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Stockings: From Military Gear to Feminine Fashion – 10 Fascinating Facts

A recent social media trend has brought stockings back into the spotlight, with fashion-forward celebrities sporting this classic accessory. In a fashion landscape often dominated by leggings, stockings are making a resurgence, capturing women’s interest worldwide. Stockings, sometimes referred to as the “greatest invention of the 20th century,” are renowned for enhancing the appearance of legs, making them appear slender and beautiful. Interestingly, the origins of stockings trace back to men. Let’s explore the lesser-known history of stockings, an accessory that has become readily available and accessible to everyone today.


The Origin of Stockings

Stockings are often considered one of the most feminine and sensual clothing items. However, stockings were originally a male domain. They were worn as part of military uniforms to protect the legs before donning armor. In the 4th century, clerics wore white stockings that reached above the knee, and in the 7th century, stockings embroidered with gold threads became fashionable among upper-class males in France.


Stockings: A Luxury Item

Women began wearing stockings around the 14th century, but only among the upper class. This was because it was legally prohibited for women in Europe to expose their bare feet. The only thing women could wear inside their shoes were coarse socks, and even after they gained the freedom to expose their feet, it was not easy to wear stockings, which cost around $1,000 per pair.


The Origin of the Word ‘Stocking’

In 1589, a British clergyman named William Lee invented a machine for knitting socks, making stockings accessible to the general female population. Around this time, the word “stocking” began to be used extensively. The word “stocking” originates from the Old English “Stocu,” meaning sleeve.


The Development of Nylon Stockings

Stockings, a common item in women’s wardrobes today, became widespread with the development of a new material called nylon, also known as the new silk. Nylon, a synthetic fiber developed by the American company DuPont in 1938, is the oldest synthetic fiber in history. It is thinner than a spider’s web and resistant to friction. With the widespread distribution of nylon stockings, the form of stockings diversified, establishing their place as a fashion accessory.

Korea’s First Stockings: ‘Mugunghwa’

The first production of stockings in Korea was in the late 1950s. At that time, women depended on a small amount of imported stockings through the black market. In 1958, Namyoung Vivian became the first company in Korea to produce stockings. The first stockings introduced by Namyoung Vivian, named Mugunghwa after the national flower of Korea, were seamless stockings that eliminated the sewing line. Mugunghwa received an explosive response from women at the time.


The Pantyhose Boom

Pantyhose, which covers from the toes to the waist, not just the calves and thighs, started to be produced in 1963. The popularity of pantyhose began to surge in the early 1970s when Yoon Bok-hee’s miniskirt ignited the trend for skirts. However, as the 1990s rolled in and the voices emphasizing women’s social activities grew louder, the number of women preferring pants over skirts increased, and the consumption of stockings decreased significantly.


Half Stockings

Stockings are making a comeback after a period of absence. They’ve returned in the 21st century in a more diverse and unique style. Among them, half stockings, which used to serve only as thin socks when wearing long skirts or trousers, are gaining importance. This is due to recent collections from luxury brands like Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana boldly showcasing half-stockings.


Black Stockings

BLACKPINK Rosé’s Instagram

It’s time to fall for the allure of sensual black stockings. Take out the black stockings you’ve been keeping in your closet. Black stockings can elevate your look to new heights, Whether with a bit of black dress, a modern coat, or formal Bermuda shorts. BLACKPINK’s Rosé paired black stockings with a two-piece black crop jacket and short pants, flashing a sexy mood.


Patterned Stockings

The once tacky logo play has peaked with the flex trend of the MZ generation. Has this logo play trend seeped into stockings as well? Recently, patterned stockings featuring brand logos are catching the eye. An example is the patterned stockings from Marine Serre, which are famous for their crescent moon pattern. Patterned stockings can be challenging to match depending on body shape and clothing length, so subtly showcasing your stylishness with small patterned stockings is recommended.


Color Stockings

Say no to the tacky coffee-colored stockings! Let’s shake off the Corona blues with colorful stockings that reflect your unique personality. You can create a bold daily look using complementary colors or style a tone-on-tone look by matching the color of your stockings with your outfit. Also, if you match the color of your socks with your shoes, it can make you look taller. So, if you want to appear to have better proportions, keep this in mind.

By. Hye In Oh

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