stockings, but kneesocks became much more common. Styles of hoiery for ledehosen were more varied. Knee socks were probably most common, but there was a kinf of calf band that was worn in some areas when wearing folk costume. As long pants became mnore commn, boys mostly wore ankle socks, although some boywore long stockings in cold weather. As tights were introduced in the late 1950s, we note various conventions. Younger boys might wear the with shorts, but lng pants were becoming more common. So some boys woe them with long pants. Tights introduced novel approaches. Boys in pre-school might wear them without pants (trousers). Even older boys at home migt do the same. We note the same coinventions in other countries where tights were worn like Russia.

Gender Trends

We see both German boys and girls wearing the same types of hosiery. This includes ankles, three-quarter, and knee socks as well as long stockings and tights. We also see both boys and girls going barefoot. There may have been varying relative popularity over time, but if so those trends are only reltive and difficult to immediately sketch out in the histotical record. We see to detect, for example older girls wearing lng stockings than boys. Color seems to have been the major difference. This is a little difficult to sketch out because of the black and white photography of the day. What we have noted is that white seems to have been more popular for girls than boys. This seems especially the case of white long stockings. Again we are talking about relative popularity as we note many boys wearing white socks of varrious types.

School Hosiery

HBC has a school hosiery page. The school hosiery trends are gennerally similar to the overall hosiery trends . We believe boys wore the same hosiery to school as for everyday wear. The basic difference is probably that some German mothers wanted children to change out of their good clothes when they came home from school. We suspect that long stockings were probably the hosiery type most affected. Mothers would not have wanted boys to wear stockings wih holes or thsat were heavily mended to school.

Personal Experiences

We will archive here peronal expeiences reported by our German readers in connection with hosiery.

German boy: The 1930s






HBC






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Created: January 15, 2002
Last updated: 7:28 PM 1/28/2010