Long Stocking Lengths: Chronology

Figure 1.--This boy from Reading, Pennsylvania was probably photograpohed in the 1880s. Note the large plaid bow. Also note the kneepants are cut well below the knee. He would have not needed very long stockings.

The length of long stockings changed over time as pants styles they were worn with changed. Because the kneepants boys wore after the the mid-19th century were generally well below the knee, stockings only had to extend to the knee. Kneepants became shorter in the 1890s. Knickers were more varied, including both above and below the knee knickers. Even above the knee knickers, however, were worn at knee length thus long stockings still did not have to extend much above the knee. When boys began wearing short pants and girls short skirts, this changed. Shorts appeared in the 1900s but were at first quite long. Shorts by the 1920s were widely worn by boys, especially European boys. As the lengths began to become shorter in the l920s and 30s. This required much longer long stockings, especially for the shorter cut shorts.

18th Century

Men and boys in the 18th century wore knee breeches. They wore stockings that extended under the hem of the breeches leg. These were not boys' outfit, but rather worn by both men and boys. I am not sure about the length of the stockings are how they were held up.

Early and mid-19th Century (1800-1870)

As boys began wearing long trousers and continued doing so until after mid-century, long stockings were not commonly worn

Late-19th Century (1870-1900)

American boys began weraring kneepants in the 1860s and they became common in the 1870s. Thus klong stockings became commonly worn. The stockings extended above the knee, but did not have to be longer as knee pants were generally worn at or below knee level.

Early-20th Century (1900-20)

Kneepants and knickers dominated in the early 20th century. Both were often worn at kneeor above the knee lengths, so the long stockings had to be made at lengths bove the knee. Short pants became increasingly popular, but tended to be almost as long as kneepants. They were often worn with kneesocks.

Inter-war Years (1920s-30s)

Long stockings declined in popularity, especially after the mid-1920s, but they were still worn by some children, both boys and girls. Much longer length stockings appeared in the inter-war years. They were needed as boys and girls were wearing shorter length clothing, the boys with short pants. While some boys wore knee-length shorts, other boys--especially younger boys--wore shorter cut short pants. This means that much longer-length long stockings were needed. Long stockings were still commonly worn in the 920s and 30s, although by the 1930s less commonly by older boys.

Postwar years (1947-70)

Long stockings rapidly fell out of fashion in the post-war era, although this caried from country to country. Long stockings were not very common in the United states, althouh they were still worn in the far northern states for a few yeas. Some were still sold. Sears advertised them as late as fall-winter 1951. I believe the stockings sold during this period were the longer length that appeared during the inter-war period. We see long stockings being worn in some European countries, especially Grmany, Poland, the Soviet Union and other countries. We note long stockings being worn in the Soviet Union as late as 1970-71 at which time they were replaced by tights.


Related Pages:
[Return to the main Main long stocking length page]
[Return to the main Main long stocking page]
[Knee socks] [White knee socks] [Long stockings]
[Striped socks] [White stockings] [Tights]

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Created: 8:08 PM 5/25/2005
Last updated: 8:08 PM 5/25/2005