A question of ethnicity?

Kei NishikoriWould anyone care to shed some insight on whether certain ethnicities are more inclined to wear stockings as opposed to others? I would like to hear some feedback.

– It is an issue I have been thinking of recently as I stock ‘skintone’ stockings which could seem a bit offensive to some customers. Even though 95% of my stocking customers are white I have been thinking of stocking a bitter chocolate colour as well (although this is for selfish reasons as I think they’d look great on dark skin) – I’ve got a few black and asian friends so I’ll have to find out what they do for hosiery.

– Here in OZ, the plane loads of young female Japanese tourists who come here seem to have a fixation with hosiery. I have even seen them wear ph with their bathers whilst swimming at the beaches here! In Singapore, the office and shop girls dress extremely well, with great attention paid to their hair and make-up, always with skirts/dresses and pantyhose and heels.

But the most delightful sight is in Bangkok where the office girls in lovely tight skirts, pantyhose and heels seem to be able to gracefully board and disembark the ferries on the rivers without the help of gang-planks. This involves stepping (really more of a leap) up onto the jetties, from ferries which don’t actually stop but merely slow down a bit. You can spend hours watching this and not get tired of the parade.

I’m sorry to have mentioned the dreaded ph word in this forum, but when you are a dedicated leg man and stocking watcher such as I, one has to carefully take notice of what is being worn and take the bad with the good.

– When I lived in San Fransisco and Oakland in the late ’70s and the early ’80s, it seemed that seams were the required getup for Central American, particularly Nicuraguan babes out on a date, or dressed up out with husband and the kiddies on a weekend night. I used to see Mexican and Mexican American babes all seamed up in LA and at big Tejano dances I used to go to in South Tejas during the same years. Even here in Miami I have been at the home of middle aged Latino friends and seen the wife getting all seamed up for a night at some cultural association.

Not to mention my soul sisters. I have seen some really seamy black women. In the south especially it continued I think into the 1970s as a dress up for church thing.

– Is there necessarily a rule that hosiery should match leg colour? White women wear black or dark-coloured stockings after all… I think a black woman could well look stunning in cream or white hose!

– Living in a large urban area with a huge black population I have come to the conclusion that the sexiest, most ladylike women are African-Americans. Even yesterday at the mall the most glamorous woman was a black woman in gorgeous calf-length summer dress and high-heeled sandals. Her white sisters generally looked ugly in ill-fitting tank tops, shorts and flats. There is hosiery designed for African-American women. And it’s ‘skin-toned.’ But like the ‘racist’ connotations associated with ‘skin toned’ band-aids, ‘skin-toned’ nylons are not the right shades for black women; these stockings are for dark pigmentation & some very sheer. Generally speaking the only glamour left in America is among black women. If you want to see wonderfully-dressed women, in the sexiest shows and, yes, wearing nylons, go to black concerts or nightclubs or gospel services on Sunday.

Your observations equate very well to fashion trends in Atlanta. Offices, clubs, shows, churches, and streets reflect more feminine attire among African-American women in Atlanta.

The preoccupation with black hosiery

Black StockingsOne of the things that I can’t quite figure out in the history of modern hosiery is why the colour black became so omnipresent. It began in the mid-1980s and continues without constraint to the present day. Mind you we have seen a resurgence in sheer flesh-toned nylons of late particularly for spring/summer. But black still seems to hold sway most of the time. From the 1940s through to the 80s flesh-toned or nude stockings ruled the day. Black was worn only for funerals or by old Italian women perpetually in mourning. Then black took over. Why? I have some theories – that black covers a multiude of sins (women don’t have shave their legs as much, black covers embarrassing bruises or veins, black has a slimming effect). Perhaps some women can enlighten.

– I think the three theories you mention at the end of your post are all true, particularly the one about hiding a multitude of sins. In my early 20s when I was working in high end retail, we were all required to wear either dresses or suits every day. Most of the time we wore plain black skirts and black heels, so that we could get more than one day’s worth of wear out of the skirt. I recall my reason at the time for wearing black hose was that I considered it a little more sophisticated looking – short black skirt, heels; flesh tone seemed out of place.

Also, with Boston winters, you got used to wearing black. Where I worked, black came out of the closet in September, and didn’t go back in until June.

Having switched from hose to stockings I’ve discovered that fleshtone is easier to keep, and you cannot tell where the snags are. I’ve discovered in my old age that now I actually prefer my legs in fleshtone stockings. Perhaps I’ve gained a little wisdom over the years?

– I have to agree with you. Up until 12 months ago the only skintone stockings I wore were ones with contrasting black or red seams. About 90% of my hosiery was black. I guess it was because my generation was brought up on black opaque tights. Over the past 12 months I have gradually switched to skintone (although I still wear black for a special occasion) which not only do I find very flattering, but as you say, the snags don’t show.

– I’ve noticed that there is black and then there is black when it comes to hosiery. Some blacks look bloody awful, while other blacks look okay. I think the difference is a combination of denier and the actual dye.

I think that the dark plum colour is a far more practical colour as it works with Navy, but I am not sure what goes best with a black outfit.

On Monday my wife came out ready for work wearing a black mid-calf dress, white blouse and black jacket but wearing brand new black stockings. I couldn’t help but tell her she looked like a Nun from the 1950s, so she went and changed to flesh coloured stockings, and agreed that she hadn’t tried that brand before and they belonged in the bin.

– I think most of us follow the fashion trend. On one occasion when I looked into the mirror about 18 months ago, my legs in black, did not impress me at all. Black has a strange sensation of actually making the legs appear thicker, especially around the calf area. With today’s high class fashions, a large percentage of women seem to go for a “black with everything” look. I only own two pairs of black stockings which I wear very rarely. Light shades enhance the legs, and my personal favourites are light tan and mid tan.

– Actually, if anyone is interested in my random trivia, I believe I’ve read somewhere that black stockings at one point were the cheapest colour to buy. Therefore they were the ones that many streewalkers and women of ill repute would wear.

As for the modern preoccupation with black, I agree with everything said so far, but I think there are subconscious reasons. For example, black is the colour of the night and the archetypal colour of the femme fatale. Of course, my practical reason is that I can only buy FF stockings online, and my skin colour is very difficult to match, being naturally dark, so I safely stick to black. *sigh*