Functional And Durable As Ever: Stockings
If you happen to be spring cleaning this quarantine, it may be likely that you’ll discover a random item in your closet— perhaps a pair of stockings waiting to be used? Although the golden age of stockings has passed, this piece remains to be an essential and functional clothing accessory for women, thanks to brands like Darlington. Now, let’s take a closer look on how this fashion accessory originated and how it developed through decades.
The first known stockings can be dated back to the prehistoric era, when cavemen wrapped their legs with thin strips of animal skin during cold days. Meanwhile, during the year 100, Europeans created filaments of animal hair to cover their legs.
In the succeeding years, knitted socks were developed and it was only until the 15th century that the stockings, which resemble the modern day ones like those of Darlington, made their debut. Initially, stockings were worn exclusively by male European nobility as it helped them with mobility while horseback riding.
Consequently, in 1560, Queen Elizabeth I received her first pair of knit silk stockings and she became the first woman to have worn them. During this period, stockings extend all the way to above the knee and are secured by a garter since it lacked elasticity and support due to its silk and wool material.
Moving on to the 18th and 19th centuries, stockings remained concealed under long dresses and women wore them for warmth and protection. Later in 1912, suspension belts were introduced as a way to hold up stockings. Hosiery were still meant to be worn under dresses and skirts but women in this decade now flaunted embellished stockings.
By the 1920s, hemlines became shorter and exposed legs further. With this, hosiery was embraced as a statement of style and freedom and stockings gained popularity as an instrument to cover exposed legs.
An important invention arrived in 1939—nylon, which is a durable and cost-efficient synthetic fiber. Soon, it became an essential piece in every woman’s wardrobe. During the 1940s, stockings reached the peak of its popularity; however, they still were not self-supporting.
This persisted until the introduction of “hold-ups” or self-supporting stockings by British company Pretty Polly in 1967. These self-supporting stockings made of elastic or silicone bands finally eliminated the use of garters and suspension belts, therefore revolutionizing fashion and hosiery.
From rudimentary animal skin leg covers to animal hair, silk and wool garter-supported stockings to embellished stockings, and ultimately, self-supporting stockings— hosiery certainly has gone a long way. The evolution of stockings only shows that it’s been made durable, comfortable, and functional as ever, akin to Darlington stockings.