The psychology of stockings

Stockings and heelsMatthew’s whole complex persona centred around the unquenchable quest for the stocking. Shocking? (Easy pun. Sorry, couldn’t resist it) Not really – many men have fantasies about girlfriends in stockings and suspenders. It’s just that Matthew thought about very little else. He was, as I stated long ago, completely obsessed.

We also ought to spend a minute or two looking at the situation from Matthew’s point of view. You see, there are other elements in this equation, and each has its part to play. And those elements are tights, shoes, hemlines, trousers (God forbid), tights again, denier, Lycra, hold-ups, colour, summer, pop socks, and even ankles. With so much to blend into a perfect whole it’s hardly surprising it had become a life’s work.

Tights were the real killer, for a connoisseur like Matthew. On the lower leg they looked the same and yet they were not the same. And that, from Matthew’s perspective qualified as the first most frustrating thing in the world. Consequently it would be fair to clarify Matthew’s position as being the quest for the stocking top. Not, you understand, because he wanted to look up ladies’ skirts (he was far too polite, and too much of a gentleman for that). But because it was only with a glimpse of the stocking top (perhaps when the wearer would sit down, and her short skirt would ride up that tempting inch, showing a fraction of lace or – the ecstasy! – a suspender) that he could have unarguable proof that stockings were on the agenda.
Now, take a step back. What was the secret of the stocking, and why did it hold so much power? Was it, perhaps, the inherent femininity? Was it, as Matthew would enthusiastically describe, the delightful shadow it gave to the calf as the nylon hugged itself around? The delightful “swish-swish” of stocking-clad thighs? Was it a fascination with clothing that Matthew, as a man, was denied? Maybe, on a baser level, it was years of conditioning, from looking at pornography, and the association of stockings with sex. Maybe it was all of these, (and sex certainly creeps in there somewhere along the line) but maybe, for Matthew it was none.
Tights, then. Big problem. Not sexy. Matthew of course, enjoyed looking at legs in tights, until, paradoxically, he knew that he was looking at legs in tights. If the wearer should sit down and show an expanse of thigh, but not reveal even a hint of a top (technically called a welt, I believe, but that sounds like the after-effects of a good, stern whipping session, and bondage has no part to play here), he could be heard to give an audible sigh of frustration. Hopes built high were cruelly dashed on the rocks of Cape Gusset. Matthew’s eyes would move on. You see, he fundamentally didn’t understand why women wore tights. If you ladder one you have to replace the pair, you have to take them off when you need the toilet, and the proximity of nylon to such a sensitive area, could not, he assumed, be good for your health. Above all though, tights were despised because they were the enemy, and an enemy with a majority rule.
Matthew saw his role as a vigilante – a mercenary in the tights versus stockings war. And it was a war, no doubt about that. Complete with casualties. His crusade had had notable successes. You no doubt remember, early in 1999 (around the time of the genetically modified food scare) how there was a health warning about how tights could cause “feminine itching” and make women infertile while fresh air to the genitals (pants permitted) could help prevent all sorts of nasties like tuberculosis and cancer? That was one of Matthew’s. Dreamt up in his office back in adland, backed by spurious research from a fictitious healthcare company, and covered by all of the major broadcasters and the press. A simple idea, but devastatingly effective and yet still there was a lot to do. If you had been standing in the queue that day in the airport, you may have been able to catch a glimpse of an article entitled “Why New Women are returning to suspenders” in the magazine in Matthew’s grip. He had written it six weeks earlier – one of his many contributions as freelance fashion correspondent Marcel Bellamy. A charade, but seemingly a remarkable – and he hoped, influential – success.
Back to the list: shoes. A very important factor. Matthew was conventional in this respect. Heels were good, stilettos the best, and black suede court stilettos best of all. (For stilettos you could substitute other heels of a similarly tottering nature, although nothing too clumpy please.) Ankle boots were okay, but espadrilles were most definitely not. “Sensible” shoes (that great contradiction – what, after all, as Matthew often reasoned, was “sensible” about footwear designed solely (another pun!) to cool the ardour of a gender?) were likely to gain instant rejection. But remember that Matthew was not a foot fetishist, and even the most perfect pair of shoes (and by perfect we mean high enough to give shape to the leg, smart enough to demand legwear of some description) could be ruined if the rest of the equation was wrong.
