Boys' Opinions on Knickers

Figure 1.--Many boys compalined about wearing knickes in the 1920s and 30s. These boys appar to be wearing knickers with long stockings and long underwear.

Knickers do not appear to have been very popular to the boys that wore them. There were a variety of reasons for this. They seemed rather ungainly and really not very pratical. They were somewhat of a compromise between long and short pants, but gad none of the advantages of either--especially below the knee knickers. They were not really cooler than short pants in warm weather and boys had trouble with their long underwear and stocking. The principal reason that they were unpopular, however, was that most boys wanted to dress more grwn up. Most boys appear to have coveted long pants. Many adults looking back recall finally putting away their knickers as an important step in growing up.


Typical boyhood memories like comments by Wally Wachter who grew up in the 1930s:

WHEN DOES A BOY become a man? Today it may be when he first applies a razor to the stubble on his chin and cheeks. Or when he gets his permit to officially drive a car. With these stages comes a feeling of pride that gives today's youth an advantage over our emergence into adulthood back when. Our growing years were probably the most awkward and trying days of our lives. Entrance into junior high made us feel like adults, although we still tended to act a little like children. Parents frowned on the use of razors, and automobiles were scarce, and few had the opportunity to even sit behind the steering wheels until they were out of high school. The step into the fringes of adulthood held many challenges, especially for boys. They cast aside their grade school knickers for long pants. The trousers, often hand-me-downs from older brothers, were too loose at the waist and had to be held up by colorful suspenders. The suspenders couldn't always do the job properly, and as a result, trouser cuffs on many boys were frayed and torn at the rear from dragging on the ground and being stepped on by the heels. Aside from this, the school garb usually was neat. The budding gentlemen wore suits with neckties, or fancy vests and handsome sweaters to attain a new manly look.

Personal Accounts

Boyhood memories:

First long pants:

Knickers and Shorts: America--1930s

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Knickers page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [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 Web style pages:
[Jackets] [Long pants suits] [Blazers] [Kilts] [Sailor suits] [Short pants suits]
[Ring bearer/page costumes] [Eton suits]

Created: October 19, 2002
Last edited: October 19, 2002