Russian Boys' Garments: Hosiery


Figure 1.--This 1964 photograph shows a Moscow kindergarten boy about 5 years old playing with a toy whale. The boy's name is Seryozha Tururushkin, the son of Moscow metal worker who worked in a local factory. The boy wears a black pair of bib shorts with built-in suspenders, a long-sleeved plaid shirt, and long woolen ribbed stockings with supporters. You can see the clasp of his garter, obviously attached to a bodice, on the left leg. This seems to have been typical dress for Moscow boys until about age 6 or 7 years. Notice what Seryozha is doing. As best I can tell, he giving a little girl's pig tail (notice the white bow) a good yank. That should stir things up in the nursery.

We have noted Russian boys wearing a variety of hosiery. Given the climate, especially cold winter weather, warm hosiery like long stockings were commonly worn in Russia. Russian boys wore tights during the 1970s. Here trends seem to have been some what influenced by Germany. I am not sure how this worked in the early Soviet era, but after World War II there was considerable trade between the Soviet Union and East Germany. We note Russian boys wearing sandals after World War II. Some wore them without socks, but with socks seems to have been more common. We also notice younger Russian childrencommonly wearing tights beginning in the 1970s.

Influences

We note both climatic-seasonal influences in Russia as well as fashion influences from neigboring European countries, especially Germany. Russian winters can be very severe. Given the climate, warm hosiery like long stockings were commonly worn in Russia. Long stockings in general were much more importantb in northern than southern Europe. And the climate was colder in Russia than Western Europe because of the mor continental climate. Thus we see them commonly worn in Scandanavia, Germant, Poland, and Russia even after they were less commonly worn in other countries. Tights for children first appeared in Germany during the 1950s and rapidly replaced long stockings. It took bout a decade for tights to penetrate the Iron Curtaun, but by the 1970s they were commonly worn by Russian children. Here trends seem to have been some what influenced by Germany. After World War II there was considerable trade between the Soviet Union and East Germany. The practical aspet of tunics for children helped to so rapidly replace long stockings. Tights continue to be worn by children, both boys and girls in Russia today.

Chronology

We are just beginning to develop information on chronological trends associated with hosiery in Russia. We currently have limited information on Russian hosiery over time. We have no information on hosiery during the early 19th century. Many children in the late 19th and early 20th century wore long stockings. We see many Russian boys wearing both kneesocks and long stockings in the inter-war era of the 1920s and 30s. We note Russian boys wearing sandals after World War II. Some wore them without socks, but with socks seems to have been more common. Long stockings were still commonly worn by primary-age children into the 1960s. Long stockings rapidly disappeared after 1969 when tights were introduced. Younger boys commonly wear tights during the cold winter months. They are commoly worn to school or at home in the evening, rather like American boys wear pajamas at home in the evening.

Hosiery Types

We have noted Russian boys wearing a variety of hosiery. The types of hosiery has varied over time. Russian hosiery conventions are somewhat different thn in much od western Eurioe, but somewhhat similar to Germany. Poor boys, especially serf boys, often went barefoot in Russia. Boys going barefoot was very common in rural Russia, especially during the summer. This begn to change with the Revolution. Since World War II it is no longer common to see Russian boys going barefoot. Russian boys have worn various types of socks of different length. Many boys wore kneesocks in the mid-20th century. Since World War II ankle socks have become increasingly common. We have noted some boys wearing kneesocks, but ankle socks seem much more common. This is a little difficult to follow because boys wearing long trousers often wear asnkle socks, but it is difficullt to assess just what type of hosiery that they are wearing. HBC doesn't have good information on these countries, but hope interested readers will provide some information. A Russian reader tells us that long stockings began to be worn in Russia during the 1880s. This was when kneepants bgan to be more commonly worn by boys insttead of the long trousers boys wore earlier in the 19th century. Russian boys like German boys wore long stockings well after they went out of style in many other European countries. It is apparently still quite common for boys under age 8-10 to wear tights.







HBC





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Created: April 8, 2004
Last updated: 12:53 AM 12/8/2008