Cold Legs, Warm Heart

“Snow the Winter of ’79,” it reads on the back of this snapshot.  Lets hope she had someone helping her shovel her walk.

Our woman was bundled up against the cold, putting on an old fur coat (maybe from the forties), a fur hat, and snow boots.  But my attention was immediately drawn to that foot or so of leg covered only by stockings.  In the many decades between the rise of skirt lengths and the acceptability of women wearing pants most of the time, winter dressing presented a big problem.  How did legs stay warm?

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5 Responses to Cold Legs, Warm Heart

  1. Speaking as someone who doesn’t wear pants and has lived in Russia where older women don’t really wear pants, the key to warm legs in cold weather is thick tights! Babushkas tend to wear these heavy flesh-colored ribbed stockings with fur-lined boots that come to mid-calf or higher.

    Personally, I wear silk long underwear, then heavy cotton sweater tights over top of that, and then woolen knee or thigh-highs over that. My (cotton or wool) dresses and skirts are generally midi-length and my legs are warm enough. I also wear mid-calf or knee-high boots with shearling lining as well and that helps. A lot of it in the quality of the layers. I find silk+cotton+wool to be a winning combination.

  2. Carol in Denver says:

    After walking to school one bitterly cold winter day my legs turned purple with white spots on them. I overheard a boy say to his friend, “Look at that girl’s legs.” We weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. I suppose pants might have been allowed if we took them off after arriving at school, but I didn’t know about that. That was in the late 1950s in Omaha, NE.

  3. M-C says:

    Legs stayed cold. I was the first in my school to wear wool tights, which were a big improvement over bare legs, in the 50s. Pants were forbidden in French school into the 70s. I got the tights because my mother had till the end of her life the scars of the chilblains she got on her thighs in the 30s, painful infected cracks in the skin. 😕

  4. Norah says:

    When I was in elementary and middle school, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants in class. However, we could wear them to,school under our skirt; then we’d take them off and leave them in the coat room. I also remember wearing sweater tights in middle school. This was in Michigan from 1962-1971. By the time I got to high school we were allowed to wear pants.

    • Sanda Davis says:

      I was just thinking about the days in school (elementary, jr. high, and high school) where we wore pants under our skirts and took them off as soon as we got to school and stashed them in our lockers. It was the 50s-60s and we wore knee high socks with our skirts in the winter.

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