Boys in 1939 still wore a wide range of hosiery, although fashions were changing. Kneesocks had for the most part replaced long stockings for knickers by 1939. We see long-popular styles declining in popularity (long stockings) as well as newer styles becoming increasingly popular (ankle socks). We also see hosiery which did not catch on (combination stockinfs). An increasing number of boys were wearing ankle socks with long pants Almost all the increasingly younger boys wearing knickers were wearing them with kneesocks. Note the image here of a boy wearing knickers with patterned kneesocks (figure 1). A few boys wearing short pants might still wear long stockings during the cooler months, but they were probably mostly worn with long pants. More Wards and Sears still offered a variety of long stockings and stocking supporters for both boys and girls in 1939.
The 1939 Montgomery Wards offered a variety of different styles of long stockings for both boys and girls. They were availabble in sizes up to 9 1/2 or 10 years. They were still available in the dark brown and black which were the most common colors in the 1910s and early 20s. The new lighter brown/tan and grey colors were much more common. White was also available, but was not very popular with boys. Cotton had become the principal material, but rayon blends were available for dressy occasions. There was also a wool blend.
The 1939 Montgomery Wards catalog also offered a new type of long stockings that looked much like tights. This style were in fact very similar to tights, but had button closures instead of a simple elatic band. They were made in a cotton-rayon blend. They apparently buttoned on to the child's underwear. The were available only in light colots, tan and white. Ward indicated that they did not wrinkle as much as long stovkings. They were, however, a good deal more expensive than regular long stockings. They certainly solved on complaint of te boys wearing long stockings with short pants, that their stockings were no long enough.
This advertisement below is for Sers long stockings with lastex knit-in garters. The Sears ad copy read, ""Bargains in Lastex Top Stockings" 15c. Three Pairs 44c. For Boys and Girls. What could be more convenient! Stockings that don't need garters, that stay up neatly without them! It's the Lastex garter top that holds them up without binding, and it keeps its strength, its elasticity through countless washings. These are fine ribbed cotton, soft to the touch, really long wearing. `Scuff-stop' heel that extends up over the shoe-top where the wear is greatest, lengthens their life. These are real bargains at this low price."
Also available besides the traditional gartered stocking options were "latex" rubberized banded tops for boys stockings that were
advertised to "stay up" on their own without the need for garters. This made putting on long stockings much simpler. They were advertised for both boys and girls. HBC has no information on how popular this style was with boys. The fact that they didn't require a restrictive stocking supporter must have been a real plus. Convenience is a very important factor for boys. For some reason they were only available in tan shades. This style was made in the same sizes as the other types of long stockings, 6 through 10 years. They had a specialize strengthened ("scuff-top") foot extended over the area covered by the shoe for more duravle wear.
This ad shows a style of stocking that combines full-length stockings with the popular 5/8's style of socks in dark colors with a patterned cuff. Although the picture shows a girl wearing these stockings, they are apparently intended for both boys and girls. The appeal is to children whose parents want them to wear full-length stockings for protection but who prefer a below-the-knee style of socks.
Here's another curious ad for "Wards Famous 2-in-1 Stockings"
featured in the Wards 1939 Fall and Winter catalog. This offering seems to have been in competition with an item offered by Sears the same year and referred to on the HBC 1939 hosiery page as "combination stockings." This advertisement is especially interesting because the product seems to reflect a cultural difference between generations--between boys and girls who wanted to
wear sporty below-the-knee socks with striped cuffs with their shorts or skirts and more conservative parents who wanted to protect the knees of their boys and girls by insisting that they wear full-length stockings with hose supporters.
Gater waists were used to hld up long stockings. There is an ad for a children's garter waist. The ad stresses the strength of the hose supporters with a cocker spaniel playfully pulling one of them with his teeth. The text reads, "Pull Hard, Pal! They've got to stand a lot of tugging before I'm through with 'em." 35 c. each."
Sears advertised boy's garter waists (stocking supporters) and suspenders. The advertisemnent shows the standard means of keeping up long stockings in the late 1930s and early 1940s. At this point in U.S. history boys usually wore tan long stockings, made of cotton, with short pants, although they could also be worn with knickers and sometimes were. See the long stocking display at Girls wore the same garter waists under skirts, but the fact that this particular ad restricts itself to boys is of some interest. The fact that both short pants and skirts were getting shorter necessitated making the stockings extra long, stretching (as in this photograph) to mid-thigh or even higher.
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