American boys still commonly wore long stockings in the early 1920s. Black was still the most common color, but brown was also worn. White stockings were available, but not commonly worn by boys. Long srtockings were rapidly declining in popularity after the mid-1920s as both boys and girls turned more to knee socks. This was especially true in America. American boys in the early 1920s were still wearing knickers with long stockings. Montgomery Wards refused to them as school hose, perhaps because they were worn by boys going back to school as the weather got cooler. It was becoming less common to see boys wearing long stockings during the warm summer months. By the mid-1920s, however, kneesocks had to a large extent repaced long stockings. While long stockings did not dissapear they came to be worn by a minority of boys. Many younger boys wore then with short pants, often with tan stockings. They were mostly worn for warmth. Some boys, however, wore them for formal occasions, usualy white or black stockings, because they thought the stockings had a smart look. A good example of boys wearing long stockings for a dress occassion can be seen in a portrait of German children in their First Communion outfits. The boy wears black long stockings and the girl white long stockings.
American boys still commonly wore long stockings in the early 1920s. They were worn throughout the decade, but we see an increasing number of children wearing kneesocks by the end of the decade. Long srtockings were declining in popularity after the mid-1920s as both boys and girls turned more to knee socks.
The color of long stockings worn by Gernan children has varied over time. Black was still the most common color of log stockings worn at the beginning of the 1920, but brown was also worn, especially by the mid-1920s. White stockings were available, but not commonly worn by boys, especially after the mid-1920s even for formal events. Many younger boys wore long stockings with short pants, often with tan stockings. The brown or tan stockings did not first appear in the 1920s. They did very quickly become the most popular color in the 1920s. We are not entirely sure why this occurred. We do not have any articles from period fashion magazines discussing hosiery colors. A HBC reader writes, "The reason why tan long stockings became so popular in the 20s is the openness on natural look. That is why, stockings makers tried to make a color like if the legs were bare. But people were not ready to let the legs completely bare, especially at church or even school. A boy or a girl without stockings and shoes was perceived as uncivilized. This charactéristic of hidding some parts of the body was more and more stressing on the children mainly in the 40s when the victory gave to people the feeling that the body needs to be liberated as any occupied country. Then, which in the 20s was a reaction to repression on the body around 1900 became a new expression of oppression in the 40s. This is a fact that a child felt better because at ease in his new clothings but at the same time some principles for living a good life according to the Bible or traditions became a dead-end in which many children lived without any rules of conduct." We think our reader does have a point here. Children were wearing shorter pants and skirts and some mothers preferred long stockings, especially in the cooler weather. The tan color apparently seemed a more modern look while still keeping the children warm.
Long stocking trends during the 1920s varied from country to country. Long stoclings continued to be widely worn in norther;y countries in North Anerica and Europe as wellas Japan. Boys in America mostly wore long stockings with knickers. Until the end of the decade thhis was the standard type of hosiery for boys wearing knickers. We see some younger boys wearing long stockings with short pants, but mostly they were worn with knickers. By the mid-1920s, however, we begin to see boys wearing knee socks. While long stockings did not dissapear they came to be worn by a smaller number of boys, alhthough the precise ratio is difficult to assess. This trend was much more pronounced in the 1930s. Long stockings were even more common in Canada to the north. In Europe long stockings were sill very common during the 1920s. We see many boys wearing them with with short pants. Long stockings continuded to be worn throughout northern Europe. England was an exception, although we still see some girls there wearing stockings. Both boys and girls wore long stockings in Scandanavia, Germany., Easterm Europe (especially Poland and the Baltics) and the Soviet Union. Here curiously there were social class differences. HBC has developed some information on long stocking colors in different countries, including Germany. Long stockings were also quite common in Czechoslovakia during the 1920s. We note a Czech boy wearing long stockings in 1925. In addition to Europe, long stockings were also eudely worn by Japanese children. Stockings were less common elesewhere in East Asia, even countries with imolasr climates because biys there were less likely to wear shortpsnts like Japanese boys.
Long stockings were mostly worn for warmth. Montgomery Wards refused to them as school hose, perhaps because they were worn by boys going back to school as the weather got cooler. It was becoming less common to see boys wearing long stockings during the warm summer months.
Some boys wore long stockings for formal occasions, usualy white or black stockings, because they thought the stockings had a smart look. A good example of boys wearing long stockings for a dress occassion can be seen in a portrait of German children in their First Communion outfits. The boy wears black long stockings and the girl white long stockings.
Conventions for wearing long stockings varied from country to country. A German reader writes, "Most school children in Europe wore their better clothes to school, which meant wearing long stockings. At home and in their play time, they often wore shorter socks if warm weather permitted. This distinction seems to have applied mostly after 1925. Before that time, long stockings seem to have been worn for both school and play." We don't notice that difference in America. American boys might change clothes when they came home from school, but were less likely to change hosiery. An American reader writes, "I suspect you are correct about American children not changing into long stockings after school just for play purposes. I think most American boys wore the same clothes after school as they did to attend classes. But in Europe, where school clothes were a bit more dressy and probably more expensive also, mothers wanted to save the good clothes by making boys change after school for just playing around. What the German commentator refers to, I think, is the custom of boys wearing long trousers to school in some places but then changing into short pants with long stockings after school. Shorts and stockings could be replaced more inexpensively than the long trousers. But of course some German boys wore short pants and long stockings to school also. But in that case they might have changed into more worn out or inferior quality short pants and perhaps cheaper long stockings also. In other words, I think he means that only some boys changed from long to short pants after school." HBC is not convinced about this. I do not think very many German boys wore long pants to school in the 1920s, except for older boys in secondaty schools.
The length of the long stockings worn by children has varied over time. Until after World War I the kneepants and skirts worn by children were essentially knee length. After the War, shorter pants and skirts began to appear. This required that long stockings be made in longer lengths. This was especially true for younger childre because older children still wore relatively long-cut short pants and skirts. The German boy here is a good example of the shorter shorts and longer long stockings that appeared in the 1920s. A reader writes, "The photograph here
shows that in the 1920s that German boys were already wearing their stockings very
long." HBC has done some work on long stocking length in Germany.
Related HBC Pages:
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[Return to the main Main long stocking chronology page]
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