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The Complete Stockings Guide

At True Corset, we don’t play around when it comes to beautiful quality hosiery. With a focus on fully fashioned stockings, our collection is crafted using vintage knitting machines, allowing us to create stunning quality, authentic stockings that our customers come back for time and time again and love to wear.

One of the main reason’s our customers trust us when it comes to stockings is that we’re serious about knowing our stuff. Whether that’s flat knitting our stockings or offering advice on the perfect heel choice for your style, when we’re discussing the matter of stockings, we’ve got the expertise to back it up.

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of authentic stockings or you’re a seasoned fan with a specific question, we’ve created our Complete Guide to Stockings to make your decision-making as streamlined as possible. Finish your vintage look with the perfect pair of stockings or update your workwear wardrobe with the elegant touch of our hosiery. But first, find out everything you need to know about stockings with our 411 guide, right here.

A History of Hosiery

Hosiery has long been a part of society and fashion with Anglo-Saxon links to the word itself, meaning a covering of sorts. Although men have worn various versions of hosiery-type garments for centuries, one of the first major points in hosiery’s history came in the 16th century when Queen Elizabeth was presented with a pair of knitted silk stockings and absolutely loved them. During this century, machines were beginning to be invented to take away the job of hand-making hosiery. 

Alongside the invention of Rayon, the 19th century bought with it the start of the industrial production of stockings and the beginning of the 20th century saw a revolution into the production of more and better manmade fabrics which increased the quality of the production of stockings.

In 1938 Nylon was created and within a couple of years had been used to make tights in replacement of silk and millions of pairs had been sold all over the US.

Through the ‘60s and ‘70s, we saw everything from Twiggy-style polka dot and striped tights to rock n roll fishnets, as tights took over from stockings as the most popular choice for day to day wear.

Today, women have everything from stomach-control tights to lace stockings and everything in between to choose from as hosiery continues to be a pivotal part of our wardrobes. The global hosiery industry is now said to be worth around $35billion, proving that when it comes to our hosiery, we’re not messing around.

What Are the Different Types of Hosiery?

Because hosiery is a fairly vague term in our world, we thought we’d take a look a little more closely into the different types of hosiery that we might refer to and, in particular, the types of stockings that you might come across.

Tights

Tights are leg coverings that run from the toe up to the waistline. Tights are available in a huge range of denier thicknesses and patterns, as well as shape control designs.

Pantyhose

Pantyhose is the American term used for tights. If discussing hosiery with someone from the US or you find yourself shopping online at a US retailer, they might likely use the term pantyhose for both tights and thigh-high stockings.

Anklets

Crafted in the same knitted fabric as tights and stockings, anklets sit just above the ankle line, worn in place of thicker cotton socks. Pop socks are even smaller anklets that often sit underneath the line of a classic court shoe.

Stockings

Fully Fashioned Stockings

Fully fashioned stockings are what we at True Corset are all about. These types of stockings are authentic and beautifully made. For a closer look at what fully fashioned stockings actually are, have a read a little further down below.

RHT Stockings

Another popular choice in the world of stockings is RHT stockings. These stands for reinforced heel and toe stockings and you can find out more about these just below.

Hold-Ups

Hold-up stockings are made using elastic threads that are sewn into an often lace trim at the top of the stockings, making them easy to stay in place without the need to add a suspender belt for support.

Knee-Highs

These stockings are made in the same way as longer stockings but finish at or just underneath the line of the knee.

Opaque or Sheer Stockings

Whether stockings are opaque or sheer depends on the denier you choose. This refers to the thickness of the knitted fabric which effects whether the stockings are more or less see-through. At True Corset, our stockings are 15 denier, which means they appear fairly dark but they have plenty of sheerness to the overall finish.

Seamed or Seamless Stockings

When stockings are not made in the fully-fashioned way, knitted flat and sewn together at the back, they are fully knitted. This creates seamless stockings. Often seamed stockings are fully knitted stockings but with a faux seam stitched into the back to create the same look as an authentic fully-fashioned stocking.

What Are Fully Fashioned Stockings?

Crafted in Nylon, Fully Fashioned stockings are the major focus for True Corset when it comes to creating beautiful stockings for our customers. Made using a vintage Reading knitting machine, which knits just 30 stockings an hour, fully fashioned stockings are knitted flat and sewn together with a seam at the back, which gives each stocking that authentic, retro finish. Each pair of fully fashioned stockings is crafted individually with a sultry denier that perfectly balances the sheerness and depth of colour.

At the top of fully fashion stockings, you’ll find the welt. This is the darker section of the stocking, which is double thickness of the stocking itself and used to attach your suspender belt. At the back of the welt, you’ll find a keyhole (finishing loop) detail that makes the stockings truly authentic. This keyhole allows the seamstress hand making each stocking to finish the seam by turning the welt in a complete circle. 

What Are RHT Stockings?

