Figure 1.--Catalogs are an important source of information on stocking color. Unfortunately we do not yet have extensive information on Canadian catalogs. Here we see some of the shades of long stockings offered by Eaton's in 1939-40. Brown shades seem the most common, but note the black and red shades.
Our information on the color of long stockings worn in Canada is still limited. As best we can tell, the colors worn by Candian boys were basically the same as in the United States. At leat we have not yet noted any substantial differences.
Canadian boys appear to have priarily worn dark long stockings. This has varied somewhat over time. Our archive is still limited on the 19th century. The few images HBC has noted show Canadian boys wearing dark long stockings even in the 20th century. This was fairly standard through the 1910s and World War I. Black stockings were commonly worn for formal wear. The boy dressed up for First Communion here is a good example (figure 1). Yonger boys might wear white long stockings when dressing up, but dark colors, especially black, were myuch more common. Canadian boys began wearing light colored long stockings, especially tan and light brown, in the 1920s. HBC is unsure to what extent these 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.
Our information on the color of long stockings worn in Canada is still limited. As best we can tell, the colors worn by Candian boys were basically the same as in the United States. At least we have not yet noted any substantial differences. The chronology is a little different n Canada, but as in the United States, long stockings were worn extensively in Canada. Although Canadian styles in regard to long stockings tended to be very similar to those of the U.S. up through the 1920s, long stockings worn with short trousers continued to be very common in Quebec from the 1930s onwards, when this style had begun to decline in America. The colors, however, appear to have been essentislly the same. One color difference in Canada, at least by the 1930s, is the popularity of dark red long stockings for boys (figure 1). Some American girls may have worn this color but not boys. American boys in 1939-40 stuck almost exclusively
to beige, tan, and light brown long stockings. We have two American Sears ads for long stockings for a a similar period (1940 and 1941), which show the more limited colors.
Canadian boys appear to have priarily worn dark long stockings. This has varied somewhat over time. Our archive is still limited for the 19th century. The few images HBC has noted show Canadian boys wearing dark long stockings in the late 19th century. An example is the McMaster boy wearing black stockings in 1897. The McMaster boy from Montreal wears a dressy white suit with black long stockings in a studio portrait taken January 30. This was also the case in the early 20th century. A good example is the Gagnon boy from Quebec City in 1901 is wearing dark long stockings, I think they may be black but am not sure. hey are held up with round garters. Black and other dark colors were fairly standard through the 1910s and World War I. American boys began wearing light colored long stockings, especially tan and light brown, in the 1920s. HBC is unsure to what extent these lighter colors were worn by Canadian boys. We see many boys wearing black long stockings in the 1920s. An example is the Fowler children in 1927. One of the Fowler children of Montreal wore black long stockings with short trousers—but trousers that were still almost as long as knee pants. Black stockings dominated until the 1920s when we gradually see a shift to brown, tan, or beige stockings, although black continued to be the common color for religious ceremonies. We know that some Canadian children were wearing tan long stockings in the 1920s. The first children we see wearing beige or tan long stockings are the McCrae children in 1919. The photograph of Master McCrae of Montreal illustrates two interesting changes—the switch from black to beige stockings and the replacement of the older style knee pants or knickers with short trousers.
Another example is the Kastner children in 1929. One of the Kastner children—a Montreal boy—wears the new knitted style of short trousers with extremely long tan stockings, obviously with hose supporters. The shorter style shorts seem to have been typical of the later 1920s and 1930s in Canada, as in the United States and Germany. Although the Kastner boy wears a sweater and tie, he might be wearing school clothes.
A World War II image taken in 1942 shows an unidentified Canadian boy wearing light-colored, probably tan, long stockings.
We also see children at a Montreal orphanage in 1943 wearing -tan stockings.
And we see an
unidentified boy at home wearing what looks like tan longstockings about 1950.
