Long stockings are an especially difficult garment to assess. This is because tights are much easier to use in costume dramas than long stockings. They are more available and easier to wear . Thus they are often used instead of long stockings in historical dramas set in the era before World War II (1939-45). Tights were not worn as a child's garmrent bfore the War, but long stockings were. Look at "The Little Princess", last version by Alfonso Cuaron (1995) and in "The Secret Garden" by Agnieska Holland (1994). In both films, girls wears tights even if the action is in 1905-10. In Holland's film, we can look at the very beginning of the film a little girl living in India clothed by a servant; curiously, this passage is really authentic. Her long stockings have a button on the stocking which is tied to a somewhat silky garter. The rest of the film presents the little girl in tights. In the 1990s version of the Secret Garden the girl is wearing tights which is a real anachronism, but she is wearing over-the-knee white leather leggings. Here it is a true replica. It gives a good idea how a girl was really well-dressed at that time. Tights did become children's wear in the 1960s. Boys wore them in several countries. We do not know of any films, however, in which boys are depicted wearing tights, although there must be some from countries where boys commonly wore tights.
Long stockings are a very important garment for children. They were commonly worn by children for about a century, primarily from about 1860-1950, but even longer in some countries, primarily the Soviet Union and Poland. For much of this period, long stockings were the most common type of hosiery worn by children, although this varied somewhat from country to country. This is easilly observeable in the photographic record as boys in the 1860s began weating knee-length pants. And short pants and knickers subsequently became very common boys' wear. Long stockings were not the only type of hosiery worn, but they certainly were a very important type of hosiery.
Movies and TV producers have a problem if they want to historically correct costuming. Long stockings were so common that they need to be used in many films set in the 1860-1950 period. This poses a problem in that neither long stockings are the needed stocking supporters can no longer be purchased in stores. Thus costuming children in long stockings becomes an expensive proposition. The problem is not as serious for films set in the 19th century, at least the 1860-90 period because knee pants tended to be fairly long, often cut at calf length. For these long-cut knee pants, knee socks, especially the long turn-over-top knee sicks could easily be used by costermers. This length of knee pants and knickers changed in the 1890s when these pants actually became knee-length pants and thus actual long stockings were needed by movie cosumers. This became even a greater problem after World war I (1914-18) when shoer pants became even shoerter. Many producers and costume people thus commonly take the much less expedient step of using tights rather than long stockings. This is not only because of the cost factor, but tights are much easier to use in costume dramas. They are more available and easier to wear. And very few viwers will notice the difference. Thus they are often used instead of long stockings in historical dramas set in the era before World War II (1939-45). Tights were not worn as a child's garmrent before the War, but long stockings were.
Long stockings are an especially difficult garment to assess. It is not always possible to tell the difference, especially if boys are wering knee pants or knickers.
We note a number of films in which long stockings are depicted. The matter of whether the children are costmed in long stockings or tights, is basically auestion of when the film was made. Long stockings in American films by the 1950s were increasingly less likely to use long stockingz, regardless of the hostorical accuracy. There were some films that insisted on accuracy. Even Europeans films by the 1970s were increasingly less likely to actually use long stockings in the costuming. But some producers insisted on historical accurcy, regardless of the complications and cost. As TV programs tended to have lower budgets for costumes, they were even less likely than in the movies to use long stockngs. Many films archived on HBC have had to address this costuming problem.
Tights did become children's wear in the 1960s. Boys wore them in several countries. We do not know of any films, however, in which boys are depicted wearing tights. This is because our knowledge of films is primarily limited to English-speaking countries. And boys did not wear tights in America, England, and other English-speaking countries. Presumably there are films with tights from countries where boys commonly wore tights such as Germany, Poland and Russia. We note that in Russian films. A good ecample is 'Gentlemen of Fortune' (1972). Tights had just replaced long stockings at the time. We have not yet onserved them in films made in other countres.
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