We know that long stockings were commonly worn in England. We also see kneesocks appearing substantially before they were common in America. At this time, we have little information indicating the prevalence of long stockings and kneesocks in the late 19th century. We see many boys wearing long stockings. An early example is an unidentified boy in the 1860s.
We note another unidentified child wear long stockings, we think in the 1870s.
Long stocking in England do not seem as pervasive as they were in some other countries like America and Germany. We do know that long dark stockings were considered more suitable for older boys and short white socks for younger boys. An English family that we have acquired some information on this and it is shown in how two brothers were dressed about 1900. After the turn of the 20th century, especially with the foundation of Baden Powell's Boy Scouts, kneesocks rapidly replaced long stockings in Britain. We note an English boy wearing white long stockings in 1916. By the 1920s it was unusual to see an English boy wearing long stockings. Girls did continue to wear them. Quite a few girls' schools required girls to wear long stockings into the 1930s and even the 40s.
We know that long stockings were commonly worn in England. We also see knee socks appearing substantially before they were common in America. At this time, we have little information indicating the prevalence of long stockings in the early- and mid-19th century. A major problem is the absence of photographs. Photography was not invented in the early-19th century and unlike America, it was not very common in England during the mid-19th century. We have been able to find very few English Dags and Ambros (1840s-50s). There were some active hobbiests. Our earliest image is a Lewis Carol portrait of the Cameron boys in the late-1850s. Note the stripped long stockings. The number of such images, however, is very limited. There are drawings and fshin magazines, but these are not as dfintive as actual photographs. We do not see many English portraits until the appearance of CDVs (1860s). Suddenly we have large numbers of images to work with. An early example is an unidentified boy in the 1860s.
We note another unidentified child wear long stockings, we think in the 1870s. And amother unidentified boy wears long stockings, clearly ribbed stockings, we think in the early-70s, but this is just an estimate. After the turn of the 20th century, especially with the foundation of Baden Powell's Boy Scouts, knee socks rapidly replaced long stockings in Britain. This is a little difficult to assess becase the short pants are so long. We note an English boy wearing white long stockings in 1916. By the 1920s it was unusual to see an English boy wearing long stockings. Girls did, however, continue to wear them. Quite a few girls' schools had the girls wearing long stockings. Conservative schools required girls to wear long stockings into the 1930s and even the early-40s. This was not for warmth or even formality as they were worn as part of the everyday unifiorm. We believe it was a modesty convention. We do not see them in England after World War II.
Long stocking in England do not seem as pervasive as they were in some other countries like America and Germany. This varied chronologically. Long stockings were common in the late19th century, although younger boys might wear socks. After the turn of the 20th century, we see boys wearing long stockings in the 1900s, but in the 1910s we see many boys beginning rolling down their long stockings and by the 1920s knee socks had become standard for boys. Some girls continued to wear long stockings.
We are trying to work out long stocking conventions. We note age, color, formality, gender, and seasonal conventions. Unlike America, we see both socks and long stockings being worn in the 19th century. We do know that long dark stockings were considered more suitable for older boys and short white socks for younger boys. We also see many mothers coordinating the colors of the suit and stockings. This often meant matching the colors. A good example is an unidentified Lincoln boy in the 1860s. This all varied over time. Family images can be useful in assessing these conventions, but it is not always obvious which convntion is at play. We note a Frome family in the 1860s, but ir is not immeditly apparent from just the image if age or gender explains the difference. .
Long stockings were widely worn in England as soon as shortened-length pants and skirts began to be worn by the mid-19th century. From the time they first appeared, younger children commonly wore socks. This include both pre-school and younger primary-age children. We do not have many images from mid-century, but with the popularity of the CDV and cabinet cards (1860s) we have a substantial photographic record.
We see a large unidentified family group, we think from the 1890s. The the younger boys wear socks and the older boys long stocvkings.
An English family that we have acquired some information on this and it is shown in how two brothers were dressed about 1900. The older boy wears long stockings. The younger boy wears white socks.
We think the age differential was basically because the younger children were seen asexempt from the modesty rules governing older children. A HBCreader suggeststhat toilet training may have been involved here. This may have been a factor, but we see children far above the toilet training age wearing socks.
We have very limited informtion on the colors of the long stockings worn by English children. The black and white photography of the day makes it impossible to determine what color the stockings were. We can spot black and white shades. We note boys wearing white stockings in the 1860s and early-70s. Colored stockings seem nore common. We cannot, however, tell what the color hues were. Most of the images we have found come from the 19th century. Boys began wearing socks by the 20th century. Some girls wore long stockings into the 1930s, mostly as part of school uniforms at conservative schools. Not only were their different colors, but color preferences varied over time. We also think there were some age and color diferenceds. This of course was before color photography was available to any extent. We do not yet have catalog information or vintage clothing that will hrlp with the color information.
We notice English boys wearing a variety of long stockings, including patterened stockings. Most long stockings were palin, flat colors. The patterns we notice are primarily striped stockings. We used the term striped stockings because it is commonly used. Actually it is more like banded stockings as the stripes are jorizontal and not verica;. This acoount to the vast majority of the patterened stockings we have noted. We see a huge number of these striped stickings in the photograohic record. We have, however found a few boys wearing other patterned stockings. The most common seems to argle patterns, perhaps because of the Scottish commection. We note a lot of illustrations suggesting children wore stripped long stockings in the mid-19th century. Many of the illustratios come from English sources. We were a little surprised by this because our archive of American images does not how this fashion in the 1840s and 50s and in the 60s we mostly see white long stockings. As there are few English Dags and Ambros, we are unable to assess hosiery trends at mid-century with any validity during the 1850s and 60s. We do note a Lewis Carol portrait of the Cameron boys (late-1850s). The older boy, charles, is wearing stripped long stockings with some kind of a skirted outfit. We do begin to see large numbers of portraits with the appearance of the CDV (1860s). We do not, however, see children wearing stripped long stockings. We have not found a lot of other patterned stockings besides striped stockings. WE do note argles. They were primarily associated with Highland outfirs, but we see them worn with suits as well. This ws not bvery common, but we do see examples. Our English archive is not large, but is growing. This it is a little difficult to assess trens such as chronology and age. One complication here is we are not entirely sure about the type of hosiery involved. The argyles worn with Highland outfits were knee socks, but turn-or top socks. And turn-over tops when pulled up are esentially long stockings. We are still working out how to categorize them. It is difficult because when worn with knee pants or knickers it is difficult to tell how long they were.
We are not sure just how long English long stockings were made. We are still working on this as we expand our English archive. Many English boys wore knickers in the late-19th century. We are often not able to determine just what kind of hosiery they were wearing and how long the hosiery was, A good example is LOndon boy, John Montagu Slopford, in 1871. The boy here is clearly wearing long stockings, but the length is unknown (figure 1).
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