We have not yet assessed long stocking color trends in many different countries. We have developed some information on America and Germany. As far as we can tell, the trends in Germany are similar to other European countries where boys wore long stockings. Here it is difficult to assess a most available photographs are black in wide . At least the different shades show in the photographs.
Boys connonly wote dark colored stockings, black, navy blue, or brown. This tendency to wear dark stockings lasted through the early 1920s. Light colored tan stockings became more popular in the 1920s, especially after the mid-1920s. They were widely worn by the 1930s. Catalog pages provide a good record of the popular colors. See for example Sears 1924 catalog and Sears 1931 catalog. One interesting fashion detail is that boys did not commonly wear white long stockings in the late 19th Century. Little boys still in dresses might wear white stockings, but not older boys wearing Fauntleroy suits, sailor suits, and suits. Even boys in kilts did not wear white stockings. Even during the summer when boys wore light-weight white sailor suits, they were worn with dark stockings, never white long stockings. Girls wore a greater variety od stockings colored. White was especially popular for girls. One report from the 1930s indicated that the girls were wearing bright colored stockings, but HBC has not yet been able to confirm this.
Canadian boys appear to have priarily worn dark long stockings. But we notice that red was also worn. Ages have varied over time. The few images HBC has noted show Canadian boys wearing dark long stockings even in the 20th century. Black stockings were also worn for formal wear. The boy dressed up for First Communion here is a good example (figure 1). American boys began wearing light colored long stockings, especially tan and light brown, in the 1920s. HBC is unsure to what extent thes lighter colors were worn by Canadian boys. We note children at a Montreal orphanage wearing what looklike mid-range long stockings, perhaps a chocolate color.
We notice children wearing light-colored long stockings in the 1930. A good example is the Muller children.
We note Estonian Boy Scouts wearing the new tan long stockings with their
uniforms, whereas the girls wear the more traditional black stockings. This, I suppose, could just have been a matter of uniform regulations for the two genders in 1934, but the color difference is interesting none the less. We notice children wearing what look to be tan stockings in the 1930s. A good example is the Tomasson family.
HBC does not yet have full details on long stockings color trends in Germany. We know very little about trends in the 19th century. German boys in the late 19th and early 20th century commonly wore long black stockings. There was relatively little diversity here. The long stockings worn by boys were mostly black or other dark colors. This only began to change after World War I. After the War, brown or grey long cotton stockings began to appear. We do not note boys commonly wearing white stockings, although white kneesocks appear to have been popular.
We do not have a lot of information on long stockings color in Italy, in part because they were not as commonly worn as in northern Italy. We do note an unidentified Italian boy in the late 19th century wearing red long stockings.
We note a few Latvian Boy Scouts wearing rather dark long stockings. We are not sure about the color, but believe they may be dark brown.
Long stockings were very commonly worn by boys in the Soviet Union up through the early 1960s after which tights were sometimes substituted. The chilly weather together with the conviction in many families that short trousers and long stockings were appropriate for reasons of propriety and age level made long stockings almost mandatory in quite a few places. Younger school boys in
Moscow, for instance, almost universally wore long cotton stockings during the 1940s and 1950s, and they were still fairly common in the 1960s. The most popular colors were brown, beige, and various shades of tan. See for instance a typical school boy in Moscow wearing light brown stockings and a young boy being tested for musical aptitude in 1962 wearing tan stockings. We notice slighty older Soviet boys at about the same time.
We see many Swedish children in the 1920s, especially the early 20s, wearing dark, presumably black long stockings. A good example is a school group playing games at the Vist School in 1925. We also notice black long stocings at the Vist School in 1931.
Many of the photographs we have of Swedish boys wearing long stockings in the 1930s appear to be brown shades, often lighter brown shades. We note beige or light tan. A good example is a rural family. This was the most popular color in the 1930s both in other European countries and in the United States. We do see a few photographs of boys wearing darker color long stockings. A good example here is two brothers with a bike. The younger boy is wearing dark-colored long stockings, but we are unsure about the color. A reader thinks that they were dark brown. As the boy was wearing a sailor suit, dark blue or black is possible. Such color cordination rules were not always observed. Notice that in the rural family image
(Sweden) one of the boys is wearing a dark sailor suit with tan stockings, so even with dark sailor suits, the stockings were not always black or very dark. These dark shades are very difficult to assess in black and white photographs. Black long stockings seem to bhave been less common except for very formal occasions such as funerals, church events, etc.
A Swiss reader, Tom, tells us that he wore long stockings as a boy in Switzerland during the late 1930s and early 40s. Photograohs show him wearing white long stockings as a very young boy and light-colored probably beige long stockings as a little older boy.
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