- Fashion and Beauty
The Seductive Sixties: Black Fishnet Stockings
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?
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.
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.