In this Sears Spring and Summer advertisement (p. 277) for boys' and girls' long stockings, we notice how common it was for children to wear over-the-knee hosiery even during the summer months. This was done, of course, more for style and formality than for warmth. Most boys 16 years old or younger wore either short pants or knickers. Patterned knee socks were often worn with knickers, but these tended to fall down. And many mothers insisted on the neater and less sporty look of boys wearing plain colored long stockings under their knickers or short pants, especially for dress occasions. Another interesting feature here: Some of these stockings are said to be suitable for turning the tops down so that they become knee-length stockings. Turn-over-top socks was the term in England for the kneesocks that were long enough to be cuffed at the top. There was apparently pressure on the part of boys to get permission to wear their stockings in this fashion because no hose supporters would then be needed.
The Sears, Roebuck and Co., huge merchandising firm centered in Chicago was founded by Richard W. Sears (1863-1914) and A.C. Roebuck (1864-1948). Sears had begun a career in mail-order business in Minnesota 1886. In Chicago he and Roebuck joined resources and formed a corporation in 1893 as a mail-order business under title Sears, Roebuck and Company. In 1895 Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) bought Roebuck's interest in firm and became president on Sears's retirement 1908. A retail-store system was added 1925. The first foreign store
added in Havana, Cuba during 1945 and becane the first expropriated store in 1960. The Sears-Roebuck brought the production of industry to the fartherest corner of rural America, opening the cornucopia of the consumer age to rural America. All the new things that were changing
American life danced across their pages. Through it, a huge
Chicago warehouse offers to modernize the farms and small towns of the Midwest.
In this Sears Spring and Summer advertisement (p. 277) for boys' and girls' long stockings, we notice how common it was for children to wear over-the-knee hosiery even during the summer months. This was done, of course, more for style and formality than for warmth. Most boys 16 years old or younger wore either short pants or knickers. Patterned knee socks were often worn with knickers, but these tended to fall down. And many mothers insisted on the neater and less sporty look of boys wearing plain colored long stockings under their knickers or short pants, especially for dress occasions. Black was still a very common color, but shades of tan and brown were increasingly popular. Gray was also available. For boys who wore above-
the-knee knickers or short pants, the knees of their stockings got harsh wear, and we notice one style of long stocking made to address this problem, knitted with "extra thread knit over the knee." Woolen long stockings were now pretty much a thing of the past, especially during the summer months. Cotton stockings were almost the universal standard.
Another interesting feature here: Some of these stockings are said to be suitable for turning the tops down so that they become knee-length stockings. Turn-over-top socks was the term in England for the kneesocks that were long enough to be cuffed at the top. There was apparently pressure on the part of boys to get permission to wear their stockings in this fashion because
no hose supporters would then be needed. However, boys who did this would need round garters below the knees to hold the stockings in place. This was needed becauyse the tops of the stockings were no elasticised and thus would immediately fall down if not secured in some way. Many mothers seem to have disapproved of this practice as too sloppy and informal.
The Sears ad text reads as follows;
Children's Hosiery. Double top. Postive Wear, Pilgrim. 3 Pair.
Guaranteed to wear 3 months. Combined Cotton. 3 Pairs for 85 c.
Sizes 6 to 10, by half-sizes. [Note: These are not age sizes but sizes geared to the size of children's shoes. Size 10 would normally fit a boy as old as 16. Size chart is given in the ad.] State size. We pay the postage. They've got to be Good, to be Guaranteed. Smooth, firm, combed cotton! For Boys and Girls! EXtra thread knit over the knee. Rib stitch (for eleasticity) goes
straight to toe ... no old-fashioned "break" at ankle. Reinforced heel and toe. Lower priced, too. Our Guarantee: We guarantee three pairs of our Pilgrim Postivie-Wear Stockings for children to wear three months. If they do not, we will replace them without any expense to you. It is understood that, in each case, the
stockings will be worn by the same child.
[Note: These stockings seem to be especially suitable for boys because of the double knee construction where the heaviest wear occurs.]
