What is this little hole for in the welt of the vintage backseam stockings?

August 3, 2012 under Vintage

What is this small hole (keyhole) for in the welt of the vintage backseam stockings?

Answer by StockingsHQ on twitter:

“That’s the finishing loop and it is needed so the needle doing the seam can be withdrawn.  It’s the mark of a genuine fully fashioned stocking as opposed to something with just a cosmetic seam.”

Real 100% nylon stockings with a keyhole in the welt – exactly the way it was in the past when ladies would stand in lines for hours to buy some.  There are only a few factories in the world that are capable of producing such vintage-like hosiery.

The thought of fully fashioned stockings and suspender belt. makes me a little bit nostalgic because there is not much of this around.  Valentine’s or your own wedding… that’s when women might give it a try.

Pantyhose Patent by a Hollywood Star, Julie Newmar – the Original Cat Woman!

July 27, 2012 under Vintage

I was surprised to find on Google (totally by accident) that an actress Julie Newmar (born in 1933, played the original cat woman) came out with a pantyhose patent in the ’70s for shaping the behind, being ultra-sheer, and ultra-snug.

At least by what I found on Google, it looks like that patent was renewed in the year 2000.  So I guess it’s still being produced.

I’d love to meet her some day!  Even though she is in her 80’s now, she seems to be quite active.  It’s possible, I am not joking… I recently met up in Vancouver with Kecia Nyman, a supermodel from the 60’s.  We even went out for some cappuccino and cakes on Granville Island.  Who’d think of that, eh?

 

 

 

Her First Patent:

Patent number: 3914799
Filing date: Sep 25, 1974
Issue date: 1975

 

Update: as it is noted below by David from United States, Julie Newmar got famous through a Broadway musical called `the silk stocking`.  Here is the vintage poster picture I found from that show.

 

Vintage Pantyhose Commercial

July 22, 2012 under Vintage

I saw these on the pantyhose forum, posted by Pavel.  I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s good to know that Elbeo brand is still around.  It is actually one of the oldest hosiery brands that exist.

Please see translation below in a comment posted by a person who speaks German. This way you can understand what it says on the packaging.  Thank you, my German readers for helping me out with that!

 

 

 

 

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“Blue Stocking” – isn’t it time for a new definition?

July 18, 2012 under Vintage

I am posing in a styled outfit and blue stockings with the Science World Dome in the background.

Historical Meaning of “Blue Stocking”

In some languages this is quite a common phrase, it usually refers to a completely unattractive woman who only cares about her studies or work and nothing else.

Let’s look back in history to see where this figure of speech came from.  It seems that at least all around Europe this is usually directed at a highly intellectual woman to ridicule her a little bit for her nerdy outfit.  The meaning of this expression is quite vague, depending on the country or era.  This term in German is known as Blaustrumpf, in Dutch as blauwkous and in French as bas-bleu.

Falbala stockings are beautifully decorated with gold and silver studs and ribbons.

Even though this phrase is used to describe a woman, it originated in Europe as a nickname for Benjamin Stillingfleet in the 17th century who was a botanist, translator, and an author from England.  He was a very intellectual man and without him there was no more interesting discussions.  However, he paid no attention to fashion, wearing blue stockings instead of silk black, as it was common back then.  Other sources may say that silk was too expensive, so he wore blue worsted stockings instead.

The "lack of fashion" idea was later emphasized by a French painter Honore Victorin Daumier in the mid of 19th century who painted humorous series called Les Bas Bleus to mock the blue stockings society. These paintings had a satiric nature to them, showing women in a repelling and androgynous way, completely immersed in philosophical discussions and oblivious to the mess and dirt around them.

 

Meaning of "Blue Stocking" in different countries

Germany:  This was a way to tease those who tell on others (snitch or tattle teller), thus making a reference to street policemen who wore blue stockings.

Italy:  Probably this is the only country with a positive meaning for this expression.  InVenice in XV century blue stockings were only reserved for scientists and academics.  It was an attribute of an educated person.

France:  For French this expression would be a synonym of being a slob.  It implied that one would be so immersed in intellectual development that would not pay any attention to fashion and household chores.

Eastern Block:  In former USSR this is a way to call a woman without any charm who only focuses on her work or academics.  But this is probably all coming from the French.

Could this be the reason why navy blue hosiery is so rare these days?  Could it have the negative connotation dating to the middle ages in Europe?  It is time for an upgrade.

Blue Stockings Lounge is a place to visit for unforgettable cabaret shows in South Wales.

Have you seen women wearing these at all lately?  This is 2012 and when I look at educated women, they are rarely in stockings to begin with!  There is even rarely a dress code in science-oriented companies and most women come in blue jeans, not in blue stockings.  Why can’t a woman in blue stockings be a smart and trendy lady who knows how to present herself well?

Let me share some responses here that I got from people about blue stockings.

Falbala:  There is also a UK online store called Falbala that offers hand made decorated stockings and a lot of them are blue, Karen, the owner admits that blue and gold is her favourite combination.  Their products are actually very unique and trendy, thus re-defining blue stockings as a modern fashion accessory.  I asked her how to wear blue stockings in a stylish way and this was her reply " I wear them with black denim shorts, patent black heels and a royal blue top with a gold necklace".

