Figure 1.--This American boy wears his above-the-knee knickers with patterened knee socks. Notice the unusual combination of a pattern with top bands. We beloeve that this pgotograph was taken in the mid-1920s. Image courtesy of the RS Collection.

Above-the-Knee Knickers: Hosiery

The length of the knickers were of kess importance when most boys wore long stockings as was common in the late 19th and early 20th centyry. Long stockings began going out of style in the 1910s. By the early 1920s, kneesocks had generally replacecd long stockings. This meant that boys would buckle their knickers above the knee leaving the knee bare when worn with knee socks. This looked almost like the short pants generally (at least in America) worn by little boys. This style persisted only for a brief period in the late 1910s andearly 1920s. A few images during this period show boys wearing kneesocks and above-the-knee knickers. We have only noted American boys wearing above-the-knee knickers with kneesocks and it appears to be an exclusively American style. They may have been worn in other countries as well, but we have not noticed it. This may in part be due to the fact that by the 1920s when kneesocks had become standard wear in Europe, knickers had become a garment worn by older boys and younger boys wore short pants. As a result, most photographs of boys in knickers show them wearing long stockings with knickers or below-the-knee knickers with kneesocks.

Long Stockings

The length of the knickers were of kess importance when most boys wore long stockings as was common in the late 19th and early 20th centyry. Long stockings began going out of style in the 1910s. Virtually all boys who wore knickers, until the late 1910s, wore them with long stockings. Knickers in America, however, in the early 20th century were much less common tghan kneepants. We have less information about Europe.

Knee Socks

By the early 1920s, kneesocks had begun to replacece long stockings. This meant that boys would buckle their knickers above the knee leaving the knee bare when worn with knee socks. This looked almost like the short pants generally (at least in America) worn by little boys. This style persisted only for a brief period in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Here we are a little uncertain because many of the images that we have found are undated masking it hard to establish a time line for this fashion. A few images during this period show boys wearing kneesocks and above-the-knee knickers. We have only noted American boys wearing above-the-knee knickers with kneesocks and it appears to be an exclusively American style. They may have been worn in other countries as well, but we have not noticed it. This may in part be due to the fact that by the 1920s when kneesocks had become standard wear in Europe, knickers had become a garment worn by older boys and younger boys wore short pants. As a result, most photographs of boys in knickers show them wearing long stockings with knickers or below-the-knee knickers with kneesocks.






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Created: November 7, 2001
Last edited: 6:29 PM 5/12/2006