Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stockings by the Fire

It seems the perfect time of year to write about stockings. For most of my readers, it's starting to get chilly, plus there is the added allusion of stockings with Christmas. I'm sure that as in years past my mom will give me another few pairs of shitty socks which will make better cat toys than anything else, but if she were paying closer attention she'd know that what I really want are more stockings. Seamed or not, stockings are essential to completing the look of a classic pin-up, and they don't have to cost a fortune. Keep an eye out for 2-for-1 deals, and take care of them once you've worn them--I store mine in plastic bags so they don't get snagged or stretched by other items in my drawer, and I also wash them by hand. It's a bit of maintenance, but it's well worth it. A good pair of stockings can be almost as transformative as a great pair of shoes. For the uninitiated, here is a glossary of vintage stocking terms. (Note: Since stockings advertised as "stay-ups" rarely do in fact stay up, and because they are bad for circulation, I only wear and recommend stockings that require garters. Garters are another post entirely.)

There are about three different places I patronize when I require new pieces of hosiery, and each has their pros and cons. I can be found most frequently wearing thigh highs by What Katie Did. My favorite thing about stockings by What Katie Did is that they wear like iron. Occasionally they get a little run in the foot or the ankle, where there is the most friction, but I've never had that run extend so far past the foot as to render the stocking unwearable. I'm extremely clumsy, forever tripping over things and getting snagged on something or other, but these stockings are strong to withstand even my best inadvertent slapstick routine. In fact, the only reason I ever have to discard these stockings is because they're odorous and discolored by my shoes after many wearings. The downside of strong stockings is that the material seems to hold everything, and no amount of washing seems to really clean them.

I also buy stockings from time to time at Agent Provocateur. They have a fabulous range of colors and styles so you can find ones suitable for work, evenings and play time. They're also thinner than the stockings from What Katie Did, even when they're the same denier, so if you're not looking for warmth and iron wear, these are great. I tend to reserve these for special occasions when I can be more playful than at the office, in part because they are so fun, but also because they don't wear as well and I'd rather not wear them for 12 hours at a stretch, which I sometimes have to do during the week. They also make that wonderful raspy sound when you rub your legs together--a nice touch when you're crossing your legs in attentive company.

As far as feel is concerned, the best stockings I've worn come from Secrets in Lace. These are so incredibly soft, and when I wear them I feel as though my legs are being kissed in silk (even if the stockings are not actually made from silk). These are the height of luxury, if not durability. They're also made with a keyhole in back, just like in the good old days. While these are definitely not stockings I can wear every day, I love them for big nights.

Now, as much as I might wish that I'll have the time to post again before I'm on the road for Christmas, the reality is that I probably won't. I wish all of you a very happy holiday, and as my gift to you, I'll end with some of my favorite pinups featuring stockings.

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Pinup Tales by Kitty du Vert is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.