Origins of a stocking fetish – the family influence

“It began for me when I was twelve, back in 1978. At the time, the area I which my family lived had a great atmosphere and a genuine sense of community spirit (not anymore, alas). It was the custom for the ladies of our neighbourhood to put on a bit of an amateur ‘variety show’ (not sure if they have ‘variety’ in the US) in the local church hall. There would be a little singing, a few jokes, a little bit of (very amateurish) conjuring and the like. It was all very light-hearted. That year, at the end of the show, the curtains were pulled back to reveal a line of can-can dancers – the wives and mothers of our neighbourhood! The taped music started, and a dozen or so ladies began their high kicks, flashing their stockings and suspenders (all black) and their knickers (a variety of colours – whites, pinks and yellows). I was instantly spellbound. Straightaway my heart began to thump. I simply could not believe what I was seeing; there were ladies I knew (including Mum!) neighbours and the mothers of friends, kicking up their legs and wiggling their big round bottoms, all clad in gorgeous briefs and hosiery. The act finished to thunderous applause and cheering.

“That night I couldn’t get the images out of my mind – I was a stockings addict at twelve! I didn’t get much sleep that night either, as my parents’ bedsprings were squeaking away for hours: I wasn’t the only one turned on.”

“My story is a little different. I started out hating stockings with a passion. Growing up in the thirties until the age of about six, and before graduating to knickers, most boys in winter were forced to wear cotton or wool stockings with their shorts. The stockings were awful. Never long enough so there was bare thigh between the stocking top and shorts. They were held up by a single garter in front, or perhaps a pair of garters in a Y on a single strap. The garters were suspended from an over the shoulder bodice. The girls wore wool stockings too, but theirs were much longer, and moreover held up with a four-strap garter belt. I complained to my mother that my stockings should be longer, but to no avail. How happy I was to graduate to knickers. I got over my hatred of stockings-but that’s another story…

“My aunt was baby-sitting me at her house shortly after I shed my awful stockings. She was a slim, attractive widow in her early forties. She was always casual about putting on and adjusting stockings; they looked really good on her. In the bathroom were hanging to dry stockings, lingerie and a corset. I touched and felt her underwear, and loved the touch. As I turned to leave, my aunt was standing there smiling in her slip with a pair of stockings in her hands; she was obviously about to put them on. She asked if I liked her underwear. I stammered that her stockings were so much nicer than the ones I had had to wear. She asked if I would like to help her put on her stockings. I was trembling but somehow said yes. She showed me how to pull them carefully up her legs and fasten the garters to get straight seams. She then asked if I would like to try on some stockings. She said she had some that were short for her that would probably fit me. She had me remove my knickers, and put a wide garterbelt on me. Then, she watched while I put on the stockings, and carefully fastened the garters. She asked how I liked the stockings; I just loved them. It was the beginning of a long love affair. She gave me the garterbelt and three pairs of the stockings that were too short for her, saying that she wouldn’t and I shouldn’t tell my parents. Whenever she babysit for me after that, I would always put on the stockings. I still love them.”

“My fixation on women in their underwear, especially seeing their legs in stockings, was fixed forever in me by my aunt, when I was 10 or 11. I was staying at my aunt’s one time. I was sitting at a table when she came in, wearing only a white corselette with dangling suspenders. My heart was pounding, and I tried not to look as I heard her open a drawer. It was the drawer of a dresser behind the couch (which was actually a pull-down bed where I had spent the night). I glanced back and saw her sliding a shiny bronze coloured stocking up her long leg and fixing it to the hooks.

“She caught me looking, and I blushed and turned away. Next thing I know she has walked up beside me, pulled out a chair that is next to me, put her bare left foot on it, and slowly slid on the other stocking. She took a long time about it, drawing it up her leg, hooking the chocolate-coloured stocking tops with the rubber and metal clasps, and slowly smoothing out any wrinkles, working her hands up her leg from ankle to thigh. I was close enough to see every wrinkle in the nylon, and to hear the rasping sound the nylon made as it slid up her leg. I tried not to look, but kept glancing out of the corner of my eye.

“She was talking about banal things, like the shopping expedition we would be going on and things like that. But when she brought her foot back down and moved away to put on her dress, I noticed she had an ironic half-smile on her face.”

Origins of a stocking fetish – the school effect

“As a stocking lover since early childhood (since being fascinated with my primary school teacher’s legs in tan seamed nylons when I was five), I am fascinated in the origins of people’s love of stockings.”

