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The Seductive Sixties: Black Fishnet Stockings

Updated on May 25, 2011
RedElf profile image

RedElf (Elle Fredine) photographer and published author, educator. Life-long learning is key to adding value to life.

The Sexy Sixties

Sometime in the early sixties - the nineteen sixties, that is - some style pundit rediscovered fishnet stockings...and we fell in love with them all over again. They just seemed to go so well with boots and miniskirts. Then, a few years later, they seemed to go so well with boots and maxi-skirts. Of course, they bit into your toes a bit by the end of the evening, but we all knew it hurt to be beautiful.

Fishnet stockings, or tights, have a long and theatrical history. Once referred to as 'opera hose', they graced many a famous dancer's leg. Sometimes padded to further enhance a shapely curve, they gained even greater popularity during the heyday of burlesque. This kind of padding was gleefully referred to in one of the production numbers in the musical "Oklahoma" - a ditty about the a cowboy's visit to the burlesque. The young man warbles the lines, "...and later in the second act, when she begun to peel; She proved that everything she had was absolutely real..." Here's to truth in advertising!

Shall We Dance?

Dark Dernier
Dark Dernier
Wild 'n' Colorful
Wild 'n' Colorful
Choose Your Mesh
Choose Your Mesh

Of course, to have long black stockings, one first must have long legs. Barring that, one must create the illusion of having long legs. We quickly discovered that fishnets alone were not enough. The contrast between white leg and dark net could be rather unlovely. The very best, most flattering hosiery had sheer dark mesh woven to the back - almost like wearing another pair of stockings underneath the fishnets.

Other entries into the fishnet scene included everything from subdued neutrals like navy and chocolate to wild patterns and wilder colors - shocking pink, neon orange, peacock blues and greens.

Fishnet stockings, once a staple of naughty novel illustrations in just-for-men publications and the more risque theatrical offerings, became a common sight in the Sears Catalogue. Even the staid Timothy Eaton mail catalogue boasted photos of young women chastely modelling their store's selection of fishnet tights.

Fishnet stockings had definitely arrived. Anyone and everyone was wearing them, from teenage girls to the well-dressed mothers of teenage girls. Even my mother flaunted a pair. From the hem of her chic suede maxi-skirt to the tops of her smart leather granny boots, her charcoal fishnets proclaimed her a woman of style.

My wardrobe immediately expanded to include several pairs. They co-ordinated so well with my short-shorts and minis...and of course, they were just killer with a pair of go-go boots. Unlike my mother, though, I tended to showed off considerably more leg, and usually wore considerably higher heels.

The women of the sixties had arrived...and they thought the twenties roared.

Silky Seduction
Silky Seduction

From black stockings, the quintessential sexy stockings, to Hollywood's "Silk Stockings" and the fishnets that have held sway over two centuries of women's style, it would be fair to say that stockings certainly captivate our imaginations.

Perhaps no single garment or piece of feminine attire has so captivated us and become the ultimate expression of "sexy."

The cinematic image of the silk stocking slowly and seductively sliding up or down a shapely leg is as iconic and archetypal as the waves crashing on the shore. We all know exactly what is happening between the film's characters as the camera pans chastely away.

From the 1860s, when the mere glimpse of a shapely ankle was enough to arouse lustful thoughts, to the 1960s and the era of the micro-mini skirt, stockings, and the women who wear them, have come a long way.

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      maria 5 years ago

      Of course, they bit into your toes a bit by the end of the evening, but we all knew it hurt to be beautiful.

      ouch! my toes are killing me when I wear then with open toe platforms

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      Too, true, Anath. Naughty, but fun ;)

    • Anath profile image

      Anath 8 years ago

      How lovely, fishnet stockings always add a naugthy twist to any garment.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Thank YOU!! I love a "pulled together" Look! That would be super!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 9 years ago from Canada

      Twirl away, darlin'. I'll lend you my floral gardening gloves to complete the ensemble LOL

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      I thought I would dress up for this visit..note the new fishnets, took Christoph's advice and it is a great look! Should I twirl?

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 9 years ago from Canada

      Floral gloves to match the flower beds (LOL)

      Rock on, Princessa. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 9 years ago from St. Louis

      RedElf: Oh...black gloves too! My, my.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      Certainly not for everyday use, but I love fishnet stockings, I think they can add that "kinky" touch to any demure garment. Worn with a plain black little dress for a "flashy look" or under a long full skirt with low boots for the not so "innocent look"... they rock!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 9 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, Mighty Mom. The hub was in answer to a hub pages request. They can be a great source of interesting topics.

      Such a picture you paint, Christoph. It brings back thoughts of my misspent youth. I must admit, I'm much more inclined to garden gloves and a floppy straw hat these days, now that spring is in the air.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      This is a wonderful trip down memory lane (almost psychedelic, but since I was a young lass in the 60s I can't quite claim it as an acid flashback:-).

      You really nailed the feeling perfectly -- fishnets felt just flat out weird on your feet and toes. Brrrr -- shiver. Not a great memory.

      Don't know what inspired this hub but thanks for writing it! MM

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 9 years ago from Canada

      How soon we forget, Candie V. ;D

      I must admit Feline Prophet, that fishnets lost a lot of their allure by the end of a long evening at the prom.

      Christoph Reilly, I guess we will just have to be grateful for small mercies there, hon (LOL). One of my favorite blouses buttoned across the shoulder and down the side after Dr. Kildare's surgical togs - what fun.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Christoph! You wouldn't wear them together anyway! You fashion maverick!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 9 years ago from St. Louis

      I had a white Nehru jacket, though they were just slightly before my time, but I found one at a thrift shop and I wore it constantly. I didn't have any fishnet stockings, but I sure liked them!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 9 years ago

      I never did understand the appeal of stockings that looked like they were made for fish and not legs...now I know better! :P

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Oh, man I had a paisley Nehru-jacket and peace symbol! I'd forgotten all about it!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 9 years ago from Canada

      I had a navy blue pair to match a very twiggy style min-dress. I also had a lime green pair that matched the lime green piping on the navy dress. They also went well with a tres chic paisley number. Always nice to see you stop by..

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      I had a pair in white and a pair in pink to wear with my *ahem* go-go boots and miniskirts.. ah the 60s.. Twiggy, flower-power. What a great decade! Thankyou for the trip down fashion memory-lane!

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