Knickers: Hosiery

Figure 1.--This American boy in 1909 wears his knicker suit with long black stockings. He wrote on the photo (which was a post card) "Helo (sic.) Johnny, Don't I look like an orphan."

The hosiery worn with knickers varied widely. There were country and chronological differences. Knickers were mostly worn by American boys with long over-the-knee stockings, This continued until the 1920s when kneesiocks began to become more common. American boys during the summer boys would go barefoot or wear knickers with ankle socks. In Europe where knickers were more of a style for older boys or for winter wear they were more commonly worn with kneesocks. Some European boys, however by the 1940s were also wearing them with ankle socks. This was in part because after World War II we see very long knickers that came all the way down to almost the ankles.

Hosiery Choice

We note boys commonly wearing both long stockings and kneesocks with knickers. Long sstockings were vey common in the 1910s and 20s, but patterned knee socks that became very popular in the 1930s and eventually almost displaced long stocking. Some mothers preferred to dress boys in long stockings even when the knickers closed below the knee because of the greater neatness and formality. Knee socks had a tendency to fall down whereas long stockings, worn with supporters, could be kept up without sagging. Boys especially older boys much preferred the kneesocks, partly because hose supporters were not required.

Hosiery Types

We note boys wearing knickers with many different types of hosiery. This varies by country and over time. American boys for the most part wore either long stockings or kneesocks, although many boys went barefoot during the summer, especially in the early 20th century. We note above-the-knee knickers briefly worn with kneesocks in the 1910s. We see some boys wearing knickers with ankle socks, but this was mostly in the late-1930s and early 40s when ankle socks were becominging increasinhly standard. Hosiery types were more varied in Europe where we also see three-quarter soks being worn with Knickers. This was, however, more with bloomer knickers than proper knickers. For some reason, the long stockings worn with knicker were mostly solid colors while the knee sicks were mostly patterned. The patterns in Europe were not as varied as in America.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main knickers page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys ' Clothing Web chronol ogical pages:
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing hosiery pages:
[Long stockings] [Kneesocks] [Three-quater socks] [Ankle socks] [Bare feet] [Tights]

Created: February 10, 2001
Last edited: 1:44 AM 9/5/2007