Long Stocking Supporters: Country Trends


Figure 1.--The snapshot here is undated and we do not know what country it was from. We suspect that it may have been Germany in the 1930s, The stockings are a bit short for the 1940s. The boy here seems to be wearing a Leibchen with two garter straps--one for each leg. Notice that the clasp of the hose supporter is the traditional manufactured type (rubber button and wire loop) rather than the elastic strap with graduated button holes that attaches to a button (or Waschknopf) sewn onto the stocking top. The unidentified boy seems to be about 7-8 years old. Click on theimage for a fuller discussion.

Long stockings were worn by children in many different countries. And thus mothers and clothing designers had to addresx the problem of how to hold up stickings. Most of our information and all of the published accounts about stocking supporters is from American sources. We have very little information about stocking supporters in other countries. This is in part beause HBC has better access to American sources, especially catalogs. Sears and Wards catalogs provide detailed information on hosiery and stocking supporters over the years. HBC has no comparable source for European countries. Here the photographic record provides information on hosiery, but not on stocking supporters. Another factor is that long stockings were much more commonly worn in America than in European countries. A French reader tells us that the elaborate susspender waists worn in America were unknown in France. French children used buttons to keep up their stockings. A German reader repports that stockings in the 20th century were held up by informal devices like pins. We have no 19th century accounts.

Information Sources

Most of our information and all of the published accounts about stocking supporters is from American sources. We have very little information about stocking supporters in other countries. This is in part beause HBC has better access to American sources, especially catalogs. Sear and Wards catalogs provide detailed information on hosiery and stocking supporters over the years. HBC has no comparable source for European countries. Here the photographic record provides information on hosiery, but not on stocking supporters. Another factor is that long stockings were much more commonly worn in America than in European countries.

Country Trends

We have very limited information at this time on the stocking supporters worn in different countries. There were difference between European hose supporters and the American style. Here are information is limited. We know a great deal about American support garments because of all the catalogs and magazine advertisements. There does not seem to be anything quite like this in Europe. We do not have much information on many European countries. In part this is because long stockings were not very common im many countries. In addition, in Germany, Russia, and other northern countries, long stockings for boys persisted much longer than elsewhere. Some German and Russian boys were still wearing long stockings as late as the 1970s although tights began to replace them in these places. Here climate was partly a factor. But many parents in northern Europe continued to insist on long stockings for boys for reasons of class propriety, tradition, and formality. Hose supporters in these places were clearly necessary as long as long stockings continued to be worn. The Y-shaped supporters are distinctly American. They weren't worn in Europe at all so far as we can tell. European hose supporters (in Germany, Russia, and elsewhere) were always single garter straps.






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Related Pages:
[Return to the Main stocking supporters page]
[Return to the Main hoisery page]
[Knee socks] [Tights] [Long stockings] [Striped socks] [White stockings]



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Created: July 19, 2003
Last updated: 2:03 PM 2/14/2008