Knicker Lederhosen: Clothing--Hosiery

Figure 1.--

Knicker-length Lederhosen buckling just below the knee might be worn with patterned tights and long stockings. Some were specifically designed to be worn with leather shorts. These were similar to knickers but much tighter and without blousing at the knee. Both styles were popular in Bavaria in the mid-1960s. The wearing of tights did away with the necessity of a Leibchen and garters to hold up long stockings. Notice that with the tights, the patterned part is on the legs only while the part around the waist that doesn't show is a plain color (in this case black). The patterns used in these stockings and tights were referred to as "jacquard", i.e. using diamond shapes. Tights, however, were more expensive to make than long stockings and therefore were more costly. Also if one leg was damaged or developed holes, one had to discard the whole pair. The more traditional long stockings were cheaper and also more economical because, unlike tights, one could mix and match stockings. So patterned long stockings continued to be manufactured as an alternative to tights but in the same sporty style. This display shows that both long stockings and tights were worn with lederhosen by boys. See, for instance, the oldest boy in the HBC family portrait (also from the German Hosiery Museum) of the three brothers; this boy is wearing plain long stockings with a pair of short lederhosen. The style is associated particularly with Bavaria and the mountainous regions of Germany in the 1950s and 1960s, but it was also familiar in other places such as Hamburg. The patterned tights and long stockings were popular with skiers, hikers, and boys who liked outdoor activities in chilly weather. The material used for these tights and stockings was a mixture of wool and a synthetic fiber known as "helanca", or sometimes 100% helanca.


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Created: March 18, 2004
Last updated: March 18, 2004