Figure 1.--This little American boy was photographed on his trike wearing a white sailor suit and long white stockings. We believe it was taken in the late 1920s. Long stockings were declining in popularity at the time, especially white long stockings. Image courtesy of the CF collection.
The boy seen here wears white long stockings with a short pants sailor suits, probaly in the lat 1920s. Many boys this age at the time were still wearing long stockings, but white long stockings were much less common (figure 1). The photograph looks midwestern to me, but I may be influenced simply by its having been found in the Chicago area. I think it was taken about 1927-28. It is clearly taken in the 1920s as the boy wears a short pants rather than a kneepants sailor suit. He looks to be about 6 or 7 years old and is obviously dressed up rather formally for his picture. He wears a short pants white sailor suit with white dickie, dark (probably navy blue) scarf, white long stockings with supporters, and low cut lace-up shoes. Note his front bangs and well-groomed hair. The hair style appears to me to be consistent with the late 1920s. The season is obviously summer; note the vegetation and foliage in the background. Clearly the boy doesn't wear long stockings for warmth but because they complement his dressy white suit. My guess is that the boy comes from a rather affluent family. White long stockings worn in the warmer seasons tend to connote formality. Socially prominent mothers of the period considered that this was the correct and proper way to dress their younger sons, especially for public occasions.
A Canadian reader writes, "Are you sure the boy is wearing short pants ? It seems to be bloomers. But even enlarged, it is hard to detect. I have an interesting picture of a boy on his tricycle at Quebec City around 1950. His stockings are tan as you mention. it would be interesting to compare." HBC note: The white sailor suit ans whire stockings makes it difficutt to see details of the boy's pants. I will grant hat it is difficult to tell. The short appear to be pulled tight because of the way he is sitting. However he clearly wears a middy blouse and not a sailor tunic. We believe that he is wearing short pants.
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