American Mail Order Catalogs with Boys Clothings: Sears Fall-Winter 1940-41 Catalog--Long Stockings

Figure 1.--This advertisement for children'd full-length stockings appeared in the Fall and Winter 1940-41 Sears catalog. This style was marketed for both boys and girls in sizes from 6-10 years.

The Sears Fall and Winter catalog for 1940-41 offered long stockings for "children" without specifying boys or girls. The illustration with the ad clearly indicated that they were for both boys and girls. The illustration showed a boy riding a wagon. It was an display for long stockings. The boy wears short pants with his long stockings. The stockings had to be quite long, way above the knee as the shorts are quite short. This was a fairly large display, suggesting that there were still good sales for children's long stockings in 1940. There were three different types of long stockings offered. The first two types were under girl models and the third was under a boy model. There is no indication, however, that this reflected the gender approppriatness of the different types. All were Sears' Pilgrim brand.


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 te 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.


These long stockings were offered in the Sears 1940-41 Fall and Winter catalog. They would thus be purchased primarily for going back to school.


Sears offered a range of differebnt long stockings.

Fine Mercerized Cotton: 86 K 2655

The ad copy read, "Good-Looking ... Good Wearing 25c pair, 3 pairs 73c. These stockings have the smooth, trim appearance that pleases the children! They wear longer, too, because the soft, mercerized yarns are finer than ordinary cotton. 2-ply fine ribbed, knit longer than average ... won't show under short clothes. 3-ply toes and heels for extra wear. Comfortable flat knot seemless feet. You save when you buy three pairs. Colors: Medium Tan, Nugrain (rich warm beige), White. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10. State size and color. Shipping wt., pair, 3 oz, 2 pair 7 oz. 8 k 2655 .... 25c 3 pairs 73c." Notice the line in the ad copy, "knit longer than average ... won't show under short clothes". Long stockings used to be worn with kneepants and knickers and this only had to come a little above the knee. This changed in the 1920s when chidren began to wear shorter clothes, both short pants and shorter skirts. This long stockings had tobe made a good bit longer. There are many examoles of this on HBC, see for example a First Communion outfit.

Rayon-Over-Cotton: 86 K 2635

The ad copy read, "Smooth, 'Silk-Like' Luster 25c pair, 3 pairs 73c. Youngsters like these! There's rayon on the outside that gives them a dressy look ... soft, mercerized cotton on the inside makes them comfortable, and long wearing. Knit plenty long to fit chubby legs, and slim ones, too! Heels and toes are sturdy 4-ply mercerized cotton for added wear. Flat knot feed, finely ribbed legs. See Size Scale below for measuring information. Colors: Beige, Dark Tan, Medium Tan, White. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10. State size and color. Shipping wt., pair, 3 oz, 3 pairs 7 oz. 8 k 2635 .... 25c 3 pairs 73c." America was not yet at war in 1940. Once the United States entered the War, material like rayon was reserved for the war-effort. This was needed to replace silk. The supply was interupted by the Japanese.

Soft Combed Cotton: 86 K 2613

The ad copy read, "At an Exceptionally Low Price! 15c pair, 4 pairs 57c. Stockings of this quality would cost you much more in other stores! These are fine combed cotton, not just ordinary cotton. They're knit longer than average too .. decreases knee strain, keeps a snug fit. Fine ribbed legs that children like; sturdy reinforcements in the heels and toes. Flat knit seemless feet for comfort. You save more when you buy foyr pairs! Colors: Brownstone, Dark Tan, Medium Tan. Sizes: 6, 6 1/2, 7, 7 1/2, 8, 8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 10. State size and color. Shipping wt., pair, 3 oz, 4 pairs 10 oz. 8 k 2613 .... 15c 3 pairs 57c."

Mercerized Cotton

Mercerized cotton is cotton fabric that has been treated with caustic alkali under tension, which increases the strength, luster, and afinity to retain dye. The term is named after an English calico merchant who developed and pattened in 1850 a process to print patterns on calico material.


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Created: April 24, 2003
Last updated: April 24, 2003