Thursday, April 21, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

Silk stockings. Yes, silk. Still made today (for a king's ransom) but I wear vintage. Deadstock, if I'm lucky.

Rayon stockings. Cotton stockings (with silk clocks, even better).

I've been lucky this year, after a long run of not being so lucky. Old stockings are still around, but they're not always easy to find. This year and the second half of last year I've found 20s and 30s stockings.

About ten years ago I found a box of three pairs of 40s stockings. They were marked "service weight", which I think means that they were to spec for wearing while in uniform. I could be wrong, but in any case, they are amazing. It's been ten years and I still have all three. There are a few pulls or snags, but not a single run! Amazing.

Now, I don't wear stockings every day by any means, as some vintage enthusiasts do, but they still get a workout for special occasions. They're the right thing to wear, after all, with vintage dresses. And stockings are far more comfortable than panty hose--believe me!

It's not always a foregone conclusion that the stockings you buy, even if deadstock, will be wearable. Silk in particular is prone to drying out so badly that a run zings down the leg as you're oh-so-carefully easing on the first one (this usually happens, of course, when you're on vacation and don't have a lot of spares on hand).

Real stockings, like good socks, come in sizes. Your stocking size is not the same as your shoe size. It's closer to a rough measurement (in inches) of the length of your foot. They came in long and short and regular. Some had reinforced toes, fancy clocks, even hand-painted designs on the sides. Until the 1960s, they all had seams.

Stockings can be held up by a girdle, garter belt, or plain old elastic garters (if you're in a 20s mood, feel free to slide jazz garters on under the roll created by rolling the stocking top around the elastic garter).

They're correct, sexy, make your legs look better, and can make an outfit.

Just the same, there are days when I leave them off, like Gertrude Lawrence did (in the 30s, it was considered positively outrageous).

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