Why I love my vintage fully-fashioned stockings

At the beginning of this year, the thought of being able to find genuine vintage fully-fashioned stockings in my size seemed ludicrous; I’m 5’11” and a size 14 to 16 on my bottom half. A while ago, my partner showed me a pair of vintage stockings that he had bought out of interest, they were so small! The lady who had owned them must have been so tiny because they fitted me like a pair of knee-high socks! I thought to myself, I wish I was smaller than I am because I’m never going to be able to find any vintage stockings in my size.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.30.57 pmThankfully I was very wrong and I now own dozens of pairs! My partner is extremely generous and has bought me a large collection of varying nude coloured fully-fashioned service weight stockings. I want to tell you all about them for several reasons;

  1. I have never worn anything so luxurious on my legs, it is genuinely a treat to wear them
  2. They are extremely robust
  3. The colours go really well with real vintage dresses, they are after all one of the brands that women wore back in the 1950s
  4. The heel and seam are subtle enough to not be too obvious if you’re going for more of a discreet look
  5. The welts are stretchy which means that ladies with larger thighs (me being one of them) can wear them without worrying that they will dig into their thighs
  6. These stockings are a real piece of fashion history and they are my absolute favourite stockings out of my collection

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.48.23 pm

So let me go through these points in detail, starting with how luxurious they feel. If you have some pantyhose in your room, go and get them now, feel how scratchy and unpleasant they feel, this is even the case with some ultra cheap stockings. Lane Bryant vintage stockings are a real treat to put on, because they are shaped like a real leg (as all fully-fashioned stockings should be) the constriction around the ankle as you pull them up feels glorious. When you slide them up your leg, they feel like silk and the cotton welts are really soft against the delicate skin of your thighs. I often say to my partner that it feels like I’m wearing kisses on my legs.

You may remember the cockatoo post that I did a while ago – I was wearing my vintage stockings on that day, and I was seriously worried that the birds were going to trash my beautiful stockings. Why did I wear them in that case? I have no idea to be honest, it was very early in the morning and I wasn’t thinking straight… But, I was so surprised to see the cockatoos climbing up my legs with they sharp claws and they didn’t snag my stockings, not even once! Check out my hand below, it was scratched by the cockatoos quite badly (the photo doesn’t show how bad it was!):

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.58.51 pmAnd my stockings? Nothing.  From now on, I’m going to put all my stockings through the cockatoo test! 😉

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.29.17 pmThere is a good reason for this, women back in the 50s didn’t just wear stockings because they felt like it, they had to! If a woman went outside without hosiery on her legs, it would have been scandalous! Nylons were extremely important back then. A while ago we were watching a Hitchcock movie (I can’t remember the name) and one of the ladies fell over and tore her stockings; what was the first thing she requested? A new pair of nylons, and quick!

As stockings were an intrinsic part of a ladies outfit, they needed to be strong. My Lane Bryan stockings are mostly service- weight, these were stockings that were designed for women who worked in harsher environments, or moved around a lot during the day. Service weight stockings were generally made in a higher denier, such as 50 or 70 denier and often (but not always) had cotton weaved through the heel. This style of stocking was designed for day wear, and evening stockings would generally have been a little sheerer, and a lower denier.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.45.29 pmI really like the colour of these stockings, they are quite dark compared to my skin colour but light enough to still be considered a Caucasian nude, I also think they would suit slightly darker skin. They generally vary from a pinkish colour to a light brown colour and the seam and heel also match (these are not contrast seams).

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.24.07 pmI wrote a post recently about office appropriate underwear, where I mentioned that I felt the need to wear subtle stockings as an obvious contrast seam up the back of my legs just attracted unwanted attention. These stockings are actually perfect for my workplace, I feel elegant and have a seam (which I love) but they don’t shout out ‘I’M WEARING STOCKINGS!’ – Perfect.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.44.13 pmThe welts on these stockings are truly magical in my opinion! Although the leg of the stocking is made of nylon, which is not stretchy in the slightest, the welts are (if you want to know what a welt is, click here!). the tops of my thighs are quite large which means that I sometimes struggle with stockings cutting into my skin, because of the soft stretchy cotton in these welts, I have zero issues with them being too tight or uncomfortable. After wearing a pair of these stockings a few times, I find that I actually have to wash them in order to shrink the welts back down to a good size as they can get a bit baggy. All I do is hand wash them in the sink and then hang them on the towel rail all night, in the morning they are as good as new again!

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.47.32 pmI feel extremely lucky to own these vintage stockings, they were manufactured such a long time ago, and I take a lot of pride in wearing them. Stockings just aren’t made like this anymore and are becoming increasingly difficult to find, so these are really precious to me. One of my favourite things about them in the print on the outside of the welt, which you can see here:

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.46.48 pmThis is something that has been replicated by modern designers such as Secrets in Lace, Dita von Teese and What Katie Did, which is really great but nothing beats an old print like this one.

In terms of sizing, I usually wear a 10.5 foot (I am a UK shoe size 9/ 9.5) and lengths ranging from 34″ to 37″ depending on the suspension I want to wear with them.

The next thing you will want to know is where to get hold of them. Well, you will have to watch this space…

Elinor

8 thoughts on “Why I love my vintage fully-fashioned stockings

  1. Pingback: How to fit a vintage fully-fashioned stocking | The Nylon Swish

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