American Mail Order Catalogs: Hosiery (1930)

Figure 1.--Both Sears and Wards had extensive ads for long stockings in 1930. Here we see one of the various types of long stockings Wards offered in its 1930-31 Fall-Winter catalog.

We notice stores offering both long stockings and kneesocks. We note entire catalog pages devoted to both long stockings and kneesocks. The prominance of the ads suggest that both were widely worn. Kneesocks were commonly worn, often with Argyle or other patterns. Boys might wear suits with solid colored socks, but even suits were sometimes worn with patterened kneesocks. Some boys wore solid color hosiery which often is difficult to discern if they are wearing kneesocks or long stockings. Ankle socks seem to have been much less common. Some boys in the summer would wear knickers with ankle socks, but this does not seem to have been very common in 1930. We also note continued advertising for stocking supporters.

Sears Boyville Stockings

Here Sears offers hosiery under its Boysville brand, both long stockings and kneesocks. The Sears ad cooy is written so the hosiery here seems to be for both boys and girls. The only indication that refers primarily to boys is a reference to the fact that boys seem to like bold patterns. Sears as was the general approach only offers patterns in the knee socks, not the long stockings. We are not sure why this was. Kneesocks seems to have been seen as a more sporty style. In this ad, the long stockings and kneesocks are given equal prominance.

Wards Long Stockings

The Wards Fall and Winter 1930-31 catalog had a full page devoted to long stockings. It shows how widely long stockings were still worn by boys. The illustration suggests the survival of the ornamental buttons at the hem (a hold-over from earlier decades when knee pants were worn with such buttons). I'm not sure, however, this is an accurate reflection of trouser styles. The illustrations also indicate the longer length of stockings by the year 1930--stockings that would not show under the shorter short pants. One of the illustrations also shows a boy wearing knickers with long stockings--a more formal alternative to the golf-style knee socks with cuffs. But most of the boys in this > advertisement wear short trousers with their stockings. The age sizes go up to 10--old enough for middle teenagers. The more rugged stockings are aimed at boys while the more luxurious and smoother textures are aimed at girls. But the ad makes clear that there is > some cross-over here because some girls need sturdier stockings for hard play, and some boy need dressier stockings for more formal, dress-up occasionas. The colors tend to be brown, tan, and "champagne" (another word for beige), but it is interesting that > black is still available--presumably for such occasions as First Communion, and also white, although white seems by 1930 to have been mainly a color for girls. Some boys, however, wore white stockings for such occasions as weddings and First communions. This is page 116 of the Wards Fall and Winter catalog for 1930-31.>

E-Z Waist Suits

An advertisement for E-Z Waist Suits in Parents' Magazine [October, 1930, p. 72.] Note that the girl's suit is sleeveless while the boy's suit has short sleeves. I believe, however, that both styles are for either boys or girls. These suits appear to have no reinforcement straps and are therefore, strictly speaking, untaped union suits rather than waist union suits. See the Hanes advertisement in the Parents' Magazine group, which gives options for both waist union suits with strap reinforcements and untaped union suits.


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Created:5:22 PM 6/20/2006
Last updated: 5:22 PM 6/20/2006