“My love for stockings also started during my primary school years. My teacher wore nude colour stockings with very short skirts and I loved it. It only got worse as I got older, when I entered middle school, my S.S. teacher was wearing navy blue stockings with garters and a long wrap skirt. She took off her heels and climbed on a chair to reach the screen. I first was amazed that she took off her shoes but then when she climbed on the chair she revealed the tops of her stockings and her wonderful thighs.

“Then in eighth grade my English teacher was wearing six-inch heels, black seamed stockings with black garters and a short black skirt about five inches above her knee. She sat on the desk in front of me and spread her legs wide open revealing the tops of her stockings and her underwear.”

“For me, as I said it began when I was five years old, in 1959 (my God it seems like a century, but I am a hopefully youthful 46 year old!). My primary school teacher, Miss Scott, in Glasgow was a gorgeous brunette and, this being the 1950s, she wore the frocks and dresses of the period, complete with masses of taffeta petticoats, with a wide belt around her small waist.

“In particular, she wore tan-coloured seamed nylon stockings and high heels. The sound of her heels clicking along the wooden floorboards in the classroom, the swish of her petticoats and the sight of her shapely calves with stocking seams running up them made me punchy with delight. I do recall the intense ache of the excitement and not knowing how to fulfil it, other than a recurrent dream of sinking my teeth into the Miss Scott’s thighs around her stocking tops. Infantile sexual arousal, clearly.”

“My first realisation that stockings were something to be admired was when my teacher plopped her skirt over me when I was six. The next time I noticed stockings was when in high school at about the age of 13 I had a new maths teacher. Now these were the days in Australia (early ’60s) when many migrants from Europe were settling in Australia to build up our population. This teacher was from Germany, spoke very broken English, had an extremely hard face but would wear seamed stockings and high heels every day. That made her very interesting!

“All my mates would try to engage her in conversation in the playground whilst the rest of us would be checking her out from behind. A sight that few had ever seen before. From there I went into the Air Force and the WRAAFs were issued with seamed stockings which they would only wear on Parade, as this was now the time that pantyhose was coming in and most wouldn’t wear the “old fashioned stuff”. Boy for a while there those girls in uniform looked delicious as they marched by. We kept up to date with stockings with little magazines called Spick and Span….but then they went the way of the Dodo along with stockings). After that I didn’t see another pair of stockings until the late 80’s when the last revival occurred… and by then I was hooked.”

Origins of a stocking fetish

“Clothing-related fetishes are linked to fashions that are seen between the ages of about 5 and 15, when male sexuality is developing. The stockings and suspender/garter belt fetish primarily has its origins in the 1950s and 60s. Previously, directoire knickers, bloomers and corsets were ‘the thing’. The shapely ankle, today a phrase that seems faintly ridiculous, was a strong fetish with 19th century origins. Tights and pantyhose are an increasingly common fetish, as can be seen from the content of ‘leg’ magazines and the suppliers of photo sets. This is entirely predictable. Claims that stockings are ‘sexier’ than tights are incorrect. No piece of clothing, of itself, is sexy. Most sexologists/psychologists claim that women (natural women, not TVs and transsexuals etc) do not have fetishes, but this belief is entirely incorrect. A fetish generally has to have some ‘unusual’ aspect to it, so men’s socks won’t turn many women on!”

“The year was 1967. I had an evening paper round in Southampton where I live. I was 16 and just about to leave school at the end of the summer. On my evening paper round a girl aged about 18 would cycle past me every evening wearing extremely short flimsy summer dresses. The mini skirt/dress was the height of fashion and a lot of girls had already started wearing tights. Not this girl however, she would cycle past me every evening for the duration of the summer with her skirt above her nylon tan stocking tops and white suspenders. Later that year I started work at what was then Southern Gas only to find that she worked there also. Sadly by then she was wearing tights. My fetish began at a much earlier age but this is my best recollection due to the fact that it lasted for months at the same time of 5.45 each weekday.”

“It was 1981 and I was studying in the University Research Library at UCLA, where I was finishing up my freshman year. I was totally engrossed in whatever I was reading at the time (which, considering my grades that year, is still pretty hard to believe!), but at a certain point, I happened to notice that a striking young woman had sat down across from me.

“I think what initially caught my eye was a slight wrinkling or bagging of her (I thought) pantyhose around her ankles. I found the sight both odd and compelling… so my eyes continued upward. She was wearing a black skirt (about down to her calf) with a slit in the side, fairly high up her thigh. At first, that didn’t mean anything, but when she slightly shifted her position in her chair, it meant EVERYTHING!

