Long Stockings: Personal Experiences

Figure 1.--Children in the late 19th and early 20th century commonly wore long stockings. The popularity varied widely from country to country and over time. Many children as they grew older did not like them and the waists they had to wear to hold them up. Notice the boater on the chair that the American boy here wore.

HBC has noted a few accounts of boys actually wearing long stockings. Often they remember the stocking supporters that were worn to keep up their stockings. Such memories are sometimes included in autobiographies. It is not the type of imformation commonly included by biographers im actual biographies. Some HBC readers have provided some personal accounts. This topic has proven to be of interest among HBC American, German, and Russian readers. While long stockings passed out of style in most countries by the 1940s, they were worn in some countries until the 1950s when tights replaced them. Thus we have personal accounts from relatively recent times.

English Boy (About 1915)

An Englishman born in 1915 provided this account,".... From as early as I can remember I wore short trousers to just below the knee, and black stockings to just above the knee. The stockings were held up by a single susupender at the side of each leg which were then attached to a liberty bodice." Unitl age 9. At that age he reports wearing some type of boy stocking supporter or "waist which had six suspenders for long stockings. "... when I left school at the age of 15 I was finally allowed to wear long trousers. Gone were the stockings and susupenders (except for the gents' suspenders I now wore below each knee to hold up my socks)."

American Boy (1920s)

Nearly 80 years old, I still vividly remember the "long" stockings that I and most boys wore with short pants in cold weather until age 6 or 7 when they graduated to knickers. The stockings were usually wool and beige or black. The were held up by a single garter or pair of garters in a Y in front or side. Sometimes the garters were pinned to underwear, but usually an over the shoulder bodice supported a waistband from which the garters were suspended. Girls and boys wore the same bodices, but the girls of course wore dresses with their stockings. The girls' stockings were full length and covered by the dresses. But for some reason I've never figured out, the boys' stockings were always far too short. The stocking tops were not covered by the shorts, and the garters could be seen below the shorts. I hated them, and was happy to graduate to knickers.

American Children (1923)

Here we have an account of Peggy and Tony who were 10 and 12 years old. Their parents insisted that they wear long stockings which as they got older they didn't like at all. As soon as they left home they would detach them from the waist and roll them down.

American Boys (1930s)

Dressing boys in short pants and long cotton stockings was quite common from around 1920 to the late-40s and early-50s. In North America at least. You can find pics in the mail order catelogues including pics of boys in garter belts and pics of boys and girls together. Boys were sent to school this way in the cool or cold weather. I have baby book pics of two or three of us dressed like that and wore them to early grade school. The children's stockings seem to have been mostly cotton ribbed but there were also pairs on plain cotton too.

German Boy (1930s-40s)

A German reader has provided us a fascinating look at his experiences and clothing growing up in NAZI Germany and his experiences as a teen-ager after World War II. He explains that the type was strongly by the historical situation, i.e. the Third Reich before World War II and the sad times during the War and the poor and reviving situation after the War. Clothing was influenced by the economical situation of my parents which was always very good, and of course by my age. He focused on hosiery.

Brief Comments

Some brief comments are available reporting on childhood experiences with long stockings. We post them because they are such short postings.


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

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Created: January 22, 2002
Last updated: 6:31 PM 9/22/2006