Catalog offerings provide a great deal of useful information about hosiery in 1936. Kneesocks had not yet replaced long stockings for knickers by 1936. Most older boys were, however, wearing Kneesocks with their knickers. Particularly popular were kneesocks done in Argyle and other patterns. Long stockings were still widely worn, especially by younger boys. They were also worn for dress up occassions. An increasing number of boys were wearing ankle socks, commonly with long pants Some boys wearing short pants might still wear long stockings during the cooler month. Assessing popularity is complicated. The extensive catalog offerings suggests to us that long stockings were still commonly worn, probably a little more commonly by girls than boys. The photographic record suggests to us that long stockings were declining in popularity.
Nine grades of long stockings were offered by Wards in their Fall and Winter Catalog for 1936-37, a year when the popularity of long stockings for boys and girls seems to have increased somewhat. This advertisement appeared on page 181. Although black stockings were still available, the dominant colors are "French tan," "French nude," "Champagne" (similar to beige), and Brown. White was available in one or two styles, but seems to have been favored chiefly by girls. Boys wore mostly brown, tan, or beige stockings. Most grades of long stockings came in a fine rib (a smoother look for dressy occasions) and Derby rib (a somewhat more rugged look favored by boys for school and play but worn also by girls). The sizes go up to 9 1/2 and 10--large enough to fit boys and girls in their middle teens. Girls wore long stockings until about 15 or 16. Boys (in most cases) only to about 12 or 13, although one style of long stockings, specifically indicated for boys (because of the double knees), was available in sizes up to 10 1/2 (about 16 or 17 years of age). Boys this old probably preferred to wear their long stockings with knickers (one of the background illustrations shows a boy wearing knickers with long stockings), but the double knees suggests that they were designed for wear with short pants, and the illustration shows a boy wearing the stockings with shorts.
Montgomery Wards offered two grades of long stockings on this catalog page (figure 1). They stressed that they were two inches longer than normal stockings so that "they come under short dresses and suits", meaning short pamts suits. This emphasizes the usage with short pants suits and not just school and play wear. They are available in school age sizes from 6 to 10 and while black and white are avialble, most of the colors are light shades of bron or tan.
This advertisement for long stockings and anklets shows that children (even in the winter months) had begun to wear anklets with short pants and skirts instead of long stockings. But the long stockings still dominated the market in 1936 and are offered in a variety of weights and colors. Presumably white stockings would be worn only by girls and very young boys. But the tan , brown, and black stockings were worn by both genders. Interestingly, the ad emphasizes the additional length of the long stockings to come up "well under the short skirts and suits" then being worn so that the necessary hose supporters wouldn't show. These full length stockings were worn not only with short pants, however, but also by boys wearing knickers. Short pants do, however, appear in
contemporary advertisements for long stockings Note that the boy in the illustration
wears knickers rather than short trousers. But it was probably more common for boys wearing knickers to wear patterned knee socks with cuffs rather than plain colored long stockings in tan, brown or black. Perhaps the boys who wore the long stockings with knickers did so for the warmth since the tops would obviously not show.
Sears in its Fall-Winter 1936-37 catalog offered three different types of kneesocks--all patterned styles. The Sears page for kneesocks was headed with, "Boys! Keen styles ... "Great Snappy Patterns ... Knit in Garters". Knee-length, patterned stockings were designed to be worn with knickers that most boys graduated into at about 8 or 9 years of age in the mid-1930s. The larger sizes would be for boys 13-14 years old.
American children began to commonly wear socks in the 1930s. Even so, log stockings were still commonly worn. This are long stocking offered by Sears in its Fall-Winter, 1936-37 catalog (p. 176). We note several different styles offered on this page. They were made for boys and girls. They were all done in various brown shades. A good example of how children's long stockings had sghifted to tan and other brown shades.
One vintage hosiery item on HBC is an American pair of Buster Brown long stockings, probably from the 1930s. Buster Brown was a major shoe company and for a while an important hosiery company. Here are two photos of vintage Buster Brown long stockings worn by both boys and girls in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States. We have no actual date for these vintage long stockings, but I suspect that they date from about 1935-36 because of the designation "extra long", which became a popular selling point from the mid-1930s onwards when boys' short pants and girls' dresses started to be worn much shorter than had previously been the case. With shorter trousers and skirts, the long stockings needed to be knit much longer so that the fasteners of the hose supporters to hold them in place would not be visible. Several of the ads for long stockings during this period advertise stockings as being "extra long". Wards, for instance, in 1933 were selling "Extra Long Playhard" stockings and claiming, "Mothers know that these sturdy stockings do away with with unsightly garters peeping out from under the popular short skirts or pants."
Here's an ad for knee sock garters (Wards Fall and Winter, 1936-37, p. 143). These garters are obviously made for boys (and perhaps girls as well) who wore knee socks with either short trousers or knickers. They are obviously designed for socks that have turnover cuffs and cannot be worn with socks that have only a single layer at the knee. They were often considered a necessary
addition because most of the knee socks sold in the 1930s did not have effective elasticized tops and were always slipping down.
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