Black stockings were commonly worn for formal wear. Younger boys might wear white long stockings when dressing up, but dark colors, especially black, were much more common.
The conservative tradition of wearing black long stockings for First Communion appears in a photograph from French Canada, presumably from the 1920s, showing the new style of short trousers that come well above the knee as well as knickers. Wearing black long stockings with First Communion suits persisted into 1950s at a time when American children were no longer wearing long stockings even for formal wear. .
We note boys wearing black long stockings and girls wearing white long stockings at a Lithuanian school in Montreal during 1932. The boys wear the traditional short pants suits with black long stockings. Even when beige stockings were commonly worn for school or secular occasions, First Communion ceremonies often mandated black (or sometimes) white stockings. We see girls at St Lambert's Convent in 1944 wearing white long stockings and boys black long stockings for their First Communion. The portrait ws taken on the occasion of a formal banquet celebrating First Communion at the Comvent School. This illustrates once more the traditional formality of boys’ dress—dark short pants suits worn with black long stockings. By this time, long stockings for dress-up wear had become somewhat unusual for boys in the United States, but they were still fairly common in Quebec, which adhered to conservative, European styles.
Some schools insisted that the children all wear the same color long stockings. Other schools were less sure.
Long stockings were still being worn in Canada in 1948.
An example here is St Henri in 1948. We see white, beige, and tan long stockings as well as kneesocks.
Note this unusual photo of a First Communion group at St. Henri’s church. Notice that all but one of the boys wear short trousers suits. Two boys wear knee socks, while one boy wears long trousers. But the others all wear long stockings with their shorts—in come cases white stockings (appropriate for the white communion suits) and in other cases, tan or beige stockings.
We still see boys wearing black long stockings for First Communion into the 1950s.
While black long stockings at the turn of the century might be worn for all occassions including play and casual wear, this began to becme less common in the 1920s. We see children increasingly wearing tan and beige long stockings for play.
We notice a boy wearing tan long stockings also in 1942 on a family outing. Long stockings were commonly worn for warmth as well as for formal occasions. This boy on a seaside outing wears the common beige stockings with his short pants. He seems somewhat formally dressed for such an informal occasion.
We note long stockings being worn to school. Above-the-knickers were still being worn in some conservative places in Quebec. Notice this school class in 1928 with a mixture of trouser styles but always with long stockings in various colors for knickers or shorts.
Some Catholic schools required girls to wear them, usually black long stockings.
Assessing color shades is a little complicated because photogrphy was mostly black and white during most of the period long stockings were worn. Catalogs include a great deal of information. Black and white stockings are fairly easy to identify. And we note many photographs of boys wearing black long stockings. An example of a boy wearing long stockings is the Molson boy in 1900. He wears a white suit with long black stockings (in this case ribbed stockings. Other shades are more complicated. The most common color for long stockings was black, but there were changes over time. We note children at a Montreal orphanage wearing what look like mid-range long stockings, perhaps a chocolate color, but it is difficult to know for sure. The children normally wore tan long stockings with their shorts. A few of the children wear ankle socks, but long stockings seem to have been standard for both boys and girls. We notice Montreal boys wearing dark long stockings in the 1910s, but we are not sure just what shade they are wearing.
One boy wears knee pants, and the other with knickers buckled at the knee.
We notice a Canadian schoolboy wearing what look like tan stockings in 1942. We notice red stockings, but am not sure how commonly they were worn. Unfortunately we do not have a great deal of catalog information. I can make out a little bit of theEaton's 1939-40 catalog for long
stockings in French--just the headings, however. The girl on the left
is wearing "Beautiful, solid color stockings of part-cashmere knit."
One of the colors available is "light faun", which is close to tan.
The boy on the right is wearing "blizzard" weight stockings for cold
winters of "all-wool worsted yarn." Among the colors available in the
all-wool stockings are "cardinal" (dark red), "black", "faun" (tan),
and "brown" (figure 1).
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