1920s Knickers and Accessories

I thought that with all the talk about knickers and hiking clothes that you might want to see examples from my collection.  The set above is a matching linen vest and knickers.  There is a very similar set in a 1925 B. Altman& Company catalog which shows the vest and knickers paired with a blouse, plain wool cloche,  knee socks and brogan shoes.  I was lucky enough to find a similar blouse which I’m showing here.

The vest has no closure except for the belt that buttons below the waist.  The knickers button on both sides.

I’ve seen this “The Fad of the Hour” in other knickers from the 1920s.  In looking through my catalogs and magazines I first saw knickers for women in a 1919 catalog, and their last appearance was in 1929.  That’s a pretty long lasting fad!

And just because I love this detail, here is the two button closure on the leg band.

Here is another pair, this time in black and white linen tweed.  Note how they button on both sides of the waist.

There are pockets on both sides as well.

Just for fun I paired these with a late 1920s sweater.  This one has a Marshall Field’s label, but I’ve seen this style in catalogs such as Sears from the late 1920s.

This is an odd cross between a middy and a blouse, but seeing as how it is made from cotton duck, I can safely say the intended use was for outings such as hiking and camping.  The bottom band actually folds up and buttons (that’s the exposed seam you can see).  I’ve seen ads for middies that proclaimed their superiority because they did not fasten at the bottom.

These unworn 1920s knee socks were a very lucky find, from Carol at Dandelion Vintage.  Best of all, both pairs are unworn.

Just like in the photos I shared earlier, the decorative tops of the socks were worn over the bottom band of the knickers.

And for the feet, a pair of Walkover brogans.

Topped off with a plain wool cloche, our hiker is now properly attired and ready to walk.

When collecting, I like to think of the entire ensemble.  To me it is just so interesting to see how women actually wore their clothes, and to be able to assemble all the pieces that was necessary for a look.  As another collector once said, “It’s not just about the frocks.”


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Collecting, Vintage Clothing

26 responses to “1920s Knickers and Accessories

  1. Lizzie, the knickers are fabulous with the red sweater–great pairing!


  2. I like the shoes….but I”m afraid I will have to pass on the nickers (in linen, anyway). I prefer Knickers in wool or corderoy. How come Knickers starts with a “K”??? Do you happen to know.???


  3. Christina

    So nice to see a story put together like this. What a splendid two-piece! I really love the linen knickers and as for those socks!


  4. QueensGirl

    Thanks so much for posting these knickerbocker ensembles! This was particularly timely for me because I have a pair of 80s-does-the-20s wool trousers that I plan to alter into knickers. Seeing the button closure up-close was very helpful, because I couldn’t find a good example. Also wondered what to do about socks, and now I know!


  5. How wonderful and …wow!!! Bernard Altman- what a fantastic company!!! I loved going there,,,spent hours…love the linen outfit…Ralph did a pair of linen jodhpurs in the early 80’s. daved them -gave them /she is still wearing them in NYC…found a vintage pair from Dior in grey flannel-she is wearing them too!! THANK YOU !!! JUST GREAT!!!


  6. Love the whole ensemble, in each iteration. Thank you so much for pulling all these together for us!


  7. Interesting that “fad of the hour” would be an effective marketing tool! It would make me think twice before buying. But then, I’m old and probably the women who bought these were young. That red sweater is amazing. I really appreciate your efforts to assemble the whole costume–what a learning opportunity for us all.


    • I do think that most of the knickers-wearers were young, judging from the photos of the era. Of the ones I posted before, only one woman looks to be over 30.

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed seeing the entire costume. This is pretty much the way I collect, always looking for specific items that will complete an ensemble. I’m inspired by vintage photos.


  8. vastlycurious.com

    Great post and the detail in the linen is remarkable ! ! ! ( and the ironing 🙂 )


  9. I absolutely adore that red sweater! The whole post was fascinating. Thanks, Lizzie!!


  10. These are fabulous! I’ve never run across 1920s knickers or any of their pairings in real life, but I sure hope to now!


  11. Carrie

    What fabulous items, Lizzie! Wonderful to see a whole outdoors outfit put together–I’ve seen pictures of sportswear in magazines and catalogs, but of course you can’t see the fabric or color, only read about t hem. That red sweater is incredible! And now I know what 20s socks looked like!


  12. Lizzie, thank you for the wonderful set of posts on knickers. I learned so much!


  13. Pingback: Early 1900’s camping and hiking for women: the “dos & donts” | Chips Off the Old Block

  14. Pingback: 1920s Tomboy Hiking Suit | The Vintage Traveler

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