Older boys and men wore long white stockings with knee breeches during the 18th century. Boys and girls did not commonly wear long white stockings in the early 19th century, in part because long trousers were commonly worn by men and boys. In addition, dresses were long and long stockings of any color were not needed. Also boys and girls wore pantalettes making long stocking unnecessary. Long stockings came back into style in the late 19th century as boys commonly wore knee pants. They mostly wore dark stockings, even with dressy Faintleroy suits. While long stockings were only worn by boys for a brief period begining at about the turn of the century until the early 1920s. After that period, in American they became entirely a girl's style, but have been replaced by white tights.
White stockings once so commonly worn by men in the 18th century, emerged at the end of the 19th century as a dressy style for young boysand girls. Boys wore them for only a few years, but they they continued to ba popular style for girls, although they now wear tights instead of long over the knee stockings. Older boys and men wore long white stockings with knee breeches during the 18th century with knee breeches. Women did not need to wear them as they wore long dresses covering their legs. Boys and girls did not commonly wear long white stockings in the early 19th century, in part because long trousers were commonly worn by men and boys. In addition, dresses were long and long stockings of any color were not needed. Also boys and girls wore pantalettes making long stocking unnecessary. Even after breehing boys did not wear long stockings as the popular skeleton suits of the day entailed long ankel length pants, often bworn with ankle socks and strap shoes. As dresses becan to become shorter in the 1830s they were mostly worn by
little boys and girls with lacey pantalettes which came to the ankle--making long stockings unecessary. Only in the 1850s
did long white stockings come into style for small children. Dress styles by the 1850s were much shorter than earlier in the decade. Pantalettes had also been shortened and now were worn well above the knee. As it was not considered proper for ecven young children to appear in bare legs, they were now outfitted in long white stockings. Long stockings came back into style in the late 19th century as boys commonly wore knee pants. Boys in the late 19th century wore long stockings that went above the knee with knee length pants. The stockings were mostly black in the late 19th century or some dark color. They mostly wore dark stockings, even with dressy Faintleroy suits. Long stockings came back into style in the late 19th century as boys commonly wore knee pants. They mostly wore dark stockings, even with dressy Fauntleroy suits. While long white stockings were only worn by boys for a brief period begining at about the turn of the century until the early 1920s. After that period, in American they became entirely a girl's style. Younger boys would wears tunics with pantakettes and long white stockings. Older boys would wear kneepants, nickers, or even long trousers.
I am not positive about the materail. Dark long stckings were made of wool. White stockings on the other hand were not worn for everyday, but rather for special occasions. They also seem more shere than the heavy long stockings boys commonly wore. Expensive white stockings were probably silk, but there were probably less expensive ones in other materials.
We have begun to collect some information on the conventions associated with long white stockings. We note both boys and girls wearing white long stockings. Girls of all ages wore them. The boys that wore then were mostly younger boys. They appear to be especially associated with formal wear. This was paticularly common in the early 20th century. We note many boys, especially American boys, doing their First Communion or appearing in weddings wearing long white stockings. A good example here is an American school group doing their First Communion in 1917. This was especially true for the early 20th century when white kneesocks were not considered sufficently formal. We note that they were more widely worn by girls, often for school or other less formal occassions. When boys wore them, however, it was more likely to be worn for formal occassions.
White long stockings were worn with several different garments. Trends varied somewhat from country to country. Young boys before breeching appear in long white stockings. I have no noted this fashion in the early 19th century. Of course this is before photography increased the number of available images, but also because dresses tended to be quite long ans even when they became shorter as the 19th century progressed were worn with long pantalettes making long stockings unecessary. After the mid-19th cetury when pantalettes became less common, at least long pantalettes, then long stockings appear. Fauntleroy suits during their greatest period of popularity in the late 19th century were almost always worn with long stockings, but dark ones generally matching the color of the suit were tghe most common approach. As discussed in the Fauntleroy section, Fauntleroy suits were not always black, a common misconception because of the available black and white photography of the day. Fauntleroy suits came in dark shades of blue, brown, burgandy, and green as well as various shades of grey. We do see some boys wearing long white stockings with Fautleroy suits. This seems most common in the early 20th century. Around the turn of the century it became fashionable to wear Faumtleroy suits with white socks of varying length, generally three-quarter length, or white stockings. This was not a universal trend. Concurrent with the appearance of long white stockings was the tunic suit. Various styles of tunic suits were worn, sailor Russian blouse, and Buster Brown tunic suits. They were one of the mosdt popular styles for younger boys at the turn of the century. At the same time, fewer boys were being outfitted in dresses. Many of the younger boys wearing tunic suits, prpbably would have still been kept in dresses a decade earlier. White sailor suits were popular summer where in the late 19th and early 20th century. Unlike other boys suits, some sailor suits, especially the white ones were made with long pants. Boys wear kneepants sailor suits might wear them with long stockings, but usually dark stockings. Bu the 1890s, boys in dressy sailor suits might wear long white stockings, but by the 1910sm socks were more common. After the turn of the century knickers began to replace kneepants. Initially many knicker suits were had knicker pants which fastened above the knees. These were worn with ling stockings. Usually they were dark stockings, but a younger boy in a fashionable white summer suit might wear white stockings. Long white stockings were considered to be formal dresswear. As a result, boys generally wore formal dress shoes with them. Various styles of patent leather strap shoes or dance pumps, with the required flat black bows, were the most common. I think they were almost always black strap shoes--but am not positive about this. HBC has noted some white strap shoes, but is uncertain about colored shoes like red or blue. After the turn of the century white stockings appeared as wear for younger boys, usually as part of fancy outfits. They were worn with dressy Fautleroy suits as well as suits with sailor motifs. Unlike the dark long stockings that were worn with kee pants, white long stockings were worn with above the knee knickers or short pants. As they were often worn as part of dressy outfits, in some cases dress shoes like patent leather strap shoes. The white long stockings were to some degree seasonal wear, being much more commonly worn during the spring and summer months.
The popularity of long white stockings varied from country to country and over time. We only have limited information on these vaiations at this time. Long white stockings were briefly worn by American boys from about the turn of the century until the 1920s when stockings were mostly replaced by kneesocks. White stockings were worn in the late 19ty century, but not commonly boys. After World War I, the wearing of whitelong stockings declined sharply in the 1920s--even for formal dress outfits. Dark or stripped stockings were much more common. White stockings were often worn with a dressy outfit. Long stockings continued to be worn into the 1940s, but American boys did not commonly wear white ones. I have little information on England. I do note that younger boys before breeching were wearing long white stockings by the mid-19th century. The photograph record suggests that three-quarter length socks were more common. After breeching long white stockings were not commonly worn by boys. I believe they were worn in France. but have little information at this time. It appears from the photographs I have seen that short socks and three=qwuarter socks were more popular in France than long white stockings. I do not believe they were commonly worn in Germany. but have little information at this time. I believe they were commonly worn in Italy. but have little information at this time.
HBC does not have any first hand accounts at this time, but believe that long white stockings were not at all popular with boys. While boys commonly wore long dark stockings with kneepants, when white stockings became fashionable at the turn of the century most boys did not want to wear them. Dark stockings were almost universally worn by boys of all ages, such was not the case for the white ones.
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