When Neal and I were packing up our old house to move, one of the most daunting rooms to pack was—no surprise—my closet. One clothing category I had in extreme excess was pantyhose and socks. As I was putting the hosiery into my little bags, I flashed back to the first time I wore stockings.
I was going to my first Jr. High School dance and mom decided it was time. So she purchased the miserable panty girdle with the fasteners for the stocking sewn into the legs. Oh my goodness, what a mess. I finally got the stockings on straight, hooked up, and out I went. As the night got longer, so did my hose. I can still see one of my guy friends looking down at the nylon puddle around my ankles and then looking up at my face with complete dismay. All my female friends had already mastered the art and their hose were up and tight, making me feel sillier for my stocking puddle. How horrible.
The fashions of today seem, for the most part, to be leaving hosiery behind, but tights and stockings were always a part of my attire when I was younger. But the invention of panty hose saved the day and kept me from any more stocking slips. Now as to the “runs,” I always had a clear bottle of nail polish nearby to paint a dot at the base of the run to stop it. Of course when it dried, it adhered to my leg making the “ripping-off” fun. My how times have changed! And who can forget the fishnet hose?
Nylon hosiery came on the market in the early 1940s and immediately became a success. However, garters held up this hosiery until the invention of pantyhose in 1959. Pantyhose were invented by Alan Grant, a textile manufacturer, at the request of his pregnant wife who was having difficulties fitting into a girdle to hold up her stockings. She sewed her stockings directly to her underwear and suggested her husband make improvements on her design; thus, pantyhose were born.
Pantyhose took off in the 1960s with the rise of the miniskirt trend, but experienced peak popularity in the ’70s and ’80s. I had countless pairs of hosiery in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Although hosiery seems to be fading out of favor these days, I still enjoy wearing a favorite pair with a skirt and heels. Classic fashion never goes out of style.
Do you have a memorable experience with hosiery?