Wards offers eight kinds of long stockings, some of winter weight, some of all-year-round weight. Aimed mainly at mothers buying stockings for their boys and girls of primary school age. This page appeared in the Ward's 1935-36 Fall-Winter catalog. The fact that Ward's devoted an entire page to long stockings is an indication that they were still widely worn.
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. Since its founding in 1872, the company has literally "grown up with America" and has had a major impact on the shopping habits of a nation of consumers. Montgomery Ward & Co. discontinued its catalog operations in 1985 as part of its restructuring effort to change itself into a modern, competitive chain of value-driven specialty stores, a move which for a time saved the company. week.
Long stockings were widely worn by both boys and girls during the 19th and first half of the 20th century. We do not know a great deal about the 19th century yet, but we have detailed information on the 20th century. Long stockings were most common in countries at northern lattitudes with colsd winters. Age and gender conventions varied widely from country to country. Stockings were going out of style in Americ by the late 1930s, but were widely worn in other countries into the 1950s and 60s, depending on the country.
The fact that Ward's devoted an entire page to long stockings is an indication that they were still widely worn. What we do not know is precisely who wore them. We suspect that it was mostly younger boys who wore them and the larger sizes were mostly worn by older girls. But this is only a preliminary assessment based on the photographic record. Mny of the photographs with boys wearing long stockings in the 1930s are younger bous wearing short pants. There are far fewer photographs of older boys wearing long stockings. Of course we see more boys wearing long pants in the 1930s. It is not immediately apparent what kind of hosiery boys wore with long pants, but we suspect most boys wore ankel socks, especially by the late 1930s.
Only one of the long stockings offered here by Wards were presented as approprisate for girls. For the others there is no suggestion of gender. That means that they were considered as appropriate for both boys and girls. That does not mean, however, that they were equally worn by both boys and girls. Retailers had an incentive to describe garments as for children (rather than boys or girls) because it doubled the potential sales.
Wards offers eight kinds of long stockings, some of winter weight, some of all-year-round weight. Aimed mainly at mothers buying stockings for their boys and girls of primary school age.
The War's caption here read, "Children's Stockings ... True Ribbed-to-the-toe for Better Fit!"
These long stockings were captioned, "Such Fine Gauge! Such Sturdy Cotton! You'd Expect to Pay More than 14 cents. 3 Pairs 40 cents." The ad copy read, "
-- Ribbed to the toe - More Elastic
-- For better fit - More comfortable
-- Full length - No skimping.
These stockings are truly outstanding values
at Wards low price--they're firmly knit of fine cotton yarns--(low grade yarn combed out in this ribbed-to-toe knitting process). Finer gauge means extra comfort for so little. Both heels and toes are
specially reinforced for longer wear. Correctly sized for boys and girls. Made in the most popular colors for fall and winter--in fine ribbed or Derby knit. Order several pairs--they're so very reasonable. See size to order on opposite page. [Note: children's stockings are keyed to the
size of the shoes worn. Most of the sizes go up to 9 1/2, the size for a twelve or thirteen-year old boy. One model, apparently mainly for boys because of the "double knees for added wear" (see the inserted illustration with a boy wearing short pants), come in sizes up to 10 1/2, the size of a boy about 16 or 17.] Colors: French tan, French nude (= beige), Black. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2. State size, color. Shipping weight, pr. 4 oz.; 3 pairs 9 oz. Fine rib 30 A
301 -- Derby rib Pair 14 cents; 3 pairs 40 cents."
These long stockings were captioned, "Longer Wearing Because They're Knit of Fine Quality Combed Cotton. 18 cents. 3 Pairs 53 cents." The ad copy read, "
-- Combed Yarned - No Short, rough ends
-- Smoother, More Evenely Knit Throughout
-- Seamless Feet for Extra Comfort
Grand Stockings to wear to school! Knit of soft combed cotton yarns so
they're bound to stand a lot of hard wear and there are no short ends
to break--they've all been combed out! Uniformly even and strong!
Fine gauge and ribbed-to-the-toe--which means extra elasticity through
the instep where it is needed most. Of course it makes them fit snugly
and neatly in the leg too. Strongly re-inforced at heels and toes.
For correct fit read How to Order on the opposite page. Colors: French
tan, French nude (= beige), or black. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8
1/2, 9. 9 1/2. State size, color. Ship weight, pr. 4 oz.; 3 pairs 9
oz. 30 A321--Fine rib. 30 A 320 Derby rib. Pair 18 cents; 3 pairs 53 cents."
These long stockings were captioned, "Knit Extra Long of Fine Selected Soft, Merceerized Lisle Yarn. 23 cents. 2 Pairs 45 cents. Extra long stockings were popular with many mothers because of the shorter trousers and skirts that became popular in the mid-1930s. Longer stockings were practical
options for taller boys and girls and to cut down on the strain of the supporters that had to be worn with them. Children--particularly boys--objected to the clasps of their garters showing under their short
trousers when they stooped or sat down. The Wards as copy read, "
-- Tested and Passed by Wards Bureau of Standards for Elasticity and Wear.
