A confession about stockings and garter belts
Une confession sur les bas et les portes-jaretelles
Stockings are open at the thigh, not part of a knitted-waist garment like pantyhose. In earlier centuries, women wore stockings that came up to their thighs and were held up with garters. These were heavy stockings, and before 1589 were knitted by hand. Throughout the centuries, stockings have been made from a number of materials. Wools, cottons, silks and eventually nylon, have all been part of a stocking at one point or another. Thanks to William Lee, an English clergyman who invented the first knitting machine, stockings--or hosiery, as it is often called--have been made by machines from the late 1500's. In the early 19th century, most stockings were made of cotton, their plainness made unnoticeable by the long gowns worn by women of the day. It wasn't until after World War I that short skirts were fashionable and silk stockings reappeared. It was only after World War II that nylon became the popular material of choice for a pair of stockings, and by the mid-1960's--when mini skirts became fashionable--stockings fell by the wayside, passed up in favor of their newest competition, pantyhose. During the mid-1940's, before the advent of pantyhose, there was a stocking created which was knitted flat, then "fashioned," or shaped, by hand and hand-seamed up the back. It is these stockings that are known as the Full-Fashioned Stocking. If you look at a pair of full-fashioned stockings, you will see a number of identifying features. First and probably foremost is the hand-sewn back seam of the stocking that goes down to a darkened heel. On a pair of full-fashioned stockings, you will find the toe and heel sections have been reinforced during the knitting process, making them darker than the rest of the stocking. But the feature that separates the real full-fashioned stocking from the imitations is the doubled over, key-holed welt at the top of the stocking. As pantyhose began replacing full-fashioned stockings, these lovely and vintage items began falling from the public view. Today there are very few machines left that can knit a pair of full-fashioned stockings. I know learning the history and facts of full fashioned stockings may not be all that appealing. When I started wearing stockings, I didn't know their history. I started wearing them because my very Italian grandmother told me, "Ladies wear stockings, not pantyhose." I was a teenager then and did as my grandmother said. It was only as I became an adult, and as I dared to defy my grandmother, that I would learn pantyhose are awful compared to the luscious stockings I adore. There is an indescribable feeling of sexiness that accompanies the wearing of these stockings, and what woman doesn't want to feel sexy? Even I, the consummate tomboy, want to feel that alluring sensual feeling every once in a while. Over the years I have spoken with many women about full-fashioned stockings versus pantyhose. Usually the number one reason woman don't try garter belts and stockings is because they have at one point or another tried wearing those frilly, lacy lingerie items we often wear for our partners. You know the type I mean, the ones found in adult magazines and lingerie shops. Well, all the women who have tried those garter belts and stockings are right, they are uncomfortable. But in my quest for perfectly-fitting garter belts, I have found a couple of gems of distributors that make wearing stockings a pleasure. I won't go as far as my grandmother and say that pantyhose are evil, but if you've never had the experience of wearing a pair of full-fashioned stockings attached to a sexy and comfortable garter belt, you don't know what you're missing. There is something intrinsically alluring about having a hidden secret under your favorite dress or gown. Perhaps it's not just the silky feel of a knitted stocking clinging sexily to your leg; perhaps it's the entire romantic ideal of having gorgeous gams and being daring enough to show them off in fine hosiery. Perhaps it's that sexy little back seam running up the length of your leg that leads others to wonder what other things you might be hiding under that skirt. I haven't met a man yet whose eyes didn't twinkle at the thought of the tops of a woman's stockings and something even better, where the stocking meets flesh. I'm not quite sure what it is about these stockings that can instantly transform this tomboy into a lady, but they do. If you're feeling daring and looking for a little pick-me-up, try finding yourself a well-fitted garter belt and a pair of full-fashioned stockings. Slide them on under your favorite dress or skirt, wear them around once or twice and see if you also don't feel a little more lady-like, a little sexier and a whole hell of a lot more daring than with constrictive pantyhose. I think you'll find that once you try a pair of full-fashioned stockings, you won't ever use pantyhose again, except perhaps as a lint cover for your dryer-vent hose.