Nylon Stockings Day: Our Favorite Pairs of Stockings & Where to Buy Them

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Fancy Heeled Vintage Stockings – Image Scan via Slip of a Girl

Today, May 14, is the 73rd anniversary of the nylon stocking, which was first introduced by the DuPont Company at the 1939 World’s Fair. Before nylon, stockings had been made of cotton, wool, rayon, or silk…materials which were either too bulky and warm to wear comfortably year-round or too fine and delicate to wear all day without tearing.

When I first started blogging, it was as Stockings Addict, so hosiery will always hold a special place in my heart. I love how stockings can instantly make any outfit more sophisticated, more stylish, and, yes, more sexy just by their presence. Unfortunately, stockings have been waning in popularity for years now, and you only have to look at the photo at the top of this post to see that stockings today are far less elegant than those of previous decades.

But for those who still enjoy a fancy nylon stocking, all isn’t lost. A few companies, like Cervin, still produce creative, fashion-forward styles, and the machines of today allow for combinations that could only be dreamed of in the 1960′s.

The Parts of a Fully-Fashioned Stocking

If you’re new to stockings, there may be a few terms in this post you don’t recognize, so let’s do a quick review. A Stocking (unlike pantyhose, tights, or thigh highs) requires a garter belt to keep it on the leg. RHT stands for Reinforced Heel and Toe. Fully Fashioned Stockings (like the one shown above) are made in the vintage style, sewn flat and then stitched up the back with a fully-functional backseam and trademark keyhole. Cuban and Havana Heels are squared off at the top, while French Heel stockings come to a point. Fancier styles, like Manhattan Heels, have an outline around the heel and foot. Non-stretch Stockings are more authentic as they’re made of 100% nylon, but have no “give.” Stretch Stockings, made of a nylon/lycra blend, are less authentic but more resistant to tearing.

And a few quick notes when it comes to hosiery care, especially for the stockings listed below. 1) Invest in a pair of hosiery gloves. 2) Purchase a specialty hosiery wash like Hosiery Mate. 3) And always, always, always hand wash and hang to dry.

And now that we’ve covered a few of the basics, let’s move on to the stockings…

1) Kay Marel “New York” Bows

2) Kay Marel “New York” Skyscraper

Kay Marel
No one makes stockings like Kay Marel anymore, and believe me, I’ve looked. These authentic fully-fashioned nylons from the 1950′s are almost a steal at $32.50, and the skyscraper and bow fancy heels look like something straight off the set of Mad Men. Unfortunately, if you’re not petite (that is, if you’re over 5’4″) these stockings aren’t a good fit for you. They simply won’t come up high enough on the leg. To illustrate, I’m 5’8″, and they came to just above the knee on me. Height issues aside though, these are fabulous nylons.

3) Secrets in Lace Diamond Backseam

4) Secrets in Lace “Cabaret” Manhattan Heel

5) Secrets in Lace “Bettie Page” Vintage Dot w/ Backseam

Secrets in Lace
If you’ve not heard of them before, Secrets in Lace is pretty much the resource for authentic vintage style (otherwise known as retro) stockings. These are the nylons Dita von Teese relies on for all her burlesque shows, photoshoots, and red carpet appearances. While they offer a ton of styles suitable for everyday wear, the fancy stockings shown above are my personal favorites.  All 3 pairs range from size Petite, fitting women who are under 4’11″ and less than 95 pounds, to size Opera, fitting women who are up to 6’2″and 200 pounds. The styles shown above cost (in order from top to bottom) $54.99, $45.99, and $25.99, respectively.

6) Agent Provocateur “Whip Me” Stockings

Agent Provocateur
With a kinky twist on the classic French heel-and-seam stocking, Agent Provocateur’s “Whip Me” nylons are a delightfully naughty union of vintage style and modern flair. Wear them with your highest, most fetishy heels for look that grabs everyone’s attention. These stockings retail for $70, and the size C fits around a size 8/10 US.

7) Cervin “Swing Time” Fully Fashioned Stockings

8) Cervin “Capri” 15-denier Nonstretch RHT Stockings

9) Cervin “Capri” Bicolore Nonstretch RHT Stockings

10) Cervin “Seduction” Bicolore Seamed Stockings

Cervin Stockings via Stockings HQ
I’ll just come right out and say it…I love Cervin. And apparently I’m not the only one since (full disclosure) they make stockings #3-6 on this list too. Not only are the prices incredibly reasonable, these stockings feel and look amazing on the leg. Even better, they’re available in sizes Small (fitting women around 4’10″) to XXX Large (fitting women up to 6’2″). I’ve purchased multiple pairs of what you see here in multiple colors, and never been disappointed. The stockings show above are priced at (in order from top to bottom): $56.88, $11.80, $12.61, and $17.50.