Children's Hosiery. Our Two Biggest Values. Both Ribbed to the
Toe. Combed Cotton or Mercerized. 3 Pairs for 59 c. Postpaid.
Sizes 6 to 10 by half sizes. State size. We Pay the Postage. A popular Seller and no wonder! Low priced! Good, combed cotton! Ribbed to the Toe in a special attractive ribbing. Two-ply yarn. Reinforced heels and toes. The tops on these stockings are so made that they can be turned down and worn as knee length hose.3 Pairs for 69 c. Postpaid.
Sizes, 6 to 9 1/2, by half sizes. State size. We Pay the Postage.
Splendid stockings for school! They keep their rich, glossy color and smooth finish through long wear because the cotton's Mercerized. Highly elastic because of the rib knitting which runs straight to the toe--looks well with low shoes. Sturdily reinforced at heels and toes. Turn down the top and they're knee length stockings.
Now Rayon Plated Hosiery for Only 25 c a Pair Postpaid.
Sizes 6 to 9 1/2 by half sizes. State size. The biggest Values we've seen in Years! Dressy Rayon-plated stockings at this Price Made for real wear, and nice looking, too. The outer surface is smooth Rayon. The inside is good quality combed cotton. Reinforced heels and toes. Finely ribbed legs. [Note: These stockings seem to be mainly for girls and younger boys.] Our Finest Mercerized Cotton. 3 Pairs for $1.00 Postpaid. Ver Fine Quality.
Sizes 5 1/2 to 9 1/2 by half sizes. State size. We pay the postage.
Neat, glossy, very fine stockings! Mother likes them because they wear longer; they keep their shape and color better. The yarns are the finest cotton, made silk-like by mercerization; the colors are good and lasting. The shpae and size of the stockings are carefully scaled to fit just right. They sell for considerable more elsewhere.
Bottom Left: Durable Quality Low Priced. 3 Pairs for 35 c. Postpaid.
Sizes 5 1/2 to 9 1/2, by half sizes. State size.
These are good, substantial cotton stockings for the money. Thousands and thousands of lively American youngsters wear them all the time. The neat, fine elastic rib means good looks and good fit. Reinforced heels and toes; seamless feet.
Our Best Seller for Years. Combed Cotton. 3 Pairs for 49 c.
Postpaid. Fine Guage--Specially Priced.
Sizes 5 1/2 to 9 1/2 by half sizes. State size. Probably the best stockings offered for less than 20 c. a pair. Scores of healthy, rough-and-tumble youngsters are wearing them! Good, sturdy, fine combed cotton. Very finely ribbed, neat fitting legs, smooth, seamless teet. Good colors. Wear resisting reinforcements in heel and toe. Correct, unskimped sizes. Real honest-to-goodness value.
The fact that Sears in 1931 devoted an entire page to children's long stockings even in the Dpring-Winter catalog is a good indication that they were still very commonly worn. We think that this was probably more common for girls than boys, but many boys also wore them. Knickers were still very commonly worn bt boys, even younger teenagers.
What we do not know at this time is what other types of children's hosiery was offered for children in the Sears Spring-Summer 1931 catalog. Here we are not yet sure. Our reader who submitted this page does not have a complete copy of the catalog. He believes thatt Sears also offered kneesocks, but no ankle socks. It is notable that in the 1910s, younger children often wore three-quarters length (usually white) socks. This type od socks are apparently no longer offered in the 1930s.
Sizing was rather complicated in the 1930s. There were sizes for both hosiery and shoes and they were not related. In addition there was separate series for small and large children. No attempt was made to connect the sizes with the ages of the children. The small children hose sizes varied from 4-13 with shoe sizes 5 1/2 - 7 1/2. The large children hose sizes ranged from 1-7 with shoe sizes from 8-10. Note theshoe sizes were contiguous while the hose size were numbered separately. We are not sure about just what the age equivalents were for these different sizes. The system is different than modern sizing trends.
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