Long Stockings: Country Trends

The popularity of long stockings varied greatly from country to country. A significant factor here is climate. We have noted ling stockings worn much more commonly in northern countries like Scandinavia, Germany nd Rusia mhan more southerly countries like France and Italy. Although een in the south, stockings might be worn for formal occassions. The same was the case in the americas. Almost all American boys wore long stockings in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, unless they went barefoot. Seasonality is also an important factor governing whether long stockings were worn. Long stockings were especially common during the winter. French boys during the same time very commonly wore three-quarter length stockings, but might wear long stockings during the colder winter months. HBC's information on many countries is incomplete at this time, but we have begun to collect information on several countrues. The chronology of long stockings is basically the same around the world, but there are some minor differences. Differences in colors and weating conventions also varied from country to country. One geographic development is that Russian expansion during the 198th and 9th centuries mean that a European country gained control of mot of northern asia. We so see long stockings worm in two Asin countries--Japan and Koraa, primarily because they adopted western clothing.

Africa

We do not believe long stiockings were worn to any extent in Africa, even by the the children of European colonial families. There may have been some exceptions, especially with new arivals. And we are not sure about the Germans who before WorldWar I had several African colonies. But for the most part we do not see long stockings being worn.


Figure 1.-- Here we see an Argentine family, probably about 1930. A teen ager wears a short pants suit wuth long stockings. His younger brother wears socks. Unfortunsately it is a poor quality image.

America, Latin

We do not see many Latin American children wearing long stockings. The exception here were the Southern Cone countries of Argentina abd Chile with may European immigrants and a temperate climate. Even here, however, long stockings were not very common. Social class was a factor. Upper-class families which traveled abroad may have also had their children wear long stockings, especially for formal occassions. Unfortunately for many countries our archive is very limited. We suspect that stockings were more common for girls than for boys. Our limited rchive, however, makes assessing such trends difficult.

Argentina

We do not have any written information about long stockings in Argentina. Nor do we have any catalog information. We believe Argentine children wore long stockings in the 19th and early-20th centuriues, although we are not sure just hiw commoin this was. We do not have sufficent information at this time. We have some information from the photoigraphic record. We can not yet confirm this for the 19h century because of our limited archive, we do note Argentine boys in the photographic record wearing long stockings during the early-20th century. A good example is two older boys wearing black long stockings with shirt pats suits about 1930. Argentina is one of the more Europeanized Latin American countries. We suspect this was a European style. Fashion of course a the time was largely determined in Europe. Argentina in the late-19th and early-20th century was a destination country for European emigration. The most important country involved ws Italy. We are not sure just how common long stockings were in Argentina.

Chile

We note upper-class Chinean children wearng long stockings. A example is the Subercaseuse boys in 1887.,

Mexico

No Information available yet.

(El) Salvador

We notice Salvadoran boys wearing knee pants with long stockings in the late 19th century. A good example is an unidentified Salvadoran boy, we think in the 1880s. Given the warm tropical climate, it is interesting to see children wearing long stockings. We are not sure how common it was.


Figure 2.-- These American brothers in 1911 wear matching sailor suits with long stockings. They look to be about 3-5 years old.

America, North

Long stockings were most common in Europe, but we see large numbers of North American children wearing them. They were widely worn in both the United Statea abd Canada in the lare-19th and early-20th century. Long stockings were worn by young American boys, especially in the colder more northery states through the 1920s and 30s. It is difficult to process details because much of the information on this subject is derived from assessing photographic images. As many American boys wore long pants, it is impossible to determine what kind of socks/stockings they were wearing. Information is availavle of course in autiobiographies and articles written about childhood experiences. We would appreciate it if readers coming accross pertinent references would pass them on to the Webmaster. One reader remembers, "when I was about 7 years old and we lived in Northern Minnesota, that on several very cold days my mother made me wear long brown stocking fastened with garters pinned to my underwear to school. I hated it, because I thought only girls' wore long stocking." HBC has noted several images of Canadian boys wearing long stockings. This appears to have been quite similar to American patterns in the late 19th century. HBC has noted that some Canadian boys continued wearing long stockings in the 20th century when many American boys began wearing short socks and kneesocks. In particular Canadian boys appear to have worn longstockings for dress occasions. This appears to have been more prevalent among French Canadians than English Canadians.

America

Long stockings were worn by young American boys, especially in the colder more northery states through the 1920s and 30s. It is difficult to process details because much of the information on this subject is derived from assessing photographic images. As many American boys wore long pants, it is impossible to determine what kind of socks/stockings they were wearing. Information is availavle of course in autiobiographies and articles written about childhood experiences. We would appreciate it if readers coming accross pertinent references would pass them on to the Webmaster. One reader remembers, "when I was about 7 years old and we lived in Northern Minnesota, that on several very cold days my mother made me wear long brown stocking fastened with garters pinned to my underwear to school. I hated it, because I thought only girls' wore long stocking."

