American boys in 1924 commonly wore knickers. Most boys wore long stockings with knickers. We note a full page ad for Sears long stockings. The Sears ad for long stockings here appeared in the Fall and Winter catalog, Wards, p. 249. Long stockings for boys and girls were still the standard wear for children of both genders in America during the early 1920s, especially
during the winter months. Boys wore them with both short pants and knickers.
The Sears, Roebuck and Co., huge merchandising firm centered in Chicago was founded by Richard W. Sears (1863-1914) and A.C. Roebuck (1864-1948). Sears had begun a career in mail-order business in Minnesota 1886. In Chicago he and Roebuck joined resources and formed a corporation in 1893 as a mail-order business under title Sears, Roebuck and Company. In 1895 Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) bought Roebuck's interest in firm and became president on Sears's retirement 1908. A retail-store system was added 1925. The first foreign store added in Havana, Cuba during 1945 and became the first expropriated store in 1960. The Sears-Roebuck brought the production of industry to the fartherest corner of rural America, opening the cornucopia of the consumer age to rural America. All the new things that were changing American life danced across their pages. Through it, a huge Chicago warehouse offers to modernize the farms and small towns of the Midwest.
Long stockings for boys and girls were still the standard wear for children of both genders in America during the early 1920s, especially during the winter months. Boys wore them with both short pants and knickers. Note that the boy in the image here no longer wears knee pants, common in the 1910s, but wears his long stockings with short pants. They are also tan rather than black. Although black stockings were still widely sold, the colors that were becoming increasingly popular were various shades of tan and brown. White stockings were also available in some cases. Presumably these
were worn mostly by girls or by young boys for quite formal or dress-up occasions. Although both girls and boys often wore the same kind of stockings (most stockings on offer were unisex), some were specifically designed to appeal to either boys or girls (as in this advertisement).
Because boys were particularly hard on the knees of their stockings, some kinds were manufactured with "double knees" to take harder wear.
Notice also the different weights available. The heavier weights were appropriate for outdoor wear in colder climates and for greater durability. The lighter weights were more appropriate for dress wear and also for less extreme weather.
Wards offered a wide variety of long stockings in 1924-25. Some of the stockings shown here were available in sizes up to 11--that is in sizes that would fit boys as old as 17 or 18 years.
Note that the hosiery for boys and girls appear on the same page. Some of the long stockings offered or gender neutral, suitable for both boys and girls. Quite a few, however, specify either boys or girls. After the 1920s, children's clothing became increasingly specialized with distinctive styles developing for both boys and girls.
Sears offered quite a range of different stles and qualities of long stockings in the Fall and Winter catalog, Wards, p. 249. The prominance of the ads and the variety of the selection all suggest tha long stockings were popular (at least with moms) and very widely worn in 1924.
These long stockings were shown at the top left. The Sears ad copy read, "25 c. A Pair. Fine Quality Ribbed Cotton.
Best quality, combed cottn yarns were used for these fine ribbed stockings for children. The smooth knit feet have reinforced heels and toes, and the legs are very elastic so they will draw on or off easily. These stockings are of Ward's Quality Hosiery brand, known for their splendid service. Sizes 5 1/2
to 9 1/2. State size wanted.
30 N 221--Buff (light tan)
30 N 229--Brown
30 N 230--Black
30 N 231--White
Per pair 25 c. 3 pairs 71 c. Postage per pair 2 c. extra."
These stockings were shown at the top center. The Sears ad copy read, "Top Center: 27 c A Pair. Unusually Good Value
Heavy Weight School Hose for Boys There is strength and durability in every thread of Ward's Quality Hosiery for school boys. Heavy weight cotton knit in a firm fine rib makes them especially practical for the hard strain of everyday wear. The legs are knit with many needles so they are very elastic and will draw on and off easily. Strong reinforcements at heels and toes. These hose are knit so that they are comfortable and not bulky or too heavy. Our reasonable price saves you money. Try a pair for your boy. Sizes 6 to 11. State size wanted.
30 N 250--Black
30 N 251--Brown
Sizes 6 to 10. Per pair 27 c.
Sizes 10 1/2 to 11 Per pair 33 c." [Note: These boys' stockings are made in sizes up to 11, which means they would fit boys as old as 17 and 18. Most older boys wore these stockings with
knickers and perhaps long pants but a few wore them also with short pants. The elasticity of boys' stockings are an important selling point. Boys wanted stockings that fit their legs closely and weren't baggy or loose fitting in appearance. This was
especially a problem when long underwear was worn underneath the long stockings so that bulges would be obvious.]
These long stockings apeear at the top right. The Sears ad copy read, "21 c. a Pair. Light Weight Ribbed Hose Thrifty mothers will take advantage of this opportunity to buy several pairs of these light weight Stockings for their children, as the price is unusually low for hosiery of this fine quality. Knit from a good grade cotton, fine ribbed with reinforced heels and toes. Seamless. These stockings are practical for everyday wear. Sizes 5 to 10. State size wanted.
30 N 925--Black
30 N 926--Brown
20 N 927--White
Per pair, 21 c.; 3 pairs 59 c. Postage per pair, 2 c extra." [Notice that these boy's stockings only came in black and brown.]
These stockings can be seen at the middle left. The Sears ad copy read, "43 c. A Pair. Extra Heavy Ribbed Hose for Boys
Your boy can romp and play as hard as he likes if he wears Ward's Quality Hosiery. These are made extra heavy to withstand the strain of everyday wear. Strongly knit from a fine grade of cotton, legs are double from the shoe tops to the tops. Linen threads are knit in at heels and toes to reinforce these wearing points. Seamless. Very elastic, so they can be pulled on and off easily. The best wearing stocking you can buy for your boy and you will find these remarkable values at our price. Sizes 6 to 10. State size wanted
30 G 284--Black
30 G 285--Brown
Per pair, 43 c. Postage, per pair, 2 c. extra." [Notice that these boy's stockings only came in black and brown.]
