Leggings seem to have been common in Canada. Of course the cold winters must have been a factor here. One Canadian reader in the 1950s remembers them. He writes, "My parents insisted I wear wear long leather leggings in the cold weather when I was a toddler. I remember that they were rather stiff and the padded legs made it difficult for me to run. They were light brown and easier to pull on than the pants to my snow suit." In Canada, leggings were commonly worn over long stockings. A canadian reader tells us that the Red River outfit was widely worn in Canada and leggings were a prominent part of that outfit.
Leggings seem to have been common in Canada. Of course the cold winters must have been a factor here.
Early leggings all had button closures. We note after World war I zipper closures. The leggings seen here have zipper closures. In addition to the buttons/zippers up the side were buckles.
Leggings are also called gaiters. The French term is Jambieres.
Our Canadian archive is limited. We have very few 19th century images. We do not have any information on Canadian leggings in the 19th century. We suspect that it was fairly common for younger children to wear leggings in the late-19th century. Amnd as far as we can tell, the age and gender conventions were similar. We suspect that Canadian trends in the early-20th century were similar to those in America, only leggings were more popular because of the colder weather. Girls' skirts and boys' shorts became shorter in the 1930s, perhaps in part because of Shirley Temple. And mothers shooting for the Shirley Temple look did not like the look of long stockings. Thus you see more Canadian children wearing leggings. A Canadian reader tells us, "Around 1945-50, a lot of parents in Quebec City and Montreal (Canada) bought those fashionable gaiters not only for warm up legs but because they were 'chics'."
The pair seen here were a number 10, but I am not precisely sure what that means.
Our information on gender connotations is limited. We believe that in the 19th century that they were commonly worn by both boys and girls. After World War I (1914-18) they were more common for girls, but boys also wore them.
We do not know at this time if popularity varied among English and French speaking Canadians.
One Canadian reader in the 1950s remembers them. He writes, "My parents insisted I wear wear long leather leggings in the cold weather when I was a toddler. I remember that they were rather stiff and the padded legs made it difficult for me to run. They were light brown and easier to pull on than the pants to my snow suit."
Toddlers during the Winter might wear thick padded snow suits which included padded pants. I think Red Roder outfits were a kibd of snow suit. Maybe those closed snow pants were the first long pants worn by both boys and girls. But it took more time to girls to wear pants and until 1965, they used to wear wool leggings over their long stockings while the boys wore "breetches".
A Canadian reader tells us that the Red River outfit was widely worn in Canada and leggings were a prominent part of that outfit. A lot of Canadian children, both boys and girls, during the Winter wore the famous "Red River" . For Canadians children during many decades, it was a must to wear it. I'm not sure when Canadian children began weaing, but it was worn for many decades until the 1980s. It consisted of a kind of navy blue coat with a thin red fringe . The outfit was completed with a red "tuque", red mittens and red long and heavy 2/2 wool leggings which were rather like tights. When at home or at school, children took off those leggings under which were long stockings and sticking supporters. A French reader tells us, "You have to remember that in Québec, temperature in January and February are around -10º to -35º F. Inside school or home, wood stoves were good but not enough when northwest winds enter the houses and schools by doors and windows. So unprotected legs were quickly felt by the children. This is why we were dressed like this." Leggings were not useful inside because very prickly. So, leggings existed with "Red River" it was a kind of uniform for winter wear for children of any social class. Winter was cold for every kids. Parents found nice solutions
Canadian children were commonly worn over long stockings. Canadian children were still wearing long stockings into the 1960s. In the popular series Peppi Longstockings, the girl is wearing two stockings of different colors . It was the same with Canadian or Swedish children in dark brown or tan
stockings . You can get two different stockings with the same color to make a new pair.
Until 1965, there were no reasonably priced tights available for children in Canada. Also, you have to think that a pair of long stockings was relatively inexpensive. Tights need complicated methods of knitting, they were costly and only dancers were able to afford to wear them. You have to understand that it was easy to darn a stocking and mix with another in good condition. If tights were torn on one leg, the whole pair had to be thrown away. These economic factors have toi be considered when assessing clothing, especially children's clothing. Tights for kids didn't exist before Helanca who used synthetic products. One Canadian reader has forwarded his personal experiences concerning tights.
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