As promised, I bring to you the second installment of my stockings series. Part three will be a fun little make do and mend project, so be sure to subscribe to my diary so you don’t miss a thing! We’ve already discussed the who’-its and what’s-its of stockings, now it’s time to discuss wear and care. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the questions an feedback I’ve gotten here and on social media. If you have a question or a topic you’d like to see me cover, drop me a line!
Now, I’m not one for hard-line fashion rules such as “no white after Labor Day, shoes and purse must match” and all that, but I will agree that most “rules” do have a purpose. While taking fashion risks can be fun and exciting, one must always beware of how small detail can affect the overall look of an outfit. So, here are my “Top Five Rules”, if you will, in regard to the wearing of stockings:
Rule #1: When wearing seamed stockings, your skirt’s hemline should fall below the knee (mid-calf is best). A seam traveling up the back of your stems draws the eye in the same direction. There is enough suggestion and sex appeal in that alone to set the world on fire! Adding a miniskirt to the equation cheapens the look. *The exception is in the case of a flirty costume… think French Maid or Cigarette Girl.
|Showing just enough leg & seam without showing one’s girlie bits!
Rule #2: Opaque toes are appropriate for closed toe shoes, sheer toes for open style shoes. Opaque, as in can’t see your toes and the color of your polish through the material. Stockings with a reinforced toe sheer enough to see the toes through the material are perfectly appropriate for open toe shoes or even strappy sandal types. Some exceptions can be brightly colored opaque tights with contrasting open toe shoes. Use your best judgment and pay attention to the overall look.
Rule #3: Don’t wear flats with your seamed stockings. Rarely have I ever seen flats and seams worn together well. Remember, the idea of a seam is to draw the eye up, elongating the leg. Flats do the opposite of this. It doesn’t take much of a heel to give your seams the boost they need. A one inch kitten heel can be just enough to do the job.
Rule #4: Be era appropriate. Now, I’m not suggesting you must be historically accurate. It’s just that some of the best pieces in your wardrobe won’t always work together. If you are wearing a 60s inspired scooter dress, then choose stockings without a seam or better yet, coordinating tights.
Rule #5: When wearing fully fashioned stockings, pay attention to fit. Stockings too large will sag, and too small with be uncomfortable and run easily. It is also worth noting that even the best fitting full fashioned stockings will being to sag at some point. Because they are sans elastic, wear will stretch them out. If you’re going to wear stockings all day, either opt for reproduction stockings with a mock seam (and lots of stretch) or bring a fresh pair to change into when your first pair loses their shape.
Getting Them On
Because FF stockings have virtually NO stretch, putting them on requires a bit of extra care. To accomplish this, without tearing them to shreds, roll the stocking down evenly from welt to toe and then unroll them over your (slightly bent) getaway sticks. Be sure to check that the seams are straight. If they are not, roll the stocking down and start anew. Do not, for heaven’s sake, try to pull them straight while wearing them! You’ll put your thumb right through, especially with vintage stockings! Attach your garters (or suspenders, depending on what side of the pond you reside) not more than halfway down the welt. Fasten the garters where they fall naturally when not holding your stockings. If they are clasped too far forward or back they will twist the stockings (making for a crooked seam) or ruin them all together. We’ll talk more about garter/suspender belts in an upcoming post.
Now that you know how to wear your stockings, let’s chat about how to care for them. No matter how advanced your washing machine is, your stockings will NEVER survive the ravages of said machine… not even in a lingerie bag. You must ALWAYS wash your dainties in a delicate lingerie bath.
To prepare a lingerie bath, fill your sink with hot water and a gentile lingerie detergent. Dip your stockings repeatedly until the water cools. Bear in mind that most vintage stockings will bleed dye for the first couple of washes, so be careful to only wash like colors together. Once the water cools, drain the old water and refill the sink with fresh hot water. Gently rub the stockings on the foot area only, frequently dunking them in the fresh water. Then, rinse them under cool water.
*Important Note: Before washing your stockings, remove any jewelry and be sure your nails are filed and your polish is free of chips. Nothing is worse than shelling out mucho dinero for stockings only to have them ruined by a hangnail!
I personally take my stockings into the bath with me. A bubble bath makes a lovely lingerie wash, and stockings in the tub is oh so girlie! After your stockings are rinsed, gently manipulate them back into their original shape (this keeps them wrinkle-free) and wrap them in a towel to dry.
Now, this final step is completely optional, if not a little OCD, but I so love the look of stockings fresh from their vintage packaging that I re-board them after washing. To re board your stockings, you’ll need a steam iron with a silk setting, a towel, and a hard surface to work on.
| Lay out your slightly damp stocking on a towel and carefully smooth out any wrinkles.
Be sure the seam runs up the back without any overlap which would result in unsightly creases.
|Fold the towel over the stocking.
DO NOT place the iron directly on the stocking unless you want melted stockings!
|Iron the stocking through the towel (on the silk setting).|
|I know, I’m wearing a bracelet. I should follow my own advice!|
|Once your stockings are pressed (one at a time), fold them in thirds around their cardboard form and wrap them in tissue paper or slip them into a satin lingerie pouch.|
|I always keep the original packaging from my stockings.
Not only are they fabulous storage, but I love the vintage artwork!
And there you have it. Our next and final installment of my stockings series will feature a bit of DIY fun. Now I leave you with a few more places to shop for stockings and other lovely foundation pieces.
|Calendar Art by Alberto Vargas|
|Moi, preparing for an evening with my Mr.|
Just Figures (formally Girdle Bound) has a great selection of new fully fashioned stockings and shape-wear!
Secrets in Lace is one of my all time favorite place to find vintage repro lingerie and stockings!
Ho-hose is my new favorite place for vintage FF stockings! Be sure to read the Pretty Polly articles on fully fashioned stockings… really fabulous information like don’t smoke while putting on your stockings!
What Katie Did Stockings, corsets, and all things soft and sexy! I LOVE this shop. If you’re ever in Hollywood, put WKD on your list of places to shop.
Etsy and eBay are a great place to find vintage stockings for less funds than a traditional vintage shop, but buyer beware! Not every seller knows their product and you may end up with less than you paid for.