Vintage Clothing: Hosiery

Figure 1.-- These children's long cotton stockings look to be from the 1930s or 40s. They were sold for both boys and girls up to about age 12 by major stores such as Sears Roebuck and Wards. These stockings seem to have a little bit of rayon content to increase their durability and give them just a bit of sheen for dressiness. Although long stockings were worn for warmth in colder climates, I think some mothers insisted on them for reasons of greater formality and dressiness when they wanted their sons and daughters to look dressed up. Some children wore these stockings to school of course. Boys could wear these stockings either with short trousers or under knickers. The tan colors became popular in the 1930s. Earlier black was the principal color.

We have only a few vintage hosiery items. Hosiery tended not to survive as well as many other types of clothing. We have not found many really old hosiery items, but have found some items dating back to the 1930s. Like other grments, the popularity of hosiery types have varied over time and from country to coutry. Here climate was a factor. Long stockings were popular for a considerable period. Knee socks were also popular for a time for both boys and girls, but are now largely a girls item, except in a few countries. Modern boys mostly wear ankel socks, but sport socks have become popular.

Ankle Socks

Knee Socks

Long Stockings

Long stockings were worn in both the 19th and 20th century, but went out if fashion during the 1940-60s. The precise chronology depended on the individual country. As they are relatively bmodern, we have managed to find quite a few examples of vintage long stockings. Most are from America and Germany where long stockings were particularly popular. As the example we have found are fairlt recent from the 1920s-40s, many are light brown shades. Light shades like tan and beige were not worn in the 19th century, but were particularly popular after World War I. These vintages stockings are helpful in showing both the length and colors hue variations. This is information that is difficult to determine from the photographic record. Stockings were worn unlike socks so you can not see the tops. And the black-and-white photographic record provides few clues as to color. While we can often identify tan stockings in photographs, there are many shades of tans/beige. The range of hues can only be seen from vintage clothing. Catalogs list dizzying variety of colors, but it is impossible to know just what hues weee represented by the different color names.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to ther Main vintage clothing type page]
[Return to ther Main vintage clothing page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 5:12 PM 3/2/2009
Last updated: 2:37 AM 10/14/2010