Lederhosen: Clothing--Hosiery


Figure 1.-- The German Hosiery Museum has prepared this display of hosiery worn with Lederhosen.

Lederhosen have been worn with a wide range of hosiery. Knee socks are commonly associated with lederhosen in the public mind. Younger boys in the summer might not wear any hosiery at all and go barefoot. Some folk outfits show boys and men wearing split socks (loferl). Lederhosen were also worn with short socks, kneesocks and over-the-knee long stockings. Over-the-knee long stockings were especially common for younger boys during the winter. After World War II, in the late 1950s, boys also began wearing lederhosen with tights--although this was never as common as long over-the-knee stockings. The choice of hosiery varied over time and were affected by the wearer's age as well as the season. In recent years kneesocks, which used to be commonly worn with ledehosen, have become less common. The hosiery varied somwhat depending on wether the boy was wearing short or knicker-length lederhosen

Short Lederhosen

Short Lederhosen have been worn with a wide range of hosiery. Lederhosen were worn with short socks, kneesocks and over-the-knee long stockings.

Kneesocks

Knee socks are commonly associated with lederhosen in the public mind. Many images of boys wearing lederhosen, especially German and Austraian boys, show them wearing kneesocks with their lederhosen. This is especially true of boys wearing lederhosen with folks and dressy outfits. This is also true of lederhosen worn to school. We note many if not most images of German boys wearing lederhosen before the 1950s wearing them with keesocks. This was also common in the 1950s, but declined in the 1960s as kneesocks became less popular for boys. Even so, when dressing up such was wearing lederhosen with aBavarian jacket, kneesocks were often worn.

Ankle Socks

We note more and more German boys wearing ankle socks after World War II, especially by the 1950s. Ankle socks became the principal hosiery worn by German boys in the 1960s and this included boys wearing Lederhosen and other short pants.

Barefeet

Younger boys in the summer might not wear any hosiery at all and go barefoot. Mny German boys went barefoot in the early 20th century and this included younger boys wearing lederhosen. his became less common in the 1930s. We also note it in the post-World War II era, primarily because of the poverty and depressed ecomonic conditions following the War. As economic conditions improved, this becomes uncommon after the early 1950s.

Loferl

Some folk outfits show boys and men wearing split socks (loferl).

Long stockings

Over-the-knee long stockings were especially common for younger boys during the winter. This was very common in the first half of the 20th century. Little boys often wore lederhosen and other short pants year round. As a result, it was very common to wear long stockings for warmth. Usually the long-stockings worn with lederhosen were worn for warmth and not as dressy or formal attire. We note that long stockinfs were some times worn as dressy or formal attire for events like First Communion or even church attendance, especially in the early 20th century. This went out of style in the 1930s as the NAZIs saw long stockings as only suitable for girls and younger children. Almost always long stockingsworn with lederhosen were worn for warmth and not as part of a formal outfit.

Tights

After World War II, in the late 1950s, boys also began wearing lederhosen with tights--although this was never as common as long over-the-knee stockings.

Knicker Lederhosen

Knicker-length Lederhosen buckling just below the knee might be worn with patterned tights and long stockings. Some were specifically designed to be worn with leather shorts. These were similar to knickers but much tighter and without blousing at the knee. Both styles were popular in Bavaria in the mid-1960s. The wearing of tights did away with the necessity of a Leibchen and garters to hold up long stockings. Notice that with the tights, the patterned part is on the legs only while the part around the waist that doesn't show is a plain color (in this case black). The patterns used in these stockings and tights were referred to as "jacquard", i.e. using diamond shapes. Tights, however, were more expensive to make than long stockings and therefore were more costly. Also if one leg was damaged or developed holes, one had to discard the whole pair. The more traditional long stockings were cheaper and also more economical because, unlike tights, one could mix and match stockings. So patterned long stockings continued to be manufactured as an alternative to tights but in the same sporty style. This display shows that both long stockings and tights were worn with lederhosen by boys. See, for instance, the oldest boy in the HBC family portrait (also from the German Hosiery Museum) of the three brothers; this boy is wearing plain long stockings with a pair of short lederhosen. The style is associated particularly with Bavaria and the mountainous regions of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s, but it was also familiar in other places such as Hamburg. The patterned tights and long stockings were popular with skiers, hikers, and boys who liked outdoor activities in chilly weather. The material used for these tights and stockings was a mixture of wool and a synthetic fiber known as "helanca", or sometimes 100% helanca.

Chronological Trends

The choice of hosiery varied over time and were affected by the wearer's age as well as the season. In recent years kneesocks, which used to be commonly worn with ledehosen, have become less common.






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Created: July 31, 2001
Last updated: March 18, 2004