The Allure of Stockings
Stockings arouse such passion, make hearts go pitter-patter. Perhaps more than any other sheer item of female dress simpley because they are not just for the bedroom... even if the naughty nylon leads you there... Perhaps it because they can be ladylike & refined. Or maybe it's because a glimpse of stocking is also a glimpse back in time.
To get the details, the Sex-Kittens go undercover, or at least peek up some skirts, to discover the romance of stockings.
Our panel of experts:
Jennifer, a thirty something woman living on an island off Canada's West Coast. She loves lingerie enough to blog about it at Lingerie Dreams and has a lingerie megasite at LaceIllusions.com
Kay O'Hara, a vintage style pinup model from PinUpGlamour.com.
Kimberly, our resident Vintage Lingerie Expert, from Glamour Gurlz.
Daniel J Whitsett, President of Secrets In Lace Retail Group.
Steve, of Stocking Showcase, who is also quite a collector.
What is the appeal of stockings in general?
Kimberly says: "Well, the first thing that comes to mind --especially for those who are not used to wearing vintage stockings is the fact that vintage has a certain 'allure' and makes you feel downright sexy! The first thing I always hear from new models trying vintage stockings for the first time is "WOW..I never realized my legs looked so great!... " Not only does the silky soft vintage nylon feel good on ones leg, but it really does make you feel sexy and appealing. With stockings, you must wear a girdle or garter belt--which only adds to the sex appeal--and I believe once you have put on a garter belt, and slid those silky vintage nylons up your leg, your hooked! It's always nice to have 'full attention' from our admirer's as well *winks*"
Jennifer says: "Men like stockings... a lot! but for me the real pleasure of stockings is the sheer sensuality of slipping them on and clipping them to my garter belt, open bottom girdle or corset. And, of course, how they look on me. The contrast between the public stocking and the white, naked, flesh above. Nice stockings with a good garter belt frame my bottom and define the lovely line between public and private...."
Dan notes: "I think there could be this notion that a man knows what his lady is wearing under her clothes and that it is a secret between them. We do get a lot of men telling us they are happy to finally find a classy place they can buy stockings for their wives/girlfriends but we do not get a lot of soul baring feedback only to say that BOTH men and women tell us they are taking our trade marked slogan to heart and 'Keeping the Romance Alive.' "
Steve states: "There are men (myself included) who scorn bare legs. Encase them in a sheer pair of nylons and our HEADS EXPLODE! Add a pair of high heels, a short skirt and a sexy smile... and we imbed that image permanently in our head!
Part of the attraction could come from many sources: an old movie we remember when we were young. The image of the seamed stocking on the leading lady could have instilled a feeling of power or superiority when she wore them. Or was it a glamour girl pinup image from a magazine or movie? Or when we were young, we remember seeing or touching the ‘unmentionables’ and feeling the excitement (for the first time). Wanting to experience this pleasure again, we associated nylons with pleasure. Sounds corny but the mind works in strange ways. The brain may make an association of the sensory feedback of the silky feel of the nylons with pleasure.
The true legman will have a constant craving for nylons and probably not know ‘why’. When the sight of a woman in nylons with garters makes your knees get weak, you don’t fight the urge! The body now has created an animal with new instincts. Let it see and touch and smell nylons, and it will purr like a kitten, eat from your hand... you get the idea."
Kay says: "The appeal of a stocking-clad leg runs far deeper than merely an admiration of female lingerie. For those who adore stockings, there is nothing more tantalizing and more rewarding than *catching a glimpse* of a lady's stocking-top. Surely, it has been said by many over the years that a lady dressed in seductive lingerie is far more provocative than one simply nude, and when that lady is adorned in garters and stockings, well, that's the ultimate icing on the proverbial cake.
Ultra-feminine, fashion-conscious, indeed even haute-couture at times, the woman who wears stockings knows very well the *art of being a woman*, and therein lies the appeal, not only for her, which by the way, a woman always wears stockings for her!, but also for the appreciative male eyes who's hearts have been skipping beats since DuPont created the first stocking.
Another interesting note is the fact that in today's society, we find many men of all ages certainly, but particularly those who came of age during the times when all women wore stockings. There was always one woman that stood out in their memory for whatever reason... the music teacher, the grade 4 teacher, the lady next door... the woman they fantasized about as a young teenager... and they remember very well the FF or RHT stockings that she wore. Even younger men of today find themselves completely enthralled with the garter belt and stockings... is it the feel of the nylon? is it the visual stimulation of seeing a woman dressed in fine lingerie?"
Seamed or un-seamed, that is the question:
Dan says: "First let me state that we are seeing more and more women buying stockings for everyday use and just like most articles of clothing, you have to choose the right one for the right occasion. From the male perspective I am quite sure the preference would be for seams but there are many men who also like to see Reinforced Heels and Toes. Seams may not be appropriate for all occasions.