“For when she shifted, the slit opened up to reveal a lovely, well-shaped thigh, a beautiful black garter strap and the welt of her stocking. Immediately, I lost ALL interest in whatever it was I had been reading and focused all of my attention on this beautiful woman. Not having EVER seen stockings and garters outside the pages of Playboy, I couldn’t believe this woman was showing me hers… she must’ve noticed my attention (or my blushing face…), because she then crossed her legs VERY slowly, allowing the slit to open further, exposing more and more stocking-clad leg. When she took off her shoe to rub her foot, I’d never seen anything like that before… what I now know to be a ‘blackfoot’ stocking. I was, to say the least, entranced!

“After what seemed like hours (but was more likely only a few minutes), she got up and left. As I watched her walk away and admired the straightness of her seams, I found myself packing up my things and hurrying after her. Being a shy freshman and not nearly as confident as I am today, I wasn’t able to go introduce myself, so I followed her at a discreet distance. Her class must’ve been all the way across campus, as it seemed like I was walking behind her for a LONG time. Mind you, I was in heaven watching those seams dancing just in front of me. I could even faintly hear the sound of her stockings rubbing together. What a sound!

“Finally, she got to her classroom. I couldn’t well follow her in, so I was thrilled when she got a seat adjacent to the open door. She then proceeded to cross her legs and move the slit so that I could still see the garter strap stretching to attach to the welt of her stocking. At one point, she reached down and started to adjust it. Well, I was about ready to explode by then… thankfully, my dorm room was fairly close by! And that is how it all began for me…”

Embarrassing moments while wearing stockings

“I’m 27and new to this site. I wear stockings regularly and I thought I would share my most embarrassing moment with you. In 1993, when I was 19, I began work at a public library. Wanting to look smart on my first day I put on my best skirt. The trouble was it was a little too tight, but I managed to fit into it, just. When I was walking across the main floor of the library my button popped off and my skirt slipped down to my knees. I briefly showed my stocking tops and benders to a few dozen people. As I bent to quickly pull up my skirt my knickered bum was quickly flashed as well. I blushed as red as a beetroot and nearly died of embarrassment. I didn’t dare face the people who had seen my underwear so I hid in the offices for as long as I could.”

“I was invited along with the rest of my colleagues to an evening wedding reception for which a coach was laid on to take us to the venue. As it was quite a posh do I was wearing a full length flowing skirt. As I was going down the steps of the coach my skirt dragged along the floor and someone behind me stepped on the hem. As I continued getting off the coach, the skirt button flew off and the zip came down – swiftly followed by my skirt which ended up in a crumpled heap on the pavement leaving me stood in my black stockings cornflower blue sussies and knickers. I pulled my skirt back up and fortunately one of the ladies had a safety pin which saved the day. I did get quite a lot of attention from the guys that night and I don’t think I bought a drink all night!”

“Way, way back in 1959 I was an office junior in a large government office. Those, of course, were the days when nylons and suspenders were universally worn. I too lost my skirt without warning, but I had on a flouncy petticoat underneath, which probably only served to make me look even more ridiculous. Adding insult to injury my petticoat was semi-transparent so my knickers and sussies were seen by all. Even after all these years, I still feel my cheeks glowing crimson when I recall it!”

“I was walking across the open-plan office where I work with a colleague of 26 (I’m 52) when I heard the unmistakeable ‘ping’ of a suspender coming loose. My colleague blushed and nodded when I asked if she was wearing suspenders. I still wear them for work but I was surprised at a girl of her age.

“I’ve been a closet wearer of stockings under business clothes for decades. I usually wear nude or light beige stockings with a wide pull-on garterbelt. At a meeting some years ago I stood up to give my short presentation. As I did so, a front garter released with what seemed like a cannon shot to me. I couldn’t believe it had not been heard by everyone, but no one seemed to take notice. I hurriedly finished my talk, and adjourned to the men’s room to re-attach the garter. Since then, I always pinch the front garter with pliers to prevent a repetition. It seems effective.”

“Never embarrass a lady who is wearing stockings in any way. All of us (and that includes me) are expected to act like the ladies and gentlemen we are, with good manners at all times. It upsets me when I read of someone being careless in how they exit a table and cause exposure of someone who would rather not be exposed. Believe me when I say, no lady has to wear stockings. They do have other choices such as pantyhose and thigh highs. So when they are wearing stockings they deserve respect and to be treated with the utmost dignity.”

Why do women still wear stockings?

I hope that if there are any women reading this they will take the time to end my (and maybe a lot of other men’s) curiosity over why women still wear ‘classic’ stockings and suspenders (garters) instead of ‘newer’ and ‘easier’ hosiery such as hold-ups or the so called suspender tights my wife recently bought.

My wife (28) started wearing stockings just after we got married and still wears stockings now and then, but less than she used to, mainly on occasions. She also always complained about embarrassing and awkward moments when her suspenders either broke or came undone. It always seems to happen when we are out. She hasn’t worn stockings to work for some time since she got embarrassed when giving a presentation at work one day.

