Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Evolution of the Stocking: History of Undergarments Series


My dear fashionable reader, just some fun today on the evolution of the lowly stocking...



“Stockings, originally designed for practical purposes, soon transformed into a fashionable accessory with the invention of the knitting frame in 1589 and then the circular-knitting machine in 1816. This technology allowed for a tighter weave and a better fit. Also, it was much easier to produce stockings, making them more affordable and readily available to a larger public. Plain white stockings were in mode for quite some time, until the mid to late-1800s when hemlines rose, and the ankle was revealed. This change in fashion called for colorful and fanciful motifs to decorate the lower leg, a visually appealing effect.


~ From A Brief History of Stockings

 Stockings  1788-1793  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"The flirtatious and vibrant colors of this pair of stockings increases their value, making them an accessory of interest. The two colors used, enhanced by the two-color embroidery pattern creates an elaborate sensibility. The period from 1890-1899 was known as the “Naughty Nineties” and this pair of stockings is a testament to the frivolous fun women had with their dress.”


~ From A Brief History of Stockings

For Preshea in Poison or Protect...



1860 Stockings  1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"In buying stockings, whether silk or cotton, you will find it cheapest in the end, to get those of the best English manufacture, particularly those of fine quality. For winter, and to wear with boots, English stockings of unbleached cotton are very comfortable, feeling warmer than those that are perfectly white. It is to be lamented that all black stockings (even of silk) are painful and injurious to the feet, the copperas dye being poisonous."

~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (1864)


For Ivy in the Parasol Protectorate Series...

 Stockings  1870  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Alexia in the Parasol Protectorate Series...

 Stockings  1873  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Imogene in Romancing the Inventor...


 Stockings  1880-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Primrose in the Custard Protocol Series...


Stockings  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Garters 1899 The Chicago History Museum

For Gail...


Stockings  1910-1917  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 Garter  Lucile, 1914  The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

LOUSE LADDER. A stitch fallen in a stocking. (AKA a run)

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