These stockings are shoiwn in the middle box, top left. The Sears ad copy read, "Children's Durable Stockings
Ward's Special for Boys. 3 Pairs $1.00. Stockings made to stand the rough, hard usage of boys' everyday wear. These heavy weight, good quality cotton hose are of the Ward's Quality Hosiery brand-
-known for their long wear. Knit in medium rib, they are extremely elastic. Extra heavy legs and double ankles and feet. The toes and heels are strongly reinforced. Sizes 6 to 11. State size wanted.
30 N 219 Black only. 3 pairs $1.00. Postage, 3 pairs, 3 c. extra." [Notice that these boy's stockings only came in black.]
These stockings can be found in the middle box, top right. The Sears ad copy read, "School Hose for Girls. 3 Pairs $1.00
Active girls require stockings that are built for wear and Ward's Quality Hosiery for girls is made with the same strong, durable qualities as for boys. Fine ribbed made with double leg and reinforced heels and toes, which insure excellent wear. Very elastic and neat in appearance. Just the stocking for everyday wear, and nice enough for dress wear. Sizes 6 to 10. State size wanted. 30 N 235--Black only. 3 Pairs $1.00. Postage, 3 pairs, 3 c. extra." [Notice that these girl's stockings only came in black. Many of the boys' stocking were also black or brown. Color destinctions based on gender, otyher than white, do not yet seem very pronounced.]
These stockings can be found in the middle box, bottom left. The ad copy read, "35 c. a Pair. Fine Mercerized Cotton for Girls. Seamless. Fine quality mercerized lisle threads are used in these elastic ribbed stockings, giving them a soft, silky luster. They are knit seamless with strongly reinforced heels and toes. These are fine Ward's quality Hosiery for children's best wear.
Sizes 5 1/2 to 9 1/2. State size wanted.
30 N 238--Black
30 N 239--Dark brown
30 N 240--White
30 N 243--Sand (Grayish Tan)
Per pair, $ .35, 3 pairs, $1.00. Postage, per pair, 2 c. extra." [Note the greater varietyof colors for girls' stockings.]
These stockings can be found in the middle box, bottom right. The Sears ad copy read, "78 c. A Pair. Fiber Silk and Cotton Dress Stockings. Boys and girls will like these smart, good looking stockings of English ribbed fiber silk and lisle. They are well made of fine grade materials, and have the durability and strength you expect in Ward's Quality Hosiery. Toes and heels are reinforced. Seamless. A most attractive dress stocking.
Sizes 5 1/2 to 9 1/2. State size wanted.
30 G 930--Black
30 G 931--Birch (Light Tan)
30 G 932--Brown
Per pair 78 c. Postage, per pair, 1 c. extra."
These stockings are found at middle right. The Sears ad copy read, "48 c. A Pair. Heavy Weight English Derby Rib. Unusual Value.
Stockings that are good looking and fine enough for dress, yet so strong and sturdy they can be worn for sport or everyday wear. These heavy weight English Derby ribbed stockings are of Ward's Quality Hosiery brand, noted for their long wear. Knit from a fine quality mercerized cotton, rich and lustrous. The elastic rib gives a neat appearance. Strongly reinforced heels and toes. Suitable for both boys and girls.Sizes 6 to 11. State size wanted
30 N 224--Black
30 N 225--Brown
Per pair 48 c. Postage, per pair, 2 c. extra."
These low-cost long stockings were seen a suitable for school and could be worn by both boys and girls. They are lovcated at the bottom left. The sears ad copy read, " Pairs 45 c. Practical School Hose. Fine Ribbed Cotton.
The good quality of the cotton yarns used in these stockings, combined with the unusually low price, makes them a money saving value in school hose for boys and girls. Heels and toes are reinforced to prevent wear at these points. The fine way in which they are knitted makes them easy to pull on or off. We can easily recommend these stockings as an unusual value. Sizes 5 1/2 to 9 1/2. 30 N 242 Black only. State size wanted. 30 N 245--Black only 3 Pairs 45 c. Postage 3 c. extra."
This is another pair seen as suitable for schoolwear for both boys and girls. They are illustrated atvthe bottom right. The Sears ad copoy read, "23 c. A Pair. School Hose With Strong Double Knees. Mothers will not have to darn stockings so often if they buy
Ward's Quality Hosiery for their boys and girls. Knit from good quality cotton yarns of medium heavy weight, these stockings are made with double knees, giving strength where they receive hardest wear. Heels and toes are strongly reinforced. We especially recommend these stockings for school wear. Start your children out to school in these hose this fall. You will be pleased with
their splendid wearing qualities. Sizes, 5 1/2 to 9 1/2. State size wanted. Per pair, 23 c.. 3 pairs, 65 c. Postage, per pair, 1 c. extra."
Note that Sears offered drying frames for these stockings. We believe that this was because the Winter weather made drying these stockings outside an unpleasant experience. As the length made it difficult finding spots to dry them indoors after Winter. These racks provided a handy way of drying them.
The ages of children for which these stoclings were made was not the same as the sizes. Readers interesting in accessing the ages can consult the size/age charts collect by HBC. One further point about the sizing of stockings: Wards has a note on a different stocking page to indicate that an easy way to arrive at the correct
size of stockings for younger children is to measure the size of the foot on the sole from heel to toe in inches. If the measurement was 7 inches, 7 would be the correct size for the stockings. But this system wouldn't apply to older children. The stockings for older teenage boys (Size 10 1/2 or 11) doesn't mean that such boys had feet 10 1/2 or 11 inches long.
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