German Long Stockings: Age--15 Year Olds

Figure 1.--This boy German boys in 1933 wears long stockings with a short pants suit. We think it may have been more for formality than warmth. This does not look like a cold day. The boy is not identified. We note his age is not indicated, he looks to us to be about 15 years old. Click on the image for a fuller discussion.

Some German boys wore long stockings at age 15 years. This varied chronologically. I am not sure about the 19th century and early 20th century. We notice that after Workd War I during the inter-war era, that many German boys wore short pants. This was very common for school-age boys and younger teenagers. Families varied as to the age boys were allowed to wear long pants. Some boys may have got long pants at age 14. Age 15 was probably more common, although quite a number of 15 year olds still wore shorts. This was not just for casual wear, but also for school and dressing up. We can tell, for example, the German boy here in 1933 is not wearing long stockings on a cold day (figure 1). Rather the foliage suggests the photograoh was taken during the summer. We think most 15 year olds wore knee socks with shorts, but some did wear long stockings. We think this may have been more for formality than warmth, but we are not entirely sure. Some German boys at 15 years of age worn knickers in the inter-war era. I am not sure at this time whether they wore knee socks or long stockings with knickers. A German reader writes, "As a boy in the 1930s, I noticed long stockings were very common. I wore them and so did many of my friends. I stopped wearing them when I was 12 years old and by age 13 there weren't too many boys still wearing them. I did see boys up to about age 15 wearing them, but this was not very common." In the difficult conditions following World War II, we ofren see 15 year olds wearing shorts, but very rarely with long stockings. Another reader writes, "I have read quite a number of personal experience statements from German writers who grew up during the 1940s and 1950s in Germany who report that many conservative parents, especially in the more rural and remote regions of Germany, insisted on their sons' wearing long stockings, especially for dress-up occasions such as Church or visits to respected grandparents or elders who regarded long stockings as necessary, correct and proper for older boys. Apparently many boys were allowed to switch to ski-type long trousers, gathered at the ankles, for school and winter wear after the age of 14, nevertheless continuing to wear long stockings for warmth underneath. But these same boys often were required to wear short trousers with long stockings to church or other dress-up venues. The stockings always had to be pulled up tautly and held by garters with no darned places showing. Often older teenage boys switched to Lederhosen, especially in Bavaria, after school for play but were made to wear long stockings even then, both for propriety and for protection from colds, sniffles, etc. Older boys were usually permitted to dispense with the traditional Strapsleibchen (a bodice, usually with four garters attached) when they had progressed into their teen years. Instead they were given a Strapsgurtel, a belt that fastened around their waists and closed in front with one or two buttons. Four elastic hose supporters with metal clips were usually sewn onto the belt--two in front and two more at the back toward the sides. Strapsgurtels could apparently be purchased in shops, but many were home-made garments sewn by their frugal mothers. Girls often had pink Strapsgurtels. Boys, for obvious reasons, preferred theirs to be white or gray."


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Created: 2:02 AM 8/19/2007
Last updated: 5:07 PM 8/19/2007