I also remember about three years ago on my way to work in the city a young woman walking ahead in the street in a funny way. She turned a corner into a side street I also took. When I also turned the corner she was a little bit ahead obviously trying to do up a stocking. I don’t think she saw me or succeeded because when going up the same steps to my building I could see she was still trying to keep it up. She ended up going into my building and the same elevator. It was in the elevator that she noticed me glancing below, and she was obviously a bit embarrassed just smiled and said ‘trouble down below’, or something like that! She got off at a different floor!

I know that most women don’t wear stockings these days and I’m certainly not complaining that my wife does! But I am curious why, if there is so much awkwardness and potential embarrassment why do so many women continue? Just how common is it really? Has it ever caused any problems?

– As Innova would probably tell you, the advantages far, far outweigh the occasional disadvantage in my eyes. It’s like saying why do you drive a Ferrari when it uses so much fuel? There will be the occasional hitch, but these things happen, and they are far less problematic to me than the health risks and sheer non-sexiness of pantyhose.

– Thanks for your sincere reply Abby. I understand what you’re saying and I suppose from a purely male and obviously ‘selfish’ point of view I could say I don’t care why women wear stockings despite hitches – I’m not complaining.

The ‘problem’ is that my wife doesn’t wear stockings anywhere as much as she used to until recently, though she did originally say that they were nice to wear. I was just curious to know whether the sort of problems she tells me about were actually ‘normal’. It was in fact the first time my wife wore stockings when we went out and were getting out of the car she told me that one of her suspenders had broken. I didn’t even know she was wearing them!

Most recently she told me that while sitting down her rear (?) fasteners somehow opened (?) and she only realised when she got up to give a talk in one of her meeting rooms at work, and got ‘humiliated’ by having her stockings ‘dangling down’ at the back while talking.

Also just how embarrassing or awkward do other women find it (ie what sort of response do women find that they get from others around them when, to quote my wife’s words, their ‘secret is out’). Are they treated less seriously than before?

If other women report here that this sort of thing does happen a fair bit, then I suppose I will appreciate my wife’s ‘efforts’ even more. But if it isn’t and she’s doing something ‘wrong’ then I suppose I might be able to show some genuine messages from any women reading this site to ‘reassure’ her.

– My girlfriend stopped using stockings after only a little time. She says she has too many problems with garters coming open. Last time we went out together and her stockings started coming down in the street she was not happy. She says it happens too much. Is this true? I say it’s only bad luck. I’ve never seen this before.

– Innova to the rescue. At all costs you must dissuade her from the evils of pantyhose. Suggest “stay ups” or suspender tights. More importantly she must try another suspender belt, or maybe her stockings are the wrong size. Does she wear stretch or non-stretch, or FF or RHT’s? Just persevere and she will find the solution that suits both of you. But be understanding and don’t force the issue too much. Treat her gently and she will respond.

– My girlfriend has worn stay up stockings but she always complains that they fall down slowly. I say she should buy some normal stockings and a garterbelt to wear so not to have any problem. Of course i like them better and she also says they are nice. But she only wore them five or six times. At work on the first day a back garter broke and she could not close it, so she had a problem keeping the stocking up.

One week ago we are out together and walking. Suddenly she got angry and said again that the garter was open at the back. Soon after she suddenly held her leg and said the other garter had come open. As we walked she had a problem keeping the stocking up and she got very upset from all the people looking.

Later she told me her friends also say they have same problem all time when they wear stockings. She says that the normal stockings and garters are very nice but she doesn’t want to worry all the time with garters coming open.

– I have had a look at some unopened packs of my wife’s hosiery. The makes are Charnos and Aristoc, and the suspenders are from Gossard and Berlei – does that help? My wife has worn hold ups but doesn’t like them. Again, is there a make that (presumably more expensive!) does actually stay up? I find your description of pantyhose (tights?) as evil, funny. I am not sure if that will work?

– I can answer all your questions on the stockings problems. But first, at all expenses, do not let her even think about pantyhose.

I am a male and I have been wearing stockings very successfully for over 30 years. I have had embarrassing situations such as you explained. It is embarrassing when a garter comes undone and you have to go find a restroom to fix it. Even more so, is when both garters come undone and your stocking slides down out from under your pants and all these people see that you had on stockings!

With my experience with stockings, I have found that the problem lies in either that the stocking is too short or the garters on the garter-belt are too short. When both of these match, it is a perfect marriage!

