Stockings have been around for centuries now. Some say they go as far back as Egypt. We do know that they were huge during the 1500s and beyond. These are not pantyhose, which are all attached as one garment. We are talking about actual stocking that are open at the thighs. One would use the garter belt to hold these hose up for them. The stocking made in the early 1500s, were thick and knitted by hand. As more material became available the stocking began to be made from more and more fabric types such as wool, cotton, nylon, silk and others. A clergyman named William Lee around the 1580s built the first knitting machine. This was when hosiery first became knitted by machines and mass-produced. During the early 1800s the majority of fashionable stocking were made of cotton. No one even noticed them any ways due to the floor length dresses and skirts of the time. There was no need to have any glitz and glamour to these stocking because they were made to be functional not sexy.
After World War I, the short skirts of the 1920s became fashionable. This is the time that silk stockings and garters re-appeared in the general public. It was around the time of WW II that the first fashionable seamed stockings came to be. They were knitted, flat and hand sewn at the back. This created the sexy seam that men still go crazy over today. These are the stockings know during that era as the "Full-Fashioned Stocking". This is also the time that nylon was becoming popular. The more expensive silk was becoming less and less purchased. During the late 1940s through the early 1960s nylon stocking were all the rage. Once the mid-1960s came, the stocking had been pushed away to the wayside by the new invention, pantyhose. Once the pantyhose became popular enough the vintage Full-Fashioned Stocking slipped from public view and department stores all together. Even now in this modern age there are very few machines that can still produce these vintage stockings.
There are a number of features that have gone into the stocking today as we all know it that was a trademark of the vintage style. The seam in the back is one of those things that made it into today's stocking as well as yester years. There large differences between the vintage pairs and today's stockings besides all the colors available. Full-fashion Stockings have a hand-sewn seam in the back not machine sewn. This added to the life expectancy of the hose. The seam ran all the way down to the heel, which was darkened. The darkening of the heel and even toe area was where the stocking had been reinforced during the knitting process. This caused them to be a bit darker than the rest of the hose. However, most people would never know the difference in the seam anyway. The real difference is the keyhole welt at the top of the stocking in the back that is doubled over.
The stocking industry began to fill a new market when pantyhose took over, the intimate apparel market. They became a leading fashion with a garter belt in women's lingerie. Men and women alike could still see and feel the sexiness of the hose but in a whole new way from earlier times. Women liked the convenience of the pantyhose for every day use, even though it ran so easily. If you snagged it on anything it would tear. This was because it was produced by one continuous thread. Therefore, it wasn't as sturdy as the stocking even when interwoven with other materials such as cotton. Pantyhose were also less appealing sexually with the built in ugly underwear. The reason stockings are so sought after and loved is because they are just plain sexy. They have a special kind of allure to them and are so tactile. Men's imaginations go insane when they see a woman in a pair because they are so sensuous. Women and men love the feel of a stocking. There is nothing better for a woman that to rub her legs together under her skirt and feel how silky and sexy her legs feel
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