-- Re-inforced at Heels and Toes.
Not only are the extra long Stockings
made of the finest Lisle (more twists to the inch than average cotton) but every thread is specially treated to give a smoother, softer, more silk-like finish. And because the yarn is so smooth the knit is more elastic, more comfortable, longer wearing. Ribbed clear to the toe to assure neat fit all the way. Feet are seamless to give a perfectly smooth surface across the bottom of the foot--which means comfort.
Read How to Order on opposite page. Colors: French tan or French nude. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2. State size, color. Shipping wt., pr. 4 oz; 2 pairs 7 oz. 30 A 324--Fine rib. 30 A 325
Derby rib. Pair 23 cents; 2 pairs 45 cents."
These long stockings were captioned, "One Fifth Wool. Ribbed to the toe. 33 cents. 2 Pairs 65 cents." The ad copy read, "Combines Warmth with Good looks for long wear. Good quality mixed
yarns make this stocking a greater value than usual, particularly when
you consider that they are ribbed all the way to the toe for a better,
neater look. Colors: French tan or French nude [beige]. Sizes: 6, 6
1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10. State size and color. In fine
rib or Derby rib. Pair 33 cents.2 Pairs 65 cents."
These long stockings were captioned, "Half Wool for Warmth. 33 cents. 2 Pairs 65 cents." The ad copy read, "
-- Half Soft Cotton for Wear.
-- Three practical Fall Colors.
outdoor wear! Smooth plain knit feet strongly re-inforced at heels and
toes--and busy mothers appreciate how much darning that saves. The
wider derby rib is very sporty looking. Colors: Brown heather, tan
heather or black. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10.
State size and color. Ship. wt., pair 4 oz., 2 prs, 7 oz. 30 A
330--Derby rib. Pair 33 cents; 2 pairs 65 cents."
These long stockings were captioned, "Girls' Rayon Plated Stockings Ribbed-to-Toe 23 cents. 2 pairs 45 cents." The ad copy read, "
-- Rayon Plated Over Fine Combed Cotton.
Girls like these for dress--and no wonder!--they keep their rich silk-like sheen through frequent washings. They have a slenderizing
effect because they fit so smoothly. Extra fine gauge. Mercerized cotton heels and toes for longer wear. Read How to Order on the opposite page. Colors: French tan, nude, champagne or white. Sizes:
6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2. State size and color. Ship. wt. pr, 4 oz.; 2 pairs 7 oz. 30 A 323 Pair 23 cents; 2 pairs 45 cents." Remember -- Wards have many other unusual values in clothing for girls. Look in the Index by name of article." Wards specifies that these stockings are especially
suitable for girls because of their silky sheen, but some boys wore them also for dress-up occasions at the insistence of their mothers. In terms of length and most colors (with the exception of white), boys wore very much the same stockings as their sisters.
These long stockings were captioned, "Combed Cotton with Double Knees! Ribbed-to-Toe! 23 cents. 2 Pairs 45 cents.
-- For Boys and Girls. For Play or Dress Wear. Re-inforced
Heels, Toes. Because Wards know where the hardest wear usually
occurs--we've knit double strength into the knees of these stockings
and the heels and toes are specially re-inforced, too! And, best of
all--their sturdiness doesn't spoil their appearance. The
ribbed-to-toe knit makes them fit snugly. The fine, soft combed cotton
yarns from which they're made make them good looking enough for dress
as well as play. Colors: French tan, French nude or black. Sizes: 6,
6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10, 10 1/2. State size, color.
Ship. wt., pr, 4 oz.' 2 pairs, 7 oz. 30 A 380 Pair 23 cents. 2 Pairs 45
cents." Although these stockings are specified as being equally for
boys and girls, the double-knee reinforcement would make them an item
especially favored by mothers for their romping boys. Note that in the
illustration, we see a boy wearing the reinforced knees under his short
These long stockings were captioned, "Durable Cotton Heather Mixture. 18 cents. 3 Pairs 53 cents."
-- Fine Gauge
-- Dyed Before Knitting.
Popular heather mixtures in the best
shades for fall and winter. Really serviceable--and children like to
wear them. Plain knit feet. Heavy weight with strongly re-inforced
heels and toes. Comfortable seamless feet. Colors: Tan, brown or gray
heather. Sizes 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10. State size
and color. Ship wt. pr 4 oz. 3 prs 9 oz. 30 A 317 Pair 18 cents. 3
Pairs 53 cents."
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing catalog/magazine pages:
[Return to the Main American mail order 1935 page]
[Main photo/publishing page] [Store catalogs] [Fashion magazines]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossary] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Sailor hats] [Flat caps] [Sailor suits] [Buster Brown suits] [Eton suits]
[Rompers] [Tunics] [Smocks] [Pinafores] [Knickers] [Long stockings] [Kneesocks] [Underwear]