Russian Tights Conventions: Play

Figure 1.--This boy looks to be visiting his grandmother in a rural area, probably in the 1970s. We are not sure if he is from the city. Weare also not sure why he woyld be wearing tights with short pants. If it was chilly you would think he would be wearing long pants. A Russian reader tells us this was common.

We note children wearing tights with play clothes. This includes boys wearing short pants. We are not sure just what the conventions were here. If the tights were being worn because it was chilly, I'm not sure why the boy would be wearing short pants. By the 1970s, Russian boys commonly had both long and sjort pants which were often worn seasonally. Perhaps during the summer some boys wore short psnts and mother or grand mother would put out tights on coller days. But we are just not sure about the conventions. Perhaps grandmother insisted on the tights. A Russian reader writes, "This outfit was typical for the rural areas of the former USSR, especially for boys who visited their grandmas and grandfather during summer vacations. Notice the headwear. The cap is is a "pilotka", or "a pilot-cap", used as a casual headwear by Red Army soldiers, with a small red star. Also notice the boots. They are high heavy boots made of rubber, rather like Wellies. This was the only footwear that can be used during dirty wet Russian autumn or spring, when there are almost no roads in rural areas." This may have been a carry over for the conventions associated with long srtockings. These play tights seem to be neutral shades, although this is difficult to tell because of the still common blasck and white photography. This seems to have been may have been especially common in rural areas where fashion conventions were less pronounced. A reader writes, "I'd hazard a guess that shorts were probably more comfortable or practical for the summer with grandmother and that the tights were added fo warmth as it was a cool day. I notice long stockings being worn with shorts earlier. This is probably a simmilar situation." Another reader writes, "HBC is so interesting. It provides glimses like this of boyhood around the world. I agree with the HBC assessment that tights are a carry-over from the days when Russian boys wore long stockings with short pants. Interestingly, too, the color would appear to be beige or very light tan, the dominant color of long stockings worn in much of Eastern Europe. Note, for example, another HBC image of a Russian boy wearing beige tights with shorts, presumably in the early 1980s. A Russian reader writes, "This photograph to me looks like it was taken in the late 70s or perhaps the very early 80s. He is definitelt wearing tights and not long stockings. At that time it was common clothes for a chiily weather, no less popular than long pants." A Canadian reader writes, "There can be a lot of reason this Russian boy would wear tights, longjohns or simply long stockings. In Northern Canada, like in the Northern part of Russia, children had to wear "long stockings" in June and the first part of July because of flies, mosquitoes and bees. Going to wild strawberries or blueberries picking or simply fishing along any lakes or ponds is still on today very dangerous because of possible stings. Then, to be safe in woods, children and also adults were required to protect themselves and dress safely. Why short pants for the boy? Because they are less warm and heavy weight than long pants. Long over-the-knee socks are still the best clothings against flying insects."


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Created: 5:39 AM 4/3/2007
Last updated: 11:14 PM 4/3/2007