Vintage Clothing: Stockings

I have been doing quite a bit of reading on vintage (and historical) ladies clothing.  My recent topic of interest are stockings.  Originally designed for warmth, they progressed through time to be both useful and fashionable.

While wondering how stockings were held in place (most were thigh and over the knee length), I had a flashback to an older lady patient of mine who rolled her cotton stockings to hold them up.  She had me pull them up the leg then rolled them down a bit. Then she twisted the roll and tucked the twist into the top of the stocking.   I imagine one would need to constantly be pulling them up and re-rolling, and the garter and suspender belt would have been a boon.  These were from the days of no elastic and no stretchy materials like nylon and rayon.

Cotton and wool were the staple material for the masses, with silk for the more prosperous.  When these stockings were washed, in order for them to have the best fit possible, they were dried on stocking forms- leg shaped thin boards that preserved the foot and leg proportions- otherwise the stocking would resemble a crumpled tube of fabric.

Until the 1910s, ladies’ stockings were not on show in public due to the length of the skirts they wore.  Once legs were in fashion, many colors, materials, and patterns were available as well as shoes that were meant to showcase the foot and leg- for example T-strap Mary Janes.

Not much later, the illusion of bare legs with the advent of nylon, were all the rage.  The advent of elastic fibers made pantyhose popular and the garters and suspenders more or less obsolete.

vintage stocking boards - Yahoo Image Search Results

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