Russian Tights: Weave

Figure 1.--Here a boy about 3-4 years old is playing with a large ball decorated like a globe. He is wearing brown cotton tights with short pants. In this close up the stockings are clearly ribbed as were all children'sc tights during the Siviet era. Stockings were still the standard leg covering for boys in the Soviet Union during the 1960s, nearly always worn with bodices and supporters. Tights began to gain popularity during the 1970s and very quickly replaced long stockings, but not in all cases. Notice the boy's jackets with its rather elaborate system of chest pockets and buttons.

The tights worn by children in Soviet times were ribbed. The main purpose of tights was to keep children warm in the cold weather. As a result, tbhe tights manufactured for children were ribbed. The tights we note in Russia photographs during Soviet times seem to have a flat weave. That is a little surprising as given the climate one might have thought that ribbing would be more common. The ribbing makes the tights better at keeping the children warm. This certainly was the case for long stockings. And it was also the case for tights even though it does not show up in the photographs. The flat weave appears to be by far the most common, but this is because the photographs, unless we have a close up, do not pick up the ribbing. A Russian reader confirms that "In Soviet times children's tights were all ribbed. (I do not remember any other kind.) Smooth tights were worn only by adult women. At the age of 11-13 years some girls began to protest against wearing ribbed tights, they called them 'boyish' and 'childish'. Nevertheless, until th 1990s smooth tights for girls in the USSR were expensive and extremely hard to find. Moreover, wearing them at school could be even forbidden along with such things as earrings or rings or lipstick etc." The ribbing is indeed apparent when we have close up photographs. Ribbing is still found with tights in modern Russia. Consumer demand now has a far greater importance than during the Soviet era. And thus we find that consumers now have choices. So we see both ribbed and flat weaves as well as areater variety of colors as well as designs of various types on the tights that appeal to children. Our Russian reader writes, "Absolutely correct. Nowdays you can meet any children tights - ribbed or smooth, of the any color, with drawings and so on." White tights are sometimes worn for special occassion just as white long stockings were during the Soviet era. These special occassion dress up tights were less likely to be ribbed.


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Created: 7:20 PM 12/16/2011
Last updated: 4:21 AM 12/17/2011