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Monday, February 24, 2014

White to Black

When I was a teenager there were certain preachers (which I won't name) who were promoting black stockings for women. There was one I especially knew as the "black stocking preacher." No matter what he preached about he always managed to work black stockings into his sermon.
When there was a split in the Lancaster Conference in 1968, the conservative element that broke away rewrote their discipline and made black stockings mandatory. The new rule included not only the color but the weight of the stockings. They were to be "service weight" (30-denier).  Black stockings are considered plainer than brown or flesh colored stockings. The blacker the better. (In case you're wondering, I couldn't swallow that idea.)
The earliest known Mennonite church statement on women's clothing was found in a 1763 Bible used in the Groffdale meetinghouse. It  directed that all woolen clothing be made from gray cloth and linen clothing should be white. Cotton neck-kerchiefs, aprons, and stockings were to be white or light blue.
Now here's my question. When and how in the past 200 years did the correct color of women's stockings change from white to black? Was there a gray period in between? If anyone has an answer, let me know.
My personal opinion is that if the skirt is long enough the color of the stocking does not matter. A long skirt is more modest than black stockings.

1 comment:

Welcome Home Katya said...

Interesting post. I could tell you a few stories of my time in the 1970's to 1990's in a "black stockings only" setting. The real eye opener for sure for me was when a preacher kept preaching how women needed to wear black so that people wouldn't mistakenly think they had bare legs. Being a very practical and rational person, I finally asked him over a meal we were sharing with his family once how that worked out then for the women of other races who already had black skin. Were they going to be encouraged to wear white hose? He became very unhappy with me and shut the conversation down. That pretty much told me all I needed to know.