American Mail Order Catalogs with Boys Clothing: 1924

Figure 1.--Sears offered quite a wide range of long stockings in 1924. Here are school hosiery for boys. The model here is shown wearing a sailor suit. Some care has to be used in these hosiery ads. The boys in particular are shown in outfits to show off the long stockings which may have affected the accuracy of the depictions.

American mail order catalogs offer a very useful time line on changing fashion trends. Younger boys might still wear sailor suits. Wash suits were popular play outfits. American boys in 1924 commonly wore knickers. Most boys wore long stockings with knickers. We note a full page ad for Sears long stockings. There were also a variety of support garments offered. Elatic was sold for home sewers. We increasingly see low-cut oxfords being offered rather thsn high-top shoes.

Infants Clothes

Dress-like sleepers were made for small infants. Older infants might wear shorter skirt-like garments, perhaps only for the girls.

Toddler Clothes

One of the most popular styles for todlers and pre-school children, both boys and girls, were rompers. The rompers were a sharp departure from earlier styles for young children which were often very elaborate an constrictive. Loose-fitting rompers were a much more casual approch to children's clothes. They were mostly made for pre-school children, but as they were made through age 6, some children may have worn rompers after they came home from school.


Boys wore a variety of coats in the fall and winter of 1922-23. Double breasted coats appear to have been very popular, including reefer jackets with sailor styling.

Wash Suits

Easily launderable casual, play suits were poplar in the 1920s. We see a lot of boys wearing them in the photographic record. Catalogs offered was suits in many different styles. We note an advertisement for a standard wash suit made by Tom Sawyer in 1924. Tom Sawyer was a poplar brand for these and other boys' outfits. They commonly used Indian Head cloth.

Sailor Suits

Sailor suits were still worn by American boys in the 1920s. They were most popular for younger boys. We notice Ward's sailor suits offered in the Fall and Winter catalog (1924-25), p. 293. They were button-on short pants suits for boys 3 to 8 years old.


It was in the 1920s that our modern concept of cllared shirts became widely worn. The soft collar began to replace the Eton collar that had dominated oler boys' dresswear sine the 1890s.


American boys mostly wore knickers in the 1920s. Knickers wre especially common in the eary- and mid-1920s. We also see yoinger boys wearing short pants and older boys wearing long pants. Knickers were mostly worn ith lionf stockings. Catalogs primarily offered knickers, but we also see short ad long pany\ts in the catalog pages.


American boys still commonly wore long stockings in 1923, espsecially during the fall and winter. Kneesocks had begun to appear more commonly in catalogs, but long stockings were still the most common for winter wear. Three-quarter socks were more common during the summer--unless a boy went barefoot, still common in small towns and rural areas.

Sears long stockings

American boys in 1924 commonly wore knickers. Most boys wore long stockings with knickers. We note a full page ad for Sears long stockings. The Sears ad for long stockings here appeared in the Fall and Winter catalog, Wards, p. 249. Long stockings for boys and girls were still the standard wear for children of both genders in America during the early 1920s, especially during the winter months. Boys wore them with both short pants and knickers.

Holeproof Hosiery

This advertisement for Holeproof Hosiery dates from the 1920s, I think from 1924. The ad shows two boys roller skating, one of whom falls, thus damaging his black long stockings (standard wear for most schoolboys in the 1920s). A book detailing the history of the Holeproof Hosiery Comopany of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company made stockings for men, women, and children. But of course boys were the hardest on their hosiery, so this ad appeals to mothers who have the constant problem of darning the knees of boys' stockings or of replacing stockings that are too badly worn.

Support Garments

As long stockings were still commonly worn, we coninue to see advertisements for a range of support garmebts in 1924. Support garments were not only for long stockings, but this was the orimry purpose. One particularly important item was the basic garter. This was an item to hold up long stockings which were still very commonly worn by both boys and girls. We also see other support garments like gater waists and underwaists. Several companies offered these garments. One of the most prominant brand was Hickory. We see Hickory support garments very heavily advertised in both national magazines and local newspapers. A good example is a Hickory garter waist which the company just refers to as a waist in a South Carolina newspaper. We see another Hickory waist ad in a Texas newspaper. We note elastic being sold for various garments, but the purpose was always support. A Nufashond elastic advertisement appeared in the Ladies Home Journal (July 1924). Elastic was more used in girls than boys clothing, but we find it in both. Elastic sold by itself was for home sewers. We note EZ Waists summer union suits. We also see a boy's "M" waist union suit manufactured by the Minneapolis Knitting Works, a major manufcturer of underwear. It appeared in Child Life. Support garnents were widely advertised in magazines. The style was especially popular during the earlier 1920s.

Other Clothes

The 1920s clothing catalogs included a variety of garments and accessories besides the major categories. Many are important to note as in some cases as fashions changed or developed, they would disappear or become important styles in future generations. This is one of the valuable elements of these catalogs, allowing us to track changing fashions with sources of known dates.


Underwear was still rather complicated in the 1920s, especially for younger children. This was primarily because of the popularity of button-on styling and because long stockings were still being worn. Children commonly wore union suits. There were styles for both boys and girls and both summer and winter styles. Actually boys' underwear didn't change much between 1915 and 1925. Waist suits had pretty much the same design and the same basic features. There were, however, major changes which began in the late 1920s.


We have only limited information on footwear during 1924. We increasingly see low-cut oxfords being offered rather thsn high-top shoes. We have found an advertisement for Buster Brown shoes showing destinctive boy and girl styles. It was a prominant full-page advertisement placed in the Saturday Evening Post (March 1924).


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Created: 4:49 AM 12/22/2004
Last updated: 2:19 AM 2/28/2013