Kneesocks and long stockings were commonly worn in 1933, by both boys and girls. Catalogs offered a selection of both long stockings and kneesocks. An example are Wards long stockings in the Fall-Winter 1933-34 catalog. The Wads ad illustrates that long stockings were being made longer to accommodate the fashion for shorter short pants and skirts: "Mothers know that these sturdy stockings do away with unsightly garters peeping out from under the popular short skirts or pants." The medallion in the center actually shows a boy and a girl wearing shorter pants and skirts.
Although the word "consumerism" has a modern ring, it was personal concern for an early consumer movement, the "National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry," That inspired a young traveling salesman named Aaron Montgomery Ward to start the world's first general merchandise mail-order company in 1872. Aaron Montgomery Ward was born on February 17, 1844, in Chatham, New Jersey, to a family whose forebears had served as officers in the French and Indian Wars as well as in the American Revolution. Looking for something more compatible, Monty left home and followed the river to Lake Michigan and the town of St. Joseph, county seat and market for outlying fruit orchards. Chicago was the center of the wholesale dry goods trade and in the 1860s Ward joined the leading dry goods house, Field Palmer & Leiter. As a retailer, Potter Palmer had previously built a reputation for fair dealing. Ward absorbed these principles while working as a clerk for $5. The Chicago City Directories for 1868 through 1870 listed Ward as a salesman for Wills, Greg & Co. and later for Stetthauers & Wineman, both dry goods houses. In 1870, after canvassing territory in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ward was again footloose. The plan shaping in Ward's mind was to buy goods at low cost for cash. By eliminating intermediaries, with their markups and commissions, and cutting selling costs to the bone, he could offer goods to people, however remote, at appealing prices - for cash.
This Ward's ad for long stockings comes from Ward's Fall and Winter catalog for 1933-34, p. 132.
The Wads ad illustrates that long stockings were being made longer to accommodate the fashion for shorter short pants and skirts: "Mothers know that these sturdy stockings do away with unsightly garters peeping out from under the popular short skirts or pants." The medallion in the center actually shows a boy and a girl wearing shorter pants and skirts.
Interestingly, the color illustrated is black
although lighter shades are offered (French tan, champagne, and nude) which
seem during the 1930s to have become somewhat more popular than black.
stockings are cotton and are made in "Fine Rib" and "Derby Rib" (giving a
heavier ribbed appearance).
Note also that the ad suggests that these
stockings may be worn "turned down"--an indication that some children who
didn't like to wear over-the-knee stockings with supporters might turn them
down for the knee-sock look. If they did this, perhaps during the warmer
months, they would of course need round garters to hold them in place. There
is an implied conflict here between the children who wanted to go to school
with bare knees and their mothers who wanted the protection of full-length
stockings for their boys and girls and who also preferred the somewhat more
formal look of legs fully covered.
The size range indicates that these
stockings would fit boys and girls from about age 4 or 5 to age 12 or 13.
The Ward's ad copy read, "An Outstanding Success! Extra Long Playhards. 19 c. 3 Pairs 55 c. Recommended
by Ward's Bureau of Standards. Fine Rib. Derby Rib. For Boys and Girls!
Ideal for wear with short clothes! May be worn turned down!
Wards most popular Playhards are gaining more and more friends since we've
made them. Extra Long. Mothers know that these sturdy stockings do away with
unsightly garters peeping out from under the popular short skirts or pants.
True ribbed to the toe, with the elasticity that only a rib knit stocking can
give. Reinforced heels and toes for extra sturdy wear.
Colors: Black; French tan; Champagne; Nude. Half Sizes: 6 to 9 1/2. State
size and color. Ship. wt. pair, 3 ounces.
30 D 224--Fine ribbed to the toe.
30 D 225--Derby ribbed.
Pair 19 c. 3 Pairs, 55 c."
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