This is a good illustration of how German boys often fastened their long stockings to their Leibchens. The garter straps had graduated button holes (for length adjustment) so that the boys could attach the button at the top of their stockings to the strap. During the 1920s and 1930s most German mothers sewed these buttons, called "laundry buttons" or Wäscheknöpfe, onto the stockings themselves. But eventually, after World War II, it was possible to buy stockings that came with the buttons already sewn on commercially. These tan long stockings from the late 1940s (or maybe even 1950s) have the buttons sewn on by the manufacturer. In some cases there were two buttons on each stocking for more even support, but sometimes only one. It isn't quite clear from this image whether the stockings have one or two buttons per stocking (we can only see a button on one side), but I suspect there are two, because many boys complained that if only one garter strap was provided for each leg, the stockings sagged uncomfortably on the inner thigh. Of course if mothers bought commercially manufactured Strapsleibchen or Strapshemden (= undershirts
with four short hose supporters already sewn onto them), such undergarments usually came with commercial metal claps (rubber buttons and wire loops) already supplied. If a boy wore this type of Leibchen,
he wouldn't wouldn't need any buttons at the top of his stockings. We see a German boy wearing tan long stockings with the Waschknopf (in this case with only one button) in 1953.
Notice that the standard tan color which during the 1930s became more popular than black.
A German reader tells us, "You are absolutely right that in the 30ties and 40ties (which I remember from my boyhood) we had stockings with one button or two buttons (not many boys had the metal clamps the boys didn't know to fix in an appropriate position of the stockings - haha -and which mother could not cheaply sew on).
The buttons were in white colour (the picture is not typical, may be from later times - GDR ? -or from a
commercial product), and as the name says prepared for "washing" with the stockings. I myself can only
remember to have stockings with two buttons each. My mother sewed in the inner side of the stockings
small white rectangular particles of firm textile, about 1 1/2 cm times 1 1/2 cm; sewing on the button in
the centre avoided that the stress of the strap was located only at one small area of the material of the
stocking. Attached to the "Leibchen" there was an elastic strap ("das Strumpfgummi" in singular, "die Strumpfgummi" or "die Strumpfgummis" in plural - depending on the dialect used) for each button of the stockings, i.e, two on each side, two in front and two just on the side for the side buttons of the stockings. The elastic strap was rubber woven into some textile material, white, white with coloured/grey/black longitudinal stripes, or black, with buttonholes along in the centre, distance about 2 1/2 cm. At both ends the straps were sewed round. The Leibchen had two buttons for each strap, one above the other, to allow size correction. The "Strumpfgummi" were taken away when the Leibchen and/or the stockings were put to washing. Mother could not regularily wash the rubber, only cold washing was possible.
It was a simple, cheap, exchangable method to support stockings."
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main vintage clothing garment page]
[Return to the Main vintage clothing page]
[Return to the Long stockings page]
[Return to the U.S. 1936 catalog page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Essays] [Girls] [Theatricals]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]