Last week I discussed girdles and how essential they are to creating a period correct foundation for your garments. I also mentioned that I use them mainly for the garters to hold up my stockings. For everyday use, I wear new seamed stockings. I do this for a few reasons. Vintage stockings are becoming increasingly hard to find (and thus rather expensive) and can become brittle. I have ruined several pairs within minutes of putting them on. However I covet vintage seamed stockings, buying them whenever possible, and wear them for special occasions. Recently I went to AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium and I asked her if she had any seamed stockings. AlexSandra brought out a bag full of new-old stock stockings. Most were seamless (perfect for 60s outfits) however I found some fully-fashioned pairs of stockings…including these with the amusing brand of “Hard to Find”
But don’t fret fellow stocking lovers, I left a few pairs for you! In fact, AlexSandra just listed these stunning NOS Lilly Dache stockings in her bridal shop, Union Made Bride, along with many more fully-fashioned pairs!. Those in the Portland area can also visit AlexSandra’s brick-and-mortar shop for vintage delights. For details on her hours and location, please visit her website. Additionally, I have two pairs of deluxe stockings (stockings featuring some sort of design or detail) currently for sale on Etsy. You can view them here and here.
So what does “Fully Fashioned” mean exactly? Here is a perfect diagram to understand:
As for new stockings, there are a range of price points, quality and shops you can purchase new stockings from. Once again, Secrets in Lace (yes! It’s like a one stop shop for all vintage style foundation garments!) offers up new fully-fashioned stockings, including items from Dita Von Tease and Bettie Page collections. What Kate Did also supplies a range of stockings, including seamed, although not fully-fashioned, stockings, perfect for everyday wear, which is who I have been using lately. Previously I purchased Leg Avenue stockings from various websites (including 3 Wishes) and shops around Portland.
When shopping for stockings, you want to avoid the items described as “thigh highs” because a thigh high is very different from a stocking. Thigh highs are of stocking length, however, in the welt they have rubber bands around the inside of them for them to stay on, thus supposedly rendering garters superfluous. However, these tend not to work, and/or are uncomfortable, resulting in an almost tourniquet like experience.
Additionally, I want to make note, if you travel by air frequently, or do not enjoy being touched by strangers, I do not recommend wearing a girdle or garter belt and stockings when traveling. Garters do show up on body scanner images and even if you show and tell the TSA officer what is creating the anomaly, they will still pat you down. At some airports they simply pat down the area which the anomaly shows up, other airports will conduct a full body pat down. And I am speaking from experience from multiple occasions. For air travel, I suggest purchasing seamed pantyhose, another Leg Avenue product, available here as well as many other websites. Although, I will admit, I find them difficult and of poor quality.
I think that just about covers it! If you have any remaining questions regarding stockings or girdles, please do not hesitate to ask!
For more on vintage foundations:
Vintage Must Have: Bullet Bra
Vintage Must Have: Girdle
Vintage Must Have: Slip