Being 6’3″ tall I have a lot of problems finding long sheer stockings, I hate those stretchy cantrece stockings, they remind me of pantyhose! Lots of times when I go to buy a new garterbelt I have to shop around to find one with the garters that are long enough. And you have to make sure that you buy a good garter-belt – if you buy a cheap one it will have those cheap garter clasps and they will NOT stay fastened!

Even on some of the good garter-belts i have had to take off the garters that came with it and put on the garters that you can buy that are made for girdles, these seem to be a lot better garter and WON’T come undone and also most of the time they are the good metal garters like they used to be on the garter-belts. When they started putting on the plastic garters is when I started having most of my problems.

– From my own experience with my wife, ladies will wear stockings and suspenders subject to two provisos – first, that they are comfortable; and, second, that they do not feel there is any danger of the kind of problem you describe.

The solution to both problems lies in the fitting of the garments and the quality. As to the latter, the clips must be metal and not plastic. (I was in Selfridges the other day and noticed a range of suspenders from Rigby and Pellier, Corsetieres by appointment to Her Majesty The Queen; I was appalled and amazed to see they all had plastic clips.

– Three cheers for the recent hot spell. In the interests of comfort and hygiene, and because her job requires her to not to be bare legged, my wife has decided to bin her tights and to return to wearing stockings and suspenders. She has worn them before but stopped because the stockings wrinkled around her ankles. Someone has suggested a suspender belt with metal suspender clips as opposed to plastic clips.

You must ensure your wife wears the correct size or wrinkles will occur…..also girls have worn stockings with the welt turned over if a larger size is worn. In the U.K. stockings ‘turned to tights’ in 1968, I was 18 at the time but had seen enough in time, thank the Lord, all my girlfriends wore their pants/knickers over their suspender belt and never underneath!

Why oh why do men love stockings?

Firstly my husband asked me to post something here so I want to know why is there a fixation on stockings by what seems like all the male population?

– Well it’s not a case of men loving stockings it’s a case of men loving the person who’s in the stockings, and loving them because they are taking the time to be healthy and feminine at the same time. I mean really who wears pantyhose nowadays? Only fools and some men. Just take some time away from it all to think about it and I know you will see the reasoning behind these words. If you still don’t understand then I will be glad to enlighten you.

– Well Tracey, I am a stocking lover, and I can’t think of ANYTHING sexier than a woman in stockings and a garter (suspender) belt! They do a number of things really. They accentuate the leg beautifully, for a start. That in itself is worth everything. Not just the leg but the thigh also. They frame other areas. They finish up so nicely on the thigh making one want to run one’s hands up and down the leg! They are really the crowning touch!

There is nothing like getting a glance of an upper thigh clad in a stocking top! Try wearing a skirt sometime that has either a slit that shows them off or is short enough to show the stocking top if you when you want someone to see them. Go out on the town with your S/O and give him a glimpse and see what happens! Considering how little effort it takes to wear them and how much your S/O gets from the experience, why wouldn’t you wear them?!

– Gosh – that’s difficult and there are a whole lot of jumbled reasons. Innova has part of it but not all. For me, there is a nostalgia element – the pre-tights (or pantyhose) stockings felt so different under the hand. Then there was the excitement of reaching the stocking welt and the button – feeling the bare flesh beyond and knowing that following the strap would take me somewhere very exciting. Then there is the knowledge that my lady is available to me when she wears stockings. That does not make her a slut in the general sense – but it is something shared between us. I could go on, but hope this starter helps.

The female leg is gorgeous in nylon…and more importantly the only reason to wear stockings is to make them look even more lovely. In addition to the sexy shimmering look, the fact that you’re wearing them for no other reason then to be sexy… makes them sexy! Garter belts, sheer panties and stockings tend to frame and lead one’s gaze to the ultimate goal of female mystery. Always more exciting when partially covered and decorated. Look at yourself naked and then wearing lingerie. Which is more enticing? And the attitude required to wear lingerie well is, to most males, irresistible.

Why the stigma?

Why is there such a stigma attached to women wearing stockings in the ’90s and beyond? After all, women have been wearing stockings far longer than pantyhose, and before they were even thought of.

Tell me: would you walk down a busy street or shopping centre with a nylon bag over your head? Of course not because you wouldn’t be able to breathe. Well that’s exactly what happens when you don pantyhose or tights – the most delicate part of the body cannot breathe, and doing this day in day out could lead to long-term medical problems.

A quote from Givenchy sums up how a lot of people feel about the subject: “Pantyhose are the symbol of laziness in women today”.

I’m close to losing it when I see women in warm fleecy track pants and tights. What is wrong with these silly women? Imagine the heat being generated in the nether regions and how wet they will get: the perfect environment for the old faithful thrush, tricomonas and clamydia. How wonderful for unsuspecting visitors!

