This post originally appeared on a previous iteration of this site on January 18th, 2015. It has been reposted here for posterity.
Fetish v. Fashion is a series dedicated to the ways that fashion and fetish play off of eachother- whether that is a specific article of clothing that is fetishized or an article of clothing or fetish photography that references fetish in some way.
I decided to be self indulgent and make the first Fetish v. Fashion post about something I fetishize- thigh high stockings. I’m not sure what it is about them for me- the seam up the back, the luxurious feeling of them encasing my legs, or the lingerie I get to pair them with.
I specifically find thigh high, fully fashioned, seamed stockings to be the most interesting, and I’m not the only one. Pinup enthusiasts abound, and there are many thigh high fetishists who look for stockings made on authentic vintage machines and even unworn decades old vintage items that they might simply feel or even wear on special occasion.
Stockings were originally associated with men’s fashion, but when women’s hemlines started rising in the 1920’s, they started to wear them in order to cover their legs. These early feminine stockings were generally made of silk or rayon. After the 1940’s, stockings were primarily made of nylon, which is where the moniker “nylons” originates. The demand for nylon stockings, which were less expensive, more durable, and sheerer than Silk and Rayon options, was so high that there are reports of sales up to 4 million pairs in a single day.
During WWII, Du Pont- the main manufacturer of nylon stockings- stopped producing them in order to help with the war effort. This lead to people drawing the tell-tale seam up the back of their legs, buying cosmetic “nylon sprays” meant to mimic the look and feel of stockings, and even a thriving black market. There were even reports of crime spurred by this insatiable need for nylons- such as a theft of 18 pairs from a home in Louisiana.
Although Du Pont returned to manufacturing nylons after the war, they were unable to keep up with demand which led to the Nylon Riots- a series of disturbances at stores across the US. One of the worst was an instance in Pittsburgh when 40,000 people lined up to buy 13,000 pairs of stockings, which resulted in fights breaking out. It took almost a year for them to return to production that sated the needs of the American populace.
This insatiable thirst for thigh highs eventually slowed with the invention of pantyhose- which were followed up by stayups. This contributed to a steep decline in production of true, fully fashioned thigh highs, which were replaced with easier to make and cheaper versions that didn’t require individual, specialized attention during production, like fully fashioned stockings do.
Thankfully for us, some really dedicated fetishists and enthusiasts have revived the Fully Fashioned stocking. There are only a few factories still running, and some of them had to be brought back to life after a couple decades. My affiliates What Katie Did are one of these enthusiasts- in fact, their whole company began because of Katie’s love for stockings! You can check out their glorious stocking offerings by clicking the banner below.