Hemlines. Vital again. Remember, Matthew was not a pervert in the classic sense, and he had no real desire to see up a skirt or to know the colour of a lady’s underwear. But hemlines were crucial because if too long, he would never catch a glimpse of the “top”, and if too short, the wearer would sacrifice stockings at the grim altar of decency. Mini skirts were okay in the bedroom, where tartiness could be encouraged, but he knew well enough, that women were unlikely to want the attention fostered by wearing stockings and a mini in the street. And who could blame them when so many men less sensitive than Matthew were around to make unsophisticated leers of lust?
Trousers (God forbid). Another big enemy, right up there alongside the massed regiments of the army Tight. Women, he knew, were unlikely to wear stockings with trousers, and even though there was always a chance, a glimpse of nylon-clad ankle was rarely enough, on its own, to raise either his pulse or his expectations.
Tights again. Before moving onto the exotica of Denier (a word right up there with Aristoc) it’s actually worth reconsidering the position of tights. “So soon?” you cry. “Haven’t we just dismissed them?” Well, yes, but it’s not exactly as cut and dry as I may have led you to believe. Matthew thought tights were okay under one very specific circumstance: when they offered the only practical alternative to bare legs or trousers. And obviously only as long as the wearer went for those suspender tights you get in Sock Shop and the like, and when the woman concerned would choose stockings whenever she possibly could. He couldn’t think when such a circumstance would ever arise, but the get-out clause was there just in case.
Denier. Matthew, you have to remember, was first and foremost a man. The murky world of denier is not a man’s domain. If you ever find yourself being chatted up on the Internet by somebody who claims to be a woman, ask her the denier of her hosiery. It is a question guaranteed to sort out real women from the wannabes. How, then, was he to know the difference between seven and 10, or even between 15 and 20? Of course he knew what he liked – and had worked out that, in general, the lower the number the better. Opacity was not a property to admire. But having said that, he actually liked dark, black, stockings, and had to admit that the finest mesh could not contain that much tone alone. He assumed (with the benefit of some of his own experimentation in the field) that 10 denier would be pretty much the ticket but he was not sure, and it was a constant source of frustration.
Lycra. Another lady word. Lycra, he had decided, was probably a good thing from a stretch point of view, but was it the Lycra that was responsible for the beautiful sheen on some legs that was so depressingly absent from others? The problem, you see, was that questions had to remain unasked. In keeping his obsession a private affair (and always sensitive not to appear a pervert or give women cause for alarm) he was unable to approach people on the train and ask them outright about brand, finish, Lycra, and of course the denier. He was learning, of course. The Marcel Bellamy disguise gave him some license to explore the subject, but nevertheless, the direct approach was out.
Hold-ups. A curiosity. Matthew liked hold-ups, but they did not hold quite the some frisson of excitement as their more refined cousin, the stocking proper. Part of the stocking’s appeal lay, quite naturally, in the suspender belt, and obviously hold-ups denied these their purpose. Yet hold-ups were infinitely better than tights. They could still look stylish and sexy. Okay, so there was something missing (and he could never quite come to terms with the lack of suspenders), but if stockings were unavailable, hold-ups would do just nicely.
Colour. A personal matter. You have to understand that even the most unflattering colour could be overlooked, but Matthew did have his favourites. Black, obviously, for general purpose wear – the classic combination of smart and sexy. Nearly black? (Or even barely black?) He was not quite sure about those. (Hey girls, why not go the whole hog? You’ve already made it this far!) Blue – the least favourite perhaps, but it depended on the shade. White: yes! The virginal look was a guaranteed winner. Red: perhaps in the bedroom but not really during the day. Nude, or any of those other skin-type shades (Honey? Mink?): a good result, Matthew decided, on the basis that the wearer was obviously the secretive type, but that was okay with him. Within the realm of colour came the welt – or top – itself: lace tops were obviously the best, and if the lace contained the initial of the manufacturer (the intertwined PP now sadly dropped by Pretty Polly or an elegant A for Aristoc) then so much the better. Plain tops were less exciting, but he understood that they were also less expensive, and so they could happily be forgiven. Either way, the welt had to be reasonably deep for maximum appeal.