It is also evident from some TV ads that the manufacturers of tights (pantyhose) are acting in complicity with some of the drug companies that make these creams for “feminine itching”. If there were no pantyhose there would be little or no use for these remedies as there would be little or no feminine itching to relieve! Correct? So the manufacturers of the two products go hand in hand – without sales of one there would be no sales of the other. And it’s only since the advent of tights that feminine itching or associated infections ever needed to be advertised as needing attention in the form of creams or the like!

Further to my two previous outbursts yet another issue has been on my mind: how many women have to wear “panty liners” and why? Before pantyhose there was no such thing as panty liners you didn’t need them. The women who wear stockings don’t need them or buy them. This is just another example of one manufacturer walking hand in hand with the other.

Why do parents of young and not so young girls find it necessary to encourage them at such an early age to have to sit in a classroom or run about or some other activity while half their body is encased in nylon? Why do they see it as a must? It is not! And never will be. What they don’t realize is the harm they are doing to the child, indirectly as a result of this action. There should be an awareness program for the children outlining the pitfalls and the reasons behind them. I think parents are under a misguided premise that wearing pantyhose from such an early age will protect them in some way. But what against I really don’t know.

Is there a place for white stockings?

“Is wearing white pantyhose or stockings for everyday completely out of style or is it still acceptable? My boyfriend loves it when I wear white nylons for him. Can I please have some feedback?”

“I think it depends a lot on the wearer and the outfit. Solid legs encased in plain white don’t always look their best.”

“Back in the ’80s an ex girlfriend of mine sometimes wore cream Charnos stretch FF’s with, I think, a pale blue or pink outfit, maybe both with cream high heels. I also remember being bowled over by a lady wearing a white hat, blue and white dress and cream or pale beige FF’s with pale seams at a garden party. And a very smart woman around 60 wearing a navy blue suit with very pale FF’s with brown seams and navy high heels.”

“I wear a creamy (off white) colour quite frequently. It goes well with either dark or light coloured skirts, and sits well on all skin shades. These neutral coloured stockings blend in well, and I find them quite appealing. Try it with a darker skirt and black shoes, the effect will be very complimentary.”

“White is a pure colour. Technically black is absent of any colour but that is only in print, to the eye (as in theatrical lighting), white is used to light without distracting. The brain sees white against colours and perceives greater contrast than say a light blue against a darker blue. The greater the contrast the greater the stimuli.

“Black stockings look best against paler skin than they do against a tan skin or a skin of a lady of colour. Therefore, white stockings look the best against a colour. That’s my theory based on 32 years of lighting and set design and I’m sticking to it!”

“I can’t comment on what it is about white stockings that do it for a guy – maybe it’s some sort of fantasy of virginal debauchery – LOL! I know for me, I don’t particularly care for white stockings, as they are not kind to those of us with shapely legs. I find that they can make my legs appear thicker.”

“I have to agree with your boyfriend – white can be very sexy – possibly my favourite. I suggest very sheer, creamy white, allowing skin tones to show through, lace tops best. I suppose it’s because they look so delicate and quite unusual. What about wearing them with a longish skirt and boots? Not much to see then, but you and your boyfriend would both know what is underneath!”

Stockings: the hosiery equivalent of vinyl

“For many years I have been a fan of high-fidelity, simply because I am a music lover. What has this to do with stockings, you ask? Read on… and no, it’s nothing about stuffing FFs in the rear ports of your speakers.

“Up until say 1983, EVERY hi-fi nut owned a turntable, and then CDs came in. Record companies immediately began to wind down vinyl LP production and release their catalogue on CDs. The press predicted turntables would be dead in two years!

“Read a hi-fi mag now. It’s full of exotic turntables, sources of vinyl records, etc. While Mr Average uses a CD, true aficionados cling to their turntables, and many companies have been forced to release NEW record players. The general perception is that at the normal ‘music center’ end, CDs are best, but when one gets into an esoteric territory, analogue reproduction still rules.

“So can you see a parallel? In 1950 ALL women, from the hot-dog salesgirl to the Duchess wore stockings. Today the hot dog girl goes barelegged, but stockings are the preserve of the ‘special woman’, either because she is an aristocrat, or a woman of normal aspirations who possesses taste and discrimination. Rather than being a normal item of clothing like shoes, sweaters or knickers, stockings have become esoteric, and this is giving them a new lease of life! Hats, girdles and high heels are following a similar path. So don’t despair… stockings haven’t, and never will, vanish. They’ve just become more special!”

