Hosiery Review: Gio Nylon Cuban Heel Stockings
Disclosure: I received these items free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
With the holidays officially here, you may be hanging stockings by the fire or donning wooly socks to warm your chilled toes. Today I'm reviewing Gio Stockings, which are of an entirely different nature. Gio's nylon stockings are made in England on original Reading knitting machines, "just as they were made in the 1960s." They sent me a pair each of their Fully Fashioned (seamed) and Reinforced Heel and Toe (seamless) stockings.
Gio has a few vibrant colors available, which totally sucked me in. I love color, and my vintage nylon stockings are all various shades of warm, soft brown (much richer than the beige of modern stockings). Due to the low denier, the color of these Gio stockings has a slight watercolor effect, blending interestingly with the skin when worn. I requested the Full Contrast Cuban Heel Stockings in Electric-Blue/Black, which retail for £22.95 (roughly $35 USD), and RHT Stockings in Coral, £8.95 (roughly $13.50 USD). Both are 15 denier.
As I mentioned in last week's review of Fiore hosiery, when it comes to stockings, different constructions and materials can create a very different visual and tactile result. By extension, this means they create a different wearing experience. Gio stockings are nylon, made on old-fashioned equipment for an authentic retro effect. "Fully fashioned" stockings are knitted to an opened out leg shape, then seamed down the back --- this is much more laborious, which is why real fully fashioned stockings are hard to come by, and expensive. True fully fashioned stockings have a little keyhole at the top of the band. Seamless nylon stockings are instead knitted in the round.
Either way, nylon stockings have a really special look to them --- something about the way the light hits them and wraps around the leg. My experience with wearing nylon stockings has been mostly limited to wearing authentic vintage hosiery. There's a luxurious silky texture to nylon hosiery, especially in the band. Though the feeling of the seam on the sole of my foot was a little distracting when I first put them on, it was unnoticeable to me by the time my garter straps were fastened.
The two styles of construction result in different sizing. After consulting with the Gio rep who contacted us, I ordered an 8.5 in the fully fashioned stockings, and a small for the RHT. Both fit me very well. As you can see, there is no bagging around my ankles or knees: they perfectly hug my leg from the band down to the toes of my shoes. Unlike modern stockings, nylon stockings have a very loose band, which means it never cuts in at the thighs. Of course, this also means it is absolutely impossible to wear them without a garter belt for so much as a second.
Unfortunately, lovely as these stockings are, I find them to be excessively delicate. To be fair, I was warned. Gio recommends that you use gloves when taking their stockings out of the packaging, and when putting them on. Naturally, I completely forgot this advice. I've worn each pair a couple of times. I first donned the coral pair for a very quick shoot, at an indoor location, standing poses only, no props or furniture. By the time I took them off, they had acquired a few tiny snags where the tension of the knit was pulled tight. The fully fashioned Cuban heels fared no better. Neither pair has developed any proper runs or visible holes, but they form these tiny snags as soon as you so much as look at them. I'm scared of getting them anywhere near furniture, pets, or zippers/buckles on shoes, which really reduces their wearability for me. Though if I say so myself, they looked quite fetching when I wore them to work with my pink cowboy boots and an embroidered A-line dress.
At roughly $35/pair, they are comparably priced to other fully fashioned stockings currently on the market. For myself (and I suspect most people), that's a lot of money to drop on such a snag-prone stocking. However, if luxurious legwear or classic retro style is one of your personal pleasures, this style of stocking is the way to go. For the budget conscious, the seamless RHT styles (about $13.50) are much more affordable, while still providing a good fit and the classic look of nylon --- just without the striking backseam and signature keyhole.
I think Gio makes a beautiful and rare product in the wide world of stockings. As well as offering classic Cuban, Havana, and Pointed Heel stockings, their new Manhattan Heel Stockings are utterly gorgeous. I appreciate the fashion colors they produce alongside the basics, and their size range is generous. The only thing that gives me pause is the rapidity with which they snag.
What do you think of Gio stockings? Have you worn them? What other brands of nylon stockings have you tried? Share your thoughts in the comments below!