As you may have realised by now, fishnets did not enter the equation. They were okay in their own particular way, but just too obvious for a man of Matthew’s sophisticated taste.

Back to the list. Next comes Summer. This was a bad season as it gave women an excuse to go round with bare legs. He understood why. Tights must be uncomfortable in all that heat, but in that case why not switch to stockings? His hit rate of sightings went down dramatically during the summer months, and he welcomed autumn like an old friend.

Pop socks aka knee highs. For heaven’s sake, why? If anything looked less sexy than tights or the bare leg, it had to be the pop sock. Pop socks were for old people, and they had no part to play in Matthew’s obsession. But the fact that the great hosiery factories could turn out pop socks on lines not unadjacent to the ultimate lace top stocking perplexed him on many a lonely night.

Ankles. The final factor. If all else was right, the ultimate high came from a finely turned ankle. The ankle, perhaps, has a lesser role in this narrative than Lycra, say, or the hemline. But a good ankle was the final factor that could make Matthew fall in love.

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.

Wearing stockings on an everyday basis

reggicalze_in_macchinaI had a big discussion with some lady friends of mine that wear stockings only on specific occasions (such as a sexy night out). They told me that they wear them to arouse their boy friends or husbands with the purpose of having sex. I totally disagree; I find it much more interesting and arousing, that a woman wears stockings on an everyday basis. The fact that a woman wears stockings and suspenders just because she thinks that she might have sex that evening is a turn off.

– I wear stockings or hold-ups every time I wear a skirt or dress. I have been wearing stockings since I was about 16 or so as tights did not agree with me. These days I tend to wear more hold-ups than “real” stockings, but I still wear “real” stockings maybe 3/4 times a month.

– I wear stockings on a everyday basis. On special occasions I wear black fully fashioned by Gerbe and I have not even thought about wearing tights. By the way, I am 39 years young, and my husband loves it even more than I do. Seeing me in stockings that is.

– I don’t wear stockings every day but I do wear either stockings or hold ups every time that I go out, even if it is just shopping. I would feel naked if I wasn’t wearing any hosiery and I don’t like tights. So you could say that, relatively speaking at least, I always wear stockings.

Stockings are just a normal bit of clothing that I wear, they just replaced tights.

The stockings versus tights war: battle two

Sexy TightsI have yet to see a pair of pantyhose that can match the sheen, lustre, and overall raw sexiness of a pair of well crafted stockings. The basis of nylon’s attractiveness is based on multisensory appeal…I feel that visually and tactilely pantyhose lack the impact that stockings possess. Even the sheerest of pantyhose lack the denier and gauge that gives stockings their superior appeal.

There is nothing more sensual than a beautiful woman adorned in nylon stockings and a garter belt. Being a Scot residing in Australia, I would compare the introduction of pantyhose to no longer being able to purchase square sausage. Both these events can easily be referred to as ‘tragedies’. I am 53-years old and feel privileged to have spent my courting years around such sexily presented girls in the sixties and early seventies.

You must understand the absolute pleasure of seeing a peek of stocking top revealed from beneath a woman’s skirt. The scenarios are plenty and everyday – getting in and out of cars, bending over a desk in the office, crossing legs on a train, sat on a barstool in the pub. Most men would not only notice a woman in a short skirt with sheer hosiery, but would look to see if they were stockings. The tell tale bumps further up the skirt is often another good indicator. These are the things that make the world go round, that make life worth living!

I have a partner of a number of years who finds the wearing of pantyhose preferable to that of stockings. This is for a number of reasons: she feels that they are more flattering, keeping unsightly bulges safely hidden away. She will occasionally wear stockings for me because that is what excites me most. However as for myself I find them the biggest turn off imaginable. There is absolutely no eroticism associated with pantyhose, absolutely no glamour associated with them. I cannot think of anything so tedious as a woman in bra, pants and pantyhose.

Never mind condoms, the pill, etc. the biggest contraceptive just has to be the pantyhose.

I remember the frustration I experienced as a young man, running my hand up the leg of the girl of the moment only to find a nylon gusset at the top and the disappointment I felt at the time. It is a fact that I would have experienced sexual intercourse more often had it not been for girl’s pantyhose.