Stockingirl
Stockingirl is another fantastic hosiery resource, especially if you live in the United States, and these lacy Gabriella stockings are perfect for a holiday party or fancy evening out. These stockings are also made of stretch nylon, so they’re less likely to run and you don’t have to worry about them wrinkling around the knees or ankles by the end of the day. Available for $39.99, the Gabriellas fit women up to 5’9″ and 160 lbs.

12) Dollhouse Bettie Black Tulip Lace “Eternity” Stockings

Dollhouse Bettie
The last pair of stockings on this list aren’t especially delicate or fancy when compared to the other nylons we’ve talked about so far, but they are amazing for two other reasons. 1) They’re made in-house at Dollhouse Bettie (the only lingerie store I know of that makes it’s own stockings), and 2) They are incredibly well-made and durable. The Eternity stockings use sheer black mesh instead of traditional nylon, which makes them great for women who want to wear more hosiery, but are worried about tearing or ripping their stockings. These retail for $29 and fit up to a size US 18.

Cora

Cora

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

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15 Comments

  1. 15/05/12 at 5:01

    I love stockings!!! I don’t wear them all the time but when I do I feel instantly feminine! Great post and Happy Birthday to the effortlessly sexy yet humble stocking!

  2. FLV - Lisbon, Portugal
    15/05/12 at 6:12

    Congratulations, once again, for your excellent post and information about stockings.
    Lets hope that that stockings gain more and more popularity and that more women understand the elegance and sensuality of a nice pair of stockings!

  3. Dusan
    15/05/12 at 15:06

    Dear Treacle. Wonderful post! I myself am stockings lover and I think that seamed, fully fashioned nylons are the sexiest, the most erotic thing made by human hands ever. I love your blog and I think that you should join G+community and share your beautiful posts and pics together with lot of other nylon lovers on Google+. Thank you for writing something so beautiful!

    Sincerely

    Dusan

    Serbia

  4. 16/05/12 at 1:35

    Hi Treacle — not sure where you found that first image, but it’s actually a scan I made from my own collection of vintage catalogs. (You can see it and others here: http://www.aslipofagirl.net/2012/01/heel-appeal-nylons-vintage-stockings.html ) I appreciate that you probably found it on Tumblr or another place where it was not credited, but I just wanted to let you know. :)

    • 16/05/12 at 2:59

      Ah! Thank you. I did it find it via Tumblr, so I didn’t know where the image originally came from. I’ll update the post to reflect the source now. :)

  5. Thursday
    16/05/12 at 6:09

    Also a fellow stockings lover, and was chuffed to spot the Agent Provocateur pair on one of the singers for this year’s Eurovision entry from Italy:

    http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/year/participant-profile/?song=26773

    Always feel that bit more “dressed” when wearing stockings, and they are certainly sexier than tights or pantyhose.

  6. Gigi
    16/05/12 at 9:45

    Treacle,

    Do you have contact information for Kay Marel that is current? I remember you wrote about these stockings some time ago and I then tried to contact them through the e-mail on the website and received no response, I believe I even tried twice.

    I have been dreaming of them ever since!

    Thanks!
    <3Gigi

  7. 16/05/12 at 14:37

    this picture of those stockings leaves me with so much memories when i was in grade school and all of my teachers wore full fashioned stockings and when they moved you could hear the swish of those nylons ,such a wonderful sound.

  8. hans
    16/05/12 at 16:28

    Great all the stockings

  9. ashley
    16/05/12 at 17:43

    Everyday should be Nylon Stockings Day! And everyday is for me because I wear them daily. :)

  10. 17/05/12 at 21:41

    Great article, as usual.. thanks Treacle!
    I’m just curious, what do you think about Gio’ fully fashioned stockings? I’m surprised they’re not on your list..:)

    I’m going to share this article with our clients, I’m sure they’ll love it as much as I did!

  11. 22/05/12 at 14:40

    It’s kind of funny to me how stockings got their own anniversarry.But anyways,I totally agree when you said when women wears them it makes them look sophistacated.For me honestly,when I wear them it makes me feel hot and sexy.

    • Jon
      15/08/12 at 8:42

      Well if your legs are anything like your face I can just imagine!

      Regards

      Jon

  12. Neyda Frierson
    05/07/12 at 13:53

    Gasp!!!! Kay Marel stockings would be perfect for me since I’m 4’11″ :). Most stockings would feel too long on my short legs, lol!!!

  13. 19/10/13 at 13:59

    I am a big fan of Charnos and Oroblu. Both seem to cover all the bases for me.

    I put a pic on Twitter for National Stockings Day too!

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