Since we like to say to women about stockings 'Wear Them Out' we like to offer some fashion tips. For example we recommend either a Sheer Heel and Toe (SHT) or Reinforced Heel and Toe (RHT) for women who want to wear stockings to work. Summer strappy sandals work well with Sheer Heels and Toes. For evenings out we like to suggest our Full Fashion Stockings (those with back seams); depending on the person or again the event will depend on whether you choose a French Heel (pointed) or our European Heel (more squared). The choices of color and patterns range from dots, to diamonds to glittering yarns and again will depend on the occasion.
We have seen our female customers express specific desires about the appearance of seams and heel treatments; the men wanting the seams and the women wanting a more subtle heel. In the late 1980's and early 1990's we were pioneering the return of femininity, romance and elegance with the re-introduction of 100% nylon stockings in our retail stores. We found that our clients wanted a full fashion stocking with a heel treatment that was elegant like a French Heel but different than a Cuban Heel. So we settled on a treatment that was a little shorter, wider and slightly more subtle than the traditional Cuban Heel and introduced the European Heel to the market place. Now, almost 20 years later, our European Heel Full Fashion Stocking has become the standard."
Jennifer quips: "Either. It really depends on the outfit and the shoes. Seamed stockings need a heel, they look rather silly in flats."
Kimberly says: "I personally prefer seamed stockings. It's my personal opinion that there is nothing sexier on a leg than a pair of back seamed fully fashioned vintage stockings. Just the appearance of seeing someone walking with sexy backseams screams 'I LOOK AND FEEL SEXY and not afraid to show it!” *winks*"
Kay writes: "This question is like asking do coffee drinkers prefer caffeinated or decaffeinated. I'm sure there are millions attesting to both.
When it comes to seamed stockings, there is without doubt a definite allure that prevails as opposed to non-seamed stockings, however, RHT stockings have a very healthy following as well. For those who prefer one or the other, their preference is distinct.
In my opinion, however, most men tend to favor the back seam... according to what I've heard from so many men, if seeing a woman dressed in a skirt and heels is a turn-on, then seeing those same legs with a back seam is a heart stopper. I think many women who wear stockings may find themselves wearing non-seamed stocking because they feel they may be a little too dressy for their daily needs... i.e. in the office. We've moved in many different fashion directions over the years, and I for one, regret that females no longer find it necessary to do their hair, their make-up, dress in attire other than jeans and t-shirts. Granted, women of today have moved into areas of industry that historically were slated for the men of the world. FF stockings simply are not sensible in some situations. Having said that however, we also see that those women who do have the opportunity to dress in skirts, heels, and hose, are taking advantage of that in ever increasing numbers."
Do you think stocking lovers are only those who wear vintage fashions,
or do stockings have more appeal than to just vintage or retro fashion
Kay replies: "No. Certainly not. Again, if we were to ask 1,000 men at random to view two photos... one of a lady dressed in garters and stockings, and one without, I'm confident that 95% of those men would fancy the picture with the garters and stockings. By mere virtue of those odds, I'm amazed that every woman on the planet does not run out and buy stockings! I get hundreds and hundreds of emails from men saying 'I wish women would dress like you.'
The numbers don't lie. I think men, whether they prefer the vintage or retro fashion or not, are attracted to the stockings because of the sheer sexiness of it."
Jennifer says: "I love retro/vintage clothes and lingerie. But I also love Anne Klein and Donna Karan. Guess what, I wear stockings with their dresses and
skirts. Stockings under modern clothes are just amazingly sexy. So much sexier than the horrors of pantyhose. Plus, and I care about this, wearing stockings is so much cooler in the literal sense of that term. Air circulates, Delicious!"
Dan says: "The Retro fashion trend has helped bring attention to stockings over the past year but we grew our company long before the Retro Fashion craze came along. Let's not forget that before pantyhose came along women wore stockings everyday. Today its more of a luxury at first but when a women tries them I think she connects on several levels; first it is ultra feminine; second she has a secret no one else knows about which we refer to as 'her Secrets In Lace;' third she reacts to the male attraction towards stockings - this of course assumes she is willing to share her 'Secret'"
Steve adds: "With true vintage clothing making a full comeback (helped by the advent of the internet... what better way to find it!), the legman can have a wide choice of the true vintage nylons to feed his 'fix'. As most will tell you (I hear it EVERY day), the modern reproductions don't come close to the silky feel that authentic nylons have. If you add to that, the fact that you KNOW they are vintage, it creates the “Perfect Storm”. Your girl/wife/lover, who was born 50 years after true vintage nylons were around, is wearing them for you now, is creating a melodrama that is unequalled in intensity. For the legman, it is almost like LIVING in the 1950's all over again! If that is not a 'Dream come true', I don't know what is!"
It's pretty clear that the allure of stockings is strong. And despite the old fashioned look, their full fashioned appeal lives on, for women & men of all ages.
But next time, while the stockings stay on, the gloves will come off, as we debate Vintage vs. Modern stockings... Stay tuned!