Stockings (and for me in particular lace holdups) are in every way superior than those articles of the devil, the pantyhose. I have seen women coming down stairs on the London underground showing the lace top of her stockings and it has added that extra boost throughout the day. Pantyhose would not do this. Just the thought of running my hand up the leg of a ladies leg to find the top of stockings would increase my heart rate. Pantyhose would not do this. I have seen women remove pantyhose and remove stockings and every time I find stockings far more sensuous.

Stockings are the sexiest attire ever invented, the glimpse, feel and removing of which are the biggest guaranteed turn-ons. Tights are quite possibly the least sexiest thing ever invented; passion killing, fun stopping, turn offs.

I have never met a man that favoured pantyhose over nylon stockings (hold up or suspender-garterbelt type) in today’s society from the USA to Europe and all the islands. Stockings are making a greater comeback than the euro did for the dollar.

Since the invention of silk stockings men and woman have been intrigued with their allure. This pace slowed down on the introduction of pantyhose. I believe it was a quick fix for the fast paced business woman until lingerie from decades ago became very vogue. We now have a stocking frenzy…

The stockings versus tights war: battle one

StockingsWe are talking sex-appeal, right? In that case there is no doubt that seeing a beautiful ‘stockinged’ leg can be very sexy. The more leg the sexier. And pantyhose may facilitate such a sight. But that is where the matter ends, in more senses than one.

Surely no-one can successfully argue that the top of a pair of pantyhose has any sort of appeal, visual or sexual? The construction of this part of the garment is necessarily workaday and utilitarian in the extreme. There neither is nor can be any aesthetic attached to it.

Stockings, on the other hand, whether attached to suspenders or stay-ups, have infinite charm and variety from toe to top. They release the imagination rather than confine it. If, for a moment, one imagines a situation of intimacy, then the sight of a stocking top coming into view not only sets the heart and pulse racing, but indicates that that there will be no ungainly interference with greater intimacy.

As I see it the stocking is far preferable to tights for a number of reasons. Firstly, we have the effect of tights of imposing a barrier, they repel. Stockings on the other hand pose no barrier and invite. Secondly, the contrast between the flesh of the thigh and the stocking is alluring, the uniformity of the leg in tights is neither attractive nor unattractive it is neutral and therefore by definition bland suggesting that the wearer may be also. Finally, in the throes of passion, in those precious moments before consummation of a love act, the removal of stockings (if required) can be erotic, the removal of tights is closer to comedic performance.

As a commonly discussed subject amongst my friends (we are all well adjusted professional men in our twenties), we all love to see our wives/girlfriends in stockings. It is difficult to explain why but they have an attraction, an allure and this all makes them incredibly sexy.

I managed an M&S store and in all my time there, most men bought stockings for their partners or hold ups, particularly around Valentines day. A purchase of tights was very uncommon! Men who prefer tights are in the minority and are missing out and are frankly worrying individuals!

There is ABSOLUTELY no comparison. A beautiful woman in thigh high stockings is absolutely the most erotic sight one can view, while one in pantyhose (tights) may remain beautiful they don’t have the erotic equality what-so-ever.

To begin with, aesthetics: an otherwise-nude female in stockings and (hopefully) heels, is a walking billboard for ‘I’m naked, I’m available… and I want to look my best for you.’ Her femininity is there and available. On the other hand, a woman wearing pantyhose – whether with heels or not – is featuring a center of attention that looks a great deal like Bill the Cat thrown with great force against a screen door.

If you line up nine gorgeous women wearing pantyhose and one that was average in looks wearing stockings, told them all to sit in a chair and cross their legs, let their skirts ride high so you can just see the stocking tops on the one wearing stockings, then led me into the room and told me to pick one… guess which one I would pick?

I just asked the three girls I live with and we are all in total agreement. None of us like pantyhose and for many reasons, one being that it’s very unhealthy and another because they are ugly and irritating under a dress or skirt. All of us have worn pantyhose at one time or another and all of us have vowed to never do it again. Stockings and suspender belts are where it’s at, both for overall erotic appeal and for comfort of wear.

Men know the truth. If you can catch a woman with stockings or thigh highs on, look to see how many men are there, trying to steal a glance! This does not occur with nearly the same frequency when women are wearing tights (pantyhose).

Take two photos of the same model in the same classy environment, one wearing nothing but black pantyhose the other wearing nothing but black stockings and garters, then ask ten regular guys which photo they prefer and… I WIN… Stocking, Stocking, Stocking!

