1. stockings, socks, and tights collectively.
Hose or Hosiery; leg garments of varying length, the collective term for products made by a hosier. All types of knitted fabric are included but differentiated by thickness (denier) and opacity. (The lower the denier, the more sheer the hose).
likes to eschew tights; claiming it’s far better for legs to go bare (no ladders, no static, no wrinkles). But those of us who live in the real world (with bruised, stubbly, pale pins) know tights beat trousers as a leg-concealer; leg shaper; all round leg-saver. (7-types-of-tights-you-need-in-your-winter-wardrobe
Throughout it’s history, hosiery has responded to practical requirements, social changes, technological advances – in both fibre and manufacturing – and, of course, the fancies in male and female fashion;
From Ancient Egypt:
The earliest known pair of stockings still survives dating from between 300 and 500AD – and was found at the archaeological site of Oxyrhynchus (on the Nile, about midway between Luxor and Cairo) in Egypt. The stockings were well designed with a fitted heel for comfort and a draw cord to keep them from slipping down.
To the Vikings: Tights were a man thing, they wore knitted tights like these Barbarian trousers (found in a bog in Northern Germany).
From the Middle Ages:
When the knitting loom was invented in the late 1500s, knitted socks became more popular (made in Spain
). Still men wore them – made of fine silks with ties to hold them up and embroidered with opulent pattern – if you were Royal (think Henry VIII) or an important person (like a religious leader). The poorer wore hosen made from a colourful woven fabric.
To the Seventeenth century: In an age of dandy, men’s dress included ever-increasing frills and flounces; including their (boot)hose
From Victorian mass production: Now women get in on the act – well, the wealthier ones who could afford stockings with a welt at the top, usually made of lace, to help them stay up. And with the invention of elastic in 1820, hosiery became much more practical and popular – and factory produced.
To the 1920s fashion revolution: Flappers demanded leg wear that suited rising hemlines, fun and flirtatious. And rayon made it possible. Rayon stockings were held up by garter belts, garters or fashionably rolled to just above the knee and came in “flesh” tones too.
And then the synthetic inventions came thick and fast; early fish-nets appeared in the Thirties and in 1938 Dupont introduced the first nylon stockings. By 1949, seamed nylons were all the rage in the UK. In the 1950s Aristoc, the longest established brand in the UK, formed by sewing nylon legs onto a pair of crepe nylon briefs. In 1968 Pretty Polly developed one-piece tights. In the early Eighties, patterned tights appeared on the market and in 1985 Lycra appeared, changing gym wear forever.
Today: Tights come any which way:
Fringed: Wolford tights, £199
Eye-Wateringly Expensive: Saint Laurent, £700
And for 2017?
Fishnets are back:
Featured Image: Heist hoisery