Austrian Hosiery


Figure 1.--This photograph of two Viennese siblings was taken in 1930. The boy is about 10 or 11, and the girl about 8. The setting may be outside their school. Note the chain link fence and the snow that has been shoveled up against it to clear the courtyard. The boy wears a tweed suit jacket over an open-necked shirt, dark short trousers, long stockings of a heather-like texture, and hightop shoes. His open overcoat is double breasted with brass buttons (somewhat naval in style) and he carries a peaked cap in his hand. His younger sister wears a button-on skirt attached to a blouse, tan or light brown long stockings, and hightop shoes similar to those of her brother. Her overcoat has fur trim around the sleeve cuffs and bottom, and she wears a hat with some sort of decoration on it. Both children wear long stockings, although we are not sure about the colors. These appear to be fairly well-off children from a propsperous middle-class family.

As far as we can tell, the hosiery worn by Austrian children is essentially identical to the hosiery worn by German children. We do not have much information on the 19th century yet. Children in the early 20th children wore three-quarter stockings and long stockings when the weather got cold. Long stockings were not just worn in cold weather. Modesty and formality were other factors. After World war I, knee socks became popular and were widely worn into the 1960s. Both long stockings and kneesocks were worn. We also notice girls wearing white ankle socks. Various age and gender conventions affected the type and color of hosiery. At about that time both long stockings and knee socks went out of style. Long stockings disappeared first and knee socks in the 1970s. This was in part because fewer Austrian boys were wearing short pants, especially in the cooler months. We have less information about tights, but assume trends were similar to Germany.

Germany

As far as we can tell, the hosiery worn by Austrian children is essentially identical to the hosiery worn by German children, at least in the20th century. Of course Germany in the 19th century is a complicated subject because the country was not unified until 1871. And we have not yet addressed the topic of hosiery trends in the diffeent German states.

Chronology

We do not have much information on the 19th century yet, especially the early-19th century. Our Austrian archive is much more limited than our German archive. As in Germany, long stockings seem to have been very common in the late-19th century. We Children in the early 20th children wearing three-quarter stockings and long stockings when the weather got cold. French fashions seem more of an influence in Austria than German, at least in Vienna. Even so long stockings were very common. Long stockings were not just worn in cold weather. Modesty and formality were other factors. After World war I, knee socks became popular and were widely worn into the 1960s. Both long stockings and kneesocks were worn in the post-War period. Long stockings had largely disappeared by the 1960s and knee socks were declining in popularity by the end of the decade. A factor here was the declining popularity of short pants, especially in the cooler months. Short pants became essentially summer leisure wear. And knee socks were not worn nearly as much in summer. Thus long stockings disappeared first and knee socks in the 1970s. This was in part because fewer Austrian boys were wearing short pants. We have less information about tights, but assume trends were similar to West Germany.

Gender

We also notice girls wearing white ankle socks. Various age and gender conventions affected the type and color of hosiery. Boys and girls in the 19th century wore very similar hosiery types. The major difference seems to be color. This unfortunately is difficult to follow in black and white photography. We two colors we can see is white and with a little less assurance, black. Coth boys and girls wore white hosiery. White was very common for girls, but less common for boys. WE mostly see younger boys wearing white hosiery.

Types

Austrian children over time have worn a range of different hosiery types. The popularity of the different hosiery types have varied over time. We see three-quarter socks in the early 20th century. Long stockings were common during cold weather, but were also worn for formality and modesty. Knee socks became very common after world War I in the 1920s. As longs stockings and knee socks declined in popularity by the 1950s and 60s we see more children wearing abkle socks. They were first mostly worn by girls, but became standard for boys as well. We are not yet sure about tights.







HBC




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Created: 8:10 AM 11/30/2007
Last updated: 4:08 PM 9/29/2016