What is sexy about the top part of pantyhose? To be honest I find it a turn off to see a woman put on (or off) a pantyhose. If she does the same with a pair of stockings I find it very much a turn on and it adds a very nice accent to her femininity.

“Garter belt” pantyhose: atrocity?

lack-Garter-Belt-Look-Pantyhose-large– I was shopping for stockings yesterday and the salesperson offered me a pair of “garter belt” pantyhose which I’d never seen before. I’m sure most of you are familiar with these. They are open, one-piece pantyhose which, when they’re on, sort of take on the appearance of stockings and a garter belt. I put the emphasis on SORT OF. The salesperson was actually wearing a pair and lifted her skirt to show me. She tried to sell me the idea that they had the best qualities of both stockings and pantyhose such as comfort, ease of putting on and off, simplicity when going to the bathroom, etc. She failed to mention how unsexy they look! I passed and bought REAL stockings! Has anyone ever worn these atrocities?

– Before I got a PC, I always had a hard time finding real stockings here in Kansas, the heart of the Bible Belt. I used to buy those things and cut the “garters” off and just use the stocking part with my own garter belts. Not very silky or sexy but it worked. Thank God for the net!

– I particularly find suspender stockings (as we call them in the UK) very sexy. Why has it all to be just plain nylon stockings? There’s a whole world out there of sexy and nice hosiery to discover, guys. If look at it under a different light, you’ll see that hold-ups, and suspender tights can be as sexy as stockings. It all depends on the lady who’s wearing them… 🙂

On the other hand, I must admit I DO hate tights, as they are the symbol of anti-feminism and bad taste, let alone the practical side of it. A pair of nice legs must always be complimented by a pair of nice stockings, hold-ups or suspender tights.

– I agree on this one folks. My girlfriend wears these sometimes and it drives me wild. But I would still prefer a garterbelt and stockings any day because you can’t beat the sexiness of watching a lady put on or take off stockings, or better yet, taking them off yourself.

I also find them sexy. They are a nice substitute for the “real thing” and some women prefer them. So instead of trying to push the real thing on them, I’d be happy to accept this substitute… suspender tights or garterhose or whatever you want to call them, they’re simply not as evil as pantyhose as people here seem to think they are! Anyway, just my opinion 🙂

Difference Between Tights and Pantyhose

Difference Between Tights and Pantyhose
By George McGonigal

Most people believe that pantyhose and tights are in fact the same thing. Actually they are different things. They are very similar but there are some very minor differences. Both pantyhose and tights are types of hosiery which cover the whole leg. They start at the waist and have closed feet. These both normally have a thicker toe for durability unless you choose specific types without this. Both types are normally made from nylon and normally have Lycra added. These are available in many different deniers or thicknesses.

Pantyhose

Pantyhose is an American term which is slightly different to tights. The gussets on these are normally much thicker which means they can be worn without the need for extra underwear. This is why they are named after panties. They are in fact a combination of underwear and tights.

Tights

The original purpose of tights was to create a close fitting material for horseback riding. They have changed a lot over the years and modern day tights are fantastic. They are used by millions of women all around the world for fashion and various other reasons. These are still very tight and this is after all why they are called tights.

Tights and pantyhose are both used for many different things. There are some outfits which require it and they are very useful to even out skin tone. Tights can cover up your legs while still being able to wear short skirts or dresses. Tights are preferable during the summer because they can give your legs a lovely sun kissed look. These are ideal because they give your legs some protection from the harsh cold winter months.

Differences

The main differences between pantyhose and tights is simply the thickness. The thickness of both are measured in denier. The denier is the density of the weave, the higher the number, the thicker the tights. Anything around 40 denier is normally regarded as pantyhose, anything higher are normally known as tights. At least this is the difference in America.

In England however things are a little easier. Pantyhose is very rarely used with almost all deniers being referred to as tights. Pantyhose and tights are extremely similar and both do pretty much the same job. These can be used in the same applications and are just as delicate as one another. Both of these can ladder if they are not treated carefully. Generally pantyhose is a term that's used only in America.

George is the Webmaster of various UK sites dedicated to giving UK residents maximum online choice for all types of ladies hosiery. Why not visit Tights to compare a huge range of products today.

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