Hosiery Types

Strumpfhosen
Figure 1.--One of our major sources of information on children's hosiery is the photographic record. And one complication here is that we are not sure about the hosiery worn by the boys wearing long trousers. Except for the younger boys, we believe that they did not commonly wear long stockings. We are not sure, however, just what length of socks they commonly wore.

Boys have worn a wide variety of hosiery over the years. Today boys mostly wear different types of ankle socks, but many different types of hose were worn in the past. The different types of hosiery are primarily distinguished by the length of the various garments. Nodesty has also ben a factor. This was primarily determined by both seasonal and stylistic factors such as types and length of pants and trousers. Hosiery types have varied as much in length as possible. They have included tights, long above the knee stockings, and various lengths of socks. We use the term stocking for over the knee lengths. We use socks for the shorter lengths. Socks have varied from knee socks to shork sport socks that just cover the portion of the foot covered by a shoe and all lengths in between.

Medieval Hose

Most early images make it impossible to determine if medieval men are wearing long stockings or tights. Only a few period illustrations offers some clues. They wear long, thigh-length hosiery. It should be stressed that the illustration shows how nobels and the wealthy would have dressed in the 13 century. They wear extremely long stockings. This is not how the peasantry which made up the great bulk of the population dressed. HBC of course focusses on children's clothes. There were at the yime, however, no specific children's wear except for infant clothes. Children tended to wear the same clothes as their parents suitabled scaled down. We suspect that in the case of hosiery that children especually peasant children might have more commonly gome barefoot than their parents. Most people seem to think that medieval and Renaissance men and boys wore tights, whereas they often wore long stockings that reached to the waist (like tights) but which were really separate stockings and secured to doublets or shirts by "points" (laces, strings, or straps). There were Medieval stocking supporters.

Socks

We are not real sure about the early 19th century, but long stockings were very common in the late 19th ad early-20th century. Three-quarter socks were often worn by younger children, but in the 20th century socks became the standard for childrenn. At first thre--quarter sicks and kneesocks were common. Kneesocks were very common in the inter-War years. By the 1940s ankle socks becoming increasingly dominant, although there were differences from country to country. Kneesocks gradually became less commonly worn by boys, but are still common for girls. We note some fad styles like tune socks. Today boys mostly wear different types of ankle socks, but many different types of hose were worn in the past. We use socks for the shorter lengths. Socks have varied from knee socks to shork sport socks that just cover the portion of the foot covered by a shoe and all lengths in between.

Stockings

We use the term "stockings" or "long stockings" for over the knee hosiery lengths. This is a little different than the actual dictionary definition. As we understand the standard dictionary definition, socks would be included as a type of stockings, although socks are the shorter lengths. We use the term for over the knee lengths. This is because manufacturers while they used various terms for the shorter lngths, generally referred to the over the knee lenghs as stockings. And the standard dictionasry definition does identify socks as the shorter lengths of hosiery. Stockings have varied in length. Some just came to avove the knee. As shorter lengths of pants abd skirts were worn, longer lengths were offered. There were even button-pn stockings that covered te entire leg.

Tights

After World War II the long over the knee stockings worn by younger boys evolved into footed tights. Reports from Eastern Germany indicate that younger elementary boys wore tights with short pants during the winter. Even when shorts became less commonly worn in the 1970s, boy continued wearing the warm tights under their long pants. School children in Korea and Japan, both boys and girls, wore tights during the winter, the boys with shorts the girls with dresses.







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Created: May 23, 1998
Last updated: 12:16 AM 2/4/2007