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Pair Of Stockings (France), early 19th century

This is a Pair of Stockings. It is dated early 19th century and we acquired it in 1962. Its medium is silk and its technique is knitted and embroidered. It is a part of the Textiles department.

In the early eighteenth century, men of all social classes wore close-fitting knee-length breeches and stockings. The shaping of most stockings was accomplished by the insertion of triangular gussets (known as “clocks”) on both sides. The fashion for decorating clocks and areas bordering the clocks seems to have emerged during the reign of James I, and was eventually adopted by women as well as men. Generally, this decoration took the form of embroidery in contrasting thread on otherwise plain white silk stockings. Sometimes, as was the case with these green and red stockings, the decoration was much more elaborate. Plain or fancy, decoration of the clocks was clearly intended to draw attention to the wearer’s calf. By the 1770’s, this trend led some men to wear pads on the inside of their stockings to enhance the shape of their legs.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled The “feet” of time?.

This object was bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf (American, 1887–1961). It is credited Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf.

Our curators have highlighted 7 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

H x W (each): 64.1 x 21.5 cm (25 1/4 x 8 7/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Pair Of Stockings (France), early 19th century; silk; H x W (each): 64.1 x 21.5 cm (25 1/4 x 8 7/16 in.); Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma Greenleaf; 1962-55-14-a,b

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Pair Of Stockings (France), early 19th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 August 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>