Canada

HBC has noted several images of Canadian boys wearing long stockings. This appears to have been quite similar to American patterns in the late 19th century. HBC has noted that some Canadian boys continued wearing long stockings in the 20th century when many American boys began wearing short socks and kneesocks. In particular Canadian boys appear to have worn long stockings for dress occasions. This appears to have been more prevalent among French Canadians than English Canadians. Long stockings persisted in Canada a little longer than the United States.


Figure 3.--Little Japanese boys wear what look to be over the knee long stockings with short pants suits, but as HBC developed we realizedthat these are more likely tights. Catalogs in Japan often use Western boys to model the clothes. Note the beret to add a Western touch.

Asia

We do not have a lot of informnation about Asia, with the exception of Japan. We see very few Asian boys wearung long stockings. This is in part a matter of geogrphy and climate. Russian expansion in the 18th and 10th century seized all of northern Asia meaning Siberia. Even Japan's vicory in the Russo-Japanese War did not challenge Russian control of Siberia, although it did Manchuria. This effectivly meant that the coldest areas of Asia were Russian. And clothing trends in Russian Siberia reflected general Russian trends. We do see long stockings in East Asia, the countries just south of Russian Siberua. We are not sure yet about China (Manchuria). We do note long stockings in both Japan and Korea. Here we see children wearing long stockings as Western clothing became adopted in the early-20th century. Notavly, all the Asian countries in which long stockings were worn adopted tights when they appeared suing the post-World war II era.

China

Northern China is primarily Manchuria which was occupied by Japan (1931-45). We do not think that long stockings were commonly worn there, although the climate would seem appropriate during the winter. The major factor here was tht most Chinese boys in Manchuria wore traditnl clothes rather than Western short nts, thus there was no real need for long stockings. We are not sure wht happened during the period of Japanese occpation--Mnchuko. Some Japanese boys may hve worn long stokings, but this would have been small prt of the populion. The Japanese Government was unble to convice mny Japanese to settle in Manchuria.

Japan

We believe that long stockings were commonly worn during the winter by Japanese boys begiining in the lte-19h century and mre so during the early-20th century. This was especially the case in the cities where boys began wearing Western-styled clothing. This was often thecase in the chools, but spread to be the sandard dress for clothing. Vhildren from middle-class families might have traditionl outfis for special occassions, but generally wore Western garments. During the winter they would countinur wear short pants, but with long stockings. This continued through the 1940s and into the early-50s. HBC unfortunately has very limited information about pre-World War II Japan. Long stockings have sence been replaced by tights. We are not sure, however, just when this translation took place. In every country, long stockings were replaced by tights because they were so much more convenient and cumbersome stocking supporters were not needed. We know that tights proved popular in Japan, but at this time have very limited information on long stockings. We do not that well-made Japanese films with attention to costume accuracy often do show Jpanese boys wearing long stockings. One example is Mishima: My Life in Four Chapters.

Korea

We think that long stockings becae wrn in Korea suring the Japanese occupation (1909-45). Our nformtion, however, is very limited. We have avery small Korean archive.

Russia

We do not have a lot of informnation about Asia, with the exception of Japan. We see very few Asian boys wearung long stockings. This is in part a matter of geogrphy and climate. Russian expansion in the 18th and 10th century seized all of northern Asia meaning Siberia. Even Japan's vicory in the Russo-Japanese War did not challenge Russian control of Siberia, although it did Manchuria. This effectivly mean that the coldest areas of Asia were Russian. Russia is one of the few trans-European-Asa contries, and the only large country tht sans the two continents. And clothing trends in Russian Siberia reflcted general Russian trends.


Figure 4.-- Of all the different regions, long stockings were most common in Europe. They were widely worn from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Thy were very common in Eastern Europe, but it is often difficult to tell whuich country unless the photograph is identified. This family portrait was taken think in the 1930s, but we are not sure about which country. We think it may be the Soviet Union.

Europe

Of all the different regions, long stockings were most common in Europe. They were widely worn from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. We begin to see long stockings when boys began wearing shoertened-length pants and girls shorter skits in the mid-19th century. Both boys and girls wore them into their teens. This varied widely from country to country on a geographic basis. Long tockings were most common in the more northerly countries, including the Baltics, Germany, Poland, Russia, Scandanavia, Switzerland. We also see them throughout Eastern Europe where the climate ws similar to northern Europe. Our archieve is fairly limited for some of these countries, but we have a very extendive German achives and see children wearing long stockings into the 1950s. They were worn even later in the Soviet Union. The reason of course was climatic. Northern Europe is much colder than balmy southern Europe. Britain was an exception. Long stockings were less common there, at least in the 20th century. And of course the British climate is milder than the rest of northern Europe. Long stockings were much less common in southern Europe (Greece, Italy, and Spain). While the main reason was climatic, poverty was another factor. Even in the south, however, we do see some children wearing long stockings for formal occasions. The pattern was more varies in countries and regions midway between northern and southern Europe. We do not see many French children wearing long stockings, especially in the 20th century.







HBC






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Created: 6:37 AM 3/3/2013
Last updated: 11:31 PM 7/12/2015