Reinforced heel and toe stockings, or RHT stockings, as they are more commonly referred to, offer an ultra-robust stocking which is crafted using a folding technique at both the heel and toe. This gives these areas a darker appearance and also strengthens these areas, making them less likely to hole and allowing them to last longer.

What Are the Different Stocking Heel Types?

Do stockings all look the same to you? Well, look a little closer and you might notice some slightly more conspicuous differences when it comes to the designs of the heels. Where the seams at the heel are reinforced with folded fabric for robustness, the heel takes on a darker colour, the shape of which has changed and evolved over the decades and been given their very own names for preference. Let’s take a look at some of the heel types you’re most likely to see.

French Heel

Perhaps inspired by the Eiffel Tower itself, the French heel (also referred to as a Point heel, is where the reinforced seam rises up past the back of the heel into a sharp point.

Cuban Heel

One of the most common heel designs and one that was very prominent in the ‘40s and ‘50s was the Cuban heel stocking. Where the reinforced seam is seen at the back of the heel, rising into a point, the top is then sharpened off into a square shape, instead of finishing with a point.

Manhattan Heel

Inspired by the NYC skyline, a Manhattan heel is very similar to the French heel and also referred to sometimes as a Point heel. The main difference is that it’s slightly wider and shorter than the French heel design.

Havana Heel

The Cuban heel’s cousin, the Havana heel has a similar squared-off shape but is wider than the Cuban and rises slightly higher at the back of the ankle.

Memphis Heel

A unique heel, perfect for a statement look is the lesser known Memphis heel. The darker reinforced heel is crafted in stacks of diamonds, creating a head-turning finish.

How to Care for Your Fully-Fashioned Stockings

Let’s take a look at how you can care for and make the most of your favourite fully fashioned stockings, ensuring you can wear them time and time again whilst keeping them looking brand new.

How to Put Them On

When putting your stockings on, it’s always worth rolling and preparing them with a little extra time without rushing (even if you’re in a rush!) to make sure you put them on in just the right place on the foot and ensure you don’t tear or rip the fabric in the process. 

Take a seat to ensure you don’t topple and with your leg slightly bent and your thumbs on the inside of the stocking, gently roll the fabric down in your hands until you reach the toe line. Then, even more gently, pop your toes in, adjusting so your foot is in the right place and roll the stocking over your foot and heel and gradually up the full length of your leg, finding a smooth finish up to the thigh. 

When adding a suspender belt, clip onto the stocking with the leg still slightly bent and gently straighten once attached. We always recommend investing in and wearing a 6-strap suspender belt as 4-strap designs are much more likely to damage your stockings and cause tears.  

How to Store Them

A big part of really caring for your stockings is to put them on and take them off carefully and gently, as well as washing them properly every time. Another great tip is to always switch directly to slippers when you get home, rather than walking around the house with just your stockings. 

When you’re not wearing them, storing them well will always help to keep them fresh and new. Keep them away from your other delicates as anything from a bra hook to a textured brief embellishment risk snagging your stockings. Where it might be tempting to knot two stockings together to ensure you don’t lose them, this can actually stretch the fabric, so it’s always best to neatly fold your pairs together.

How to Wash Them

To ensure you keep your stockings at their very best for as long as possible, it’s always best suggested to hand wash in cold water. Add a spoonful of gentle detergent to a basin or bowl of cool water and add your stockings, allowing them to soak for 20-30 minutes.

Once you’ve let them soak, drain the water and gently rinse in running cool water without stretching or wringing them.

To dry, gently squeeze the majority of excess water from the stockings and then lay onto a towel. Dabbing them with another towel will help to remove any further excess water. Finally, leave them to air dry in room temperature or outside, either hung or lay flat.  

If you choose to use the washing machine to wash your stockings, don’t put them directly into the drum of the machine. First, put the stockings inside a soft mesh drawstring bag and wash them inside this bag in cool water with your other delicates on a slow cycle. Avoid drying in a machine as the excess heat is likely to damage the integrity of the fabric and stitching. Plus, air drying will do the job super-quickly anyway!

How Does Sizing Work for Fully Fashioned Stockings?

Fully fashioned stockings have very little stretch compared to other types of tights so therefore, it’s important to get the size just right when ordering. We have a general size guide that you can see below but sometimes with fully fashioned stockings, it’s not quite as easy as a direct size match.

If you have thicker or curvier legs, it’s best to size up slightly from the size you see in the guide below. This same applies if you are particularly tall. Stockings are measured in length so the larger the foot size or the thicker the legs, the lower the stocking will sit. If you are not quite sure where you sit when it comes to sizing, simply get in touch with one of our experts and we’d be more than happy to advise.

 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to stockings, we have a passion for authentically crafted, retro styles that add a pure sense of sophistication to any outfit. From choosing the perfect style for you to knowing the difference between a Cuban heel and a French or Point heel, we hope our complete guide has helped you learn a little more about the art, history and fashion of stockings. If you have any questions which aren’t answered here, please do feel free to get in touch with us, here at True Corset, and we’d be more than happy to help