“There are two fatal flaws in this argument: (i) those who loved and mourned the demise of vinyl and the turntable in the 1980s kept their vinyl records and cherished them; stockings are not so durable – they are a disposable consumer good with a relatively brief service life. (ii) The music recording industry and the consumer electronics industry were both around to facilitate the (very, very modest) gramophone revival of which the earlier correspondent speaks. It is highly unlikely that the hosiery industry as we understand it today will last much longer.

“As the revolution (not too strong a word) continues in women’s dress, hosiery makers will either collapse or enter new markets instead. I would like to remind this august board that ‘hosiery’ also means ‘socks’. That, I suspect, is where the real and sustainable growth markets lie. Should some nostalgic fashion house attempt, circa 2020, to reintroduce the classic ’40s/’50s look, it will not be with stockings, for the machines to make them will long have been scrapped, or even tights. I am sorry to sound so pessimistic, but that is my heartfelt and considered opinion. I can only hope for some kind of miracle to reverse the irreversible, even at this late hour. God only knows what that could be.”

“Everyone said CDs would wipe out vinyl. Now vinyl sales are actually growing at an astonishing rate, not only in the dance scene but also from commercial bands – due to the fact that CDs have no warmth or character.

“I think all this talk about nylons disappearing is just panic talk. There will always be a demand, although it will be a minority market with manufacturers who care about what they’re doing (Pretty Polly lost my custom when they discontinued their seamed nylons so I’m not concerned about them!)

“By the way, PP never really were that serious about stockings – it always pissed me off that the packaging on their seamed nylons mentioned a ‘cuban’ heel when the stockings had a ‘point’ heel.”

“I don’t want to have a true parallel involving stockings, because then that would mean that hardly any woman would be wearing stockings. There truly are very few vinyl junkies and only obscure independent shops selling vinyl; can you imagine the same with stockings? It would be IMPOSSIBLE to ask/cajole your beloved to wear stockings because it would be that much harder to just FIND them!”

“Wow, I never realized my hi-fi/stocking comparison would attract so much interest! I do accept the point that it is not a perfect analogy, for the reasons pointed out above. However, I hold to my original point, that fashion is very much ‘circular’… skirt lengths are a good example. The mini has died and come back more times than Dracula!

“Right at the moment we are in a time of low popularity for hosiery in general, but like all things, stockings come and go. The advantage for stocking lovers as opposed to, say, glove-lovers or mini-skirt lovers is that even when ‘out of trend’ you can still see hosiery, simply because many women are FORCED to wear it, for their jobs, etc. And many of those women wear proper stockings, simply because they have less disadvantages than pantyhose.

“There ARE reasons for seeing less of ‘the garments’ today than previously. The popularity of slacks and pants is one, the reaction against formal dress another (these fashions too go in circles I find), and there is another reason specifically relating to stockings:

“Simply, (and this IS my area of expertise) they are getting harder to detect. If twenty women pass you, all with knee-length or longer skirts, all wearing hosiery, how are you to KNOW they aren’t wearing stockings and suspenders? In days past, the stockings would slip down and you might see the welts, or they would wrinkle in a certain way, or even (joy of joys) the suspender would come adrift and you could see the women adjusting it! Today, the better quality stockings are less detectable

“I have not kept specific figures like some, but I don’t recall ANY year when one could go to the central business district of a town and NEVER see hosiery being worn by a good percentage of the women that passed. At the moment, the proportion of bare legged women is higher… but go to any ‘swish’ function, or even stand near the door and watch, and you’ll see enough hosiery to satisfy your wildest dreams.

“Essentially, if you want to feast your eyes on nylon covered legs, walking round a shopping centre won’t cut it. Stockings are, and always have been, ‘formal’ dress. Instead, try sitting outside any high-class hotel in the evening, or take your sandwich lunch on a bench in the part of town where the office blocks are. This was as true 15 years ago as today!

“In the meantime, stockings have a delightful exclusivity, and those of us with stocking wearing partners, wives or girlfriends can enjoy the same delight as those that own an expensive restored vintage car, or, dare I say it, a Linn Sondek turntable!”

Do teenagers wear hosiery?

“I have noticed that apart from the 70 deniers, young girls have an aversion to wearing any form of hosiery. Are we to expect that the future generation of females are going to grow up and wear trousers and clumpy boots and deprived us female, leg-lover admirers of one of their greatest attributes?”

“I have just got back from a trip into Holland. Here, the carnival season is in full swing – in Holland the whole town was full of drunks in fancy dress costumes obviously having a good time. The place was quite mad.

