18th Century Striped Stockings

It seems that vertical stripes are the predominant style of striped stockings in the 18th century, but there are a few examples of horizontally striped stockings or diagonally striped stockings. (Ribbed stockings appear on a separate page.)

Extant examples

  • KM 85159, a pair of white silk stockings with thinner blue and gray stripes, c. 1750-1799
  • DAR 2237, “hand-knit striped wool stocking, about 1787-1795, possibly owned by Capt. Isaac Burnett”
  • Met C.I.44.8.12a, b, a pair of silk stockings, Europe, late 18th century
  • National Maritime Museum TXT0381 and TXT0382, silk stockings with blue stripes worn by Nelson when wounded at Tenerife, c. 1797 (H/T Klára Posekaná)
  • Met C.I.44.8.13a, b, late 18th/early 19th century

Portraits and illustrations

It's possible that some of the depictions of stockings (especially those from the 1770s) are really showing ribbed stockings rather than striped stockings, or that the colored stripes were added onto the print in the 1780s or 1790s, when striped stockings become more fashionable.


  • “Deserted the 11th Instant, from a Party of the 35th Regiment, at Newport Pagnell, in Buckinghamshire, James Priest, Born in Bilson, in the county of Stafford, by trade a Nailor, worked some time as a Potter, 18 yeas of age, 5 feet 5 inches high, brown complexion, dark brown short hair, grey eyes, stout made, and supposed to be gone to Bilson, by the way of Stoney Stratford; had on, when he deserted, an old brown coat and waistcoat, leather breeches, and a pair of striped blue and white stockings; the shirt he wore was marked J. Priest, 35th Regiment.” (London Chronicle, March 14, 1776)
  • “DESERTED from Captain ROBERT MULLAN’S Company of Marines, in Philadelphia, the following men … James Deacon, about 24 years of age, 5 feet 9 inches high, he says he served his time to farming in Bucks county, born in England, a fair complexion, short brown hair, slender built, and very talkative; had on when he went off, a pair of stripe cotton stockings, nankeen breeches much worn, a woollen bound hat with a white lining.” (The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 6, 1776)
  • “I live at No. 280, Holborn, I am a hosier, the two prisoners came into my shop, about four o'clock on the Monday in the afternoon, the 13th of September … they asked to look at some striped silk stockings that lay in the window, I reached them down, they asked me the price, I told them half a guinea a pair … he was going out, and I missed a pair of striped silk … You seem to swear pretty hardly, Sir, you tell us Sir, that the other person took the striped silk stockings, did you see him take them?” (Trial of George Green and Benjamin Coleman, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, September 15, 1784)
  • “the prisoner came in and asked to look at some striped cotton stockings; I shewed him some, and he chose one pair; then he asked for some finer; I shewed him some; he chose one pair” (Trial of William Tennant, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, December 13, 1786)
  • “RUN-AWAY from the subscriber, on Tuesday the 12th inst. a negro man, named COLLY, about 6 feet high, 26 or 27 years of age; he had on when he went away a dark blue plains coat, a red striped vest, two new brown linen shirts, corduroy breeches, and plains do. a pair of new shoes, and striped stockings, and round hat bound” (Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser, July 27, 1791)
  • “His hair was cropped in the moſt faſhionable ſtyle, and he was dreſſed in a ſtriped blue coat and dark ſtriped waiſtcoat, nankeen breeches, blue and white ſriped ſilk ſtockings, and half-boots” (A ludicrous Aſſemblage of Modern Tutors, The Gentleman’s Magazine, April 2, 1792)
  • “I saw him put the striped pair, the silk and cotton in his pocket.” (Trial of James Guy, Proceedings of the Old Bailey, January 9, 1793)
  • “Committed to the jail of King George county, on the 5th day of this month two negroes, who say they belong to Mr. Wm. Marriwether and Mr. Smith Payn, of Goochland county:--One of them is a well set black fellow, who says his name is JOHN; he has on a felt hat, blue soldier coat, spotted velvet waistcoat, brown linen shirt, plains breeches, striped stockings, and negro shoes” (Virginia Herald and Fredericksburg Advertiser, March 21, 1793)