“I had hoped there would be a better-than-evens chance of some girls dressed up in stockings but sadly no, I didn’t see any. As a consolation though, the Dutch girls appear to have taken to wearing sheer nude pantyhose in a big way. Lots of them dressed in miniskirts with knee-length boots; the girl who served me in McDonald’s was wearing nude tights and over-knee length black socks too – much better than the usual staff uniform!

“In a department store all the female staff except one (who was in fact a mature lady wearing opaques) were wearing sheer hose of various shades with a tendency to nude or tan. So in Holland at least, teenage girls have taken to sheer hose on their lovely legs. I recommend a city-break to a Dutch city immediately!”

“As a retailer we do see the trend of teenagers not wearing sheer hosiery. So with that in mind we recently started to have open evenings in our shops directed at teenagers and young ladies, to bring them in and let them find out what else is available other than opaques and to introduce them to the world of fashion hosiery.

“We have found that many of the young ladies were not really even aware that sheer hosiery was available and what it was all about, let alone it being a fashion garment. In general we have found that around 65% of the young ladies convert to sheer fashion hosiery after the visit. So things might be looking up for the future.”

“Can’t say I agree here. Naturally, young women won’t wear anything ‘conservative’… it’s only right that they want their own music, culture and fashion. Piercings, Docs, wool tights, tattoos, etc, are things their parents DON’T wear, and are by definition ‘cool’.

“But there are a number of other factors at work here. To begin with, it is an established fact that everything comes ‘full circle’… look at the upsurge in interest in vinyl records (read any hi-fi mag), old movies or old cars. In a few years, boots and piercings and tattoos will be old fashioned – and hosiery will be right back in. You don’t believe me? You surely don’t think ‘granny print’ dresses, long dresses or boots are a new innovation do you?

“Also there are those wonderful leaders of fashion, the Goths. Of course, a young Goth right now will as like as not be wearing ripped hose, weird jewellery and black lipstick – but as the Goths in their 20s get into their mid thirties… and the first wave are about there… we will see a new wave of ‘conservative’ Goth fashion. Lace, gloves, maybe even girdles. And FFs and RHTs naturally. Don’t give up hope!

“Then of course, there’s the fact that few women, even out and out stocking lovers, wear hose for casual dress. Too hot, uncomfortable and bothersome. But in business dress, especially when they reach the ‘higher echelons’ such things become an unwritten law. Of course there’s no exact rule – but go too often barelegged to a board meeting and you’ll pretty soon hit that ‘glass ceiling’. Whether this is politically desirable or not is a question outside of this discussion – but remember guys have to wear suits and ties too.

“Another factor is what I call the ‘attention’ syndrome. Learn a new word – say ‘pontification’ and all of a sudden, you see the word everywhere. This might be because of what Carl Gustav Jung called ‘synchronicity’ – meaningful coincidence – but it could also be the word was there all the time and you never noticed it. Start thinking stockings, and you’ll see a lot more, folks.”

“This is a particularly worrying trend. Teenagers in 2001 show no sign whatsoever of adopting hosiery, except, as you say, opaque 70 denier tights when they are forced to appear ‘formal’. I recently attended a funeral, where, of the women present, only those well over thirty wore any kind of hosiery. As I work in a very big office, with a high percentage of female staff, I can confirm that for a female colleague under forty to wear hosiery to work is very rare indeed. Not remarkable, you understand, or unusual, but actually a rarity. It is the same in the streets where I take a stroll at lunchtimes. I suspect that for us, the game is up and that hosiery, in its traditional sense is already finished, though it might take a decade or two to vanish entirely. Stockings are already almost extinct in Britain, Australasia, Europe and North America – hence the ripples of excitement on this forum whenever someone reports a sighting. Now, even the so-called ‘convenience’ of tights is apparently too much effort for younger women. I suspect that hosiery per se will be reduced to the level of, say, fountain-pen usage – a pleasure to see, but virtually extinct. It is very depressing. Still, cheer up, think of the sophistication, elegance and erotic allure of heavy, thick-soled combat boots, ill-fitting leggings, black trousers and tracksuit bottoms. God help us all.”

“I live close to central London, and work in the City. Apart from the few women who wear trousers, I would say 99.9% of those wearing skirts or dresses are also wearing hosiery of one sort or another. True, being Winter, a fair amount of them are opaques, but even in the cold weather we have now, I’d say at least 50 to 60% of them are wearing sheer hosiery.

“I am talking of women of all sorts, ranging from professional women (lawyers, businesswomen etc) right through to girls working as secretaries and shop assistants etc. Bare legs in London in winter are virtually unseen.

“As for the summer, although some might brave bare legs, I would still say that 75% or more were wearing hosiery last summer, even on the hottest days. So, as far as London is concerned, I don’t think things are as bad as you have described (yet!).”