 

Bluestocking Lounge:  This is in fact quite a trendy burlesque lounge in South Wales and for sure they are not lacking any style.  To answer my questions about why they chose this name, this is what they had to say on Twitter about this:

"This exactly what we are about – going against the norm and doing the unexpected.  Our guests feel like they’re a secret society!  A name is just a name until you fill it with meaning by however you use it.  I took it (the name) from Bluestocking Society, the 1400s society founded in Venice by erudite men and women."

Tricity Vogue photographed by Gavin Mecaniques

Tricity Vogue :  Another interesting personality is a jazz and cabaret singer, Tricity.  She is also the co-founder of the Blue Stockings Society cabaret and burlesque sorority in London, UK.

I asked about what this expression means to her and this was her reply on Twitter: "To me blue stockings mean a combination of clever and sexy, with a healthy dose of rebellion thrown in."  What a perfect way to put it!  She wrote the best detailed history article of what blue stocking really means and where it came from.  You can read it here.

 

Links

Thank you to those who contributed to this post:

Falbala Stockings – a source of crafty and fashionable stockings in many fashion colours, including blue.

http://www.falbala.co.uk/ (UK online store)

Blue Stockings Lounge – a dynamic burlesque and alternative cabaret lounge offering a variety of shows, events, classes/workshops and custom parties.

http://bluestockinglounge.com/ (South Wales)

Tricity Voque – one of a kind vintage jazz and cabaret singer, ukulele player, co-founder of the Blue Stockings Society in London.

http://www.tricityvogue.com/ (London)

Blue Stockings Society –  London’s cabaret and burlesque sorority, founded by a cabaret performer Tricity Voque and an international burlesque clown Audacity Chutzpah.  They are a regular Time Out Critics Choice and their nights have been dubbed "London’s most celebrated sorority" with "the best line-up in town."

http://bluestockingssociety.wordpress.com (London)

 

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1938 – stockings body paint salon!

July 11, 2012 under Vintage

What are these women doing?

They are getting stockings painted on their legs.  In 1938 nylon stockings became rare because all production was needed for the war to make parachutes.

Such salons had stockings paint in all different shades and they would even draw a backseam with a special tool.  You can learn more about this in the history section of this blog.

Why is Cuban Heel so hard to find?

June 28, 2012 under Vintage

Such stockings with a Cuban Heel can be still purchased from several brands offered on StockingsHQ website.

Do you ever wonder the same thing, how come this practical and beautiful feature became almost obsolete?  Throughout my life I wore probably thousands pairs of pantyhose and stockings, but I only had one pair of pantyhose with a Cuban heel by Pierre Cardin.  I decided to ask StockingsHQ about the Cuban heel on Twitter.  To my surprise, I’ve got a very informative response.

Question:  Why do you think Cuban heel became so rare?  It increases durability.

Answer by StockingsHQ:  These machines are all now very old and very difficult to maintain, and production is a very painstaking process.  It is therefore very hard to make them at a reasonable cost for the mass market.  Hence all the big companies have stopped  production and the only machines still running are in the care of smaller specialist companies like Gio, Eleganti and Cervin.  Even then parts are hard to come by and it’s very hard to recruit the specialist staff required.  Thankfully, though, they do persist against all the odds and I’m grateful for that every day!!

www.stockingshq.com 

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Backseam: the only pattern not to lose popularity over the years

June 25, 2012 under Vintage

gio cuban heel fully fashioned stockingsThe only pattern to successfully outlive all turbulence  in history of women’s hosiery, without losing its popularity, is the backseam.  Sexual, not vulgar, it decorates legs like an exclamation mark, immediately attracting attention.

It even looks like some brands, like Gio or Cervin, carved out a special niche of customers who appreciate the traditional design of a fully-fashioned stocking.

Cosmetic backseam (just a straight line at the back) is relatively not hard to find if you live in a big city with plenty of department stores.  But fully-fashioned stockings are a different story.

I personally have never seen fully-fashioned stockings for sale in any retail location.  If it wouldn’t be for online hosiery stores, I would probably have no chance of getting my hands on one of those at all.

Symbol of Aristocracy – some history highlights

June 19, 2012 under Vintage

The first woman to put on stockings was Markiza de Pompadour in the 18th century.  She was the lady of Ludovik XV and for all the women around she was like an icon of style.  So all the rest followed, excited with this new trend.

Other famous women, like French Catherine de’ Medici and her neighbour Elizabeth I from England, both wore stockings for warmth and for adoration from their male admires.  Since then, hosiery is symbol of individuality and aristocracy.  Only the rich could afford to have it.

Still, hosiery remains to be a garment of high class and professionalism.  I look back to those times when hosiery was a distinction between an aristocrat lady and a peasant girl.  Knowing the history makes it more meaningful to complete my look with a pair of sheer plain pantyhose – I am keeping this wonderful tradition alive.

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Spick and Span Magazine – Vintage Lingerie

April 14, 2012 under Vintage

I am glad to point out that now I own an original copy of Spick and Span thanks to my fan who sent me these scans!  He shipped me the original.  It was a breath-taking experience to hold something that beautiful from the 1960’s.

I also couldn’t believe how real these British pin up girls looked.  They had sincere smiles and regular bodies, not like the cookie-cutter girls these days with a blank gaze in the magazines.

Spick and Span was a British magazine in 1960’s of women showing off their knickers, stockings, and bras.  At that time there was no pantyhose just yet, only stockings and garter belts.  One of my friends from the Netherlands has sent these scanned pictures and I am so pleased to be able to share these vintage pin up photos with you.

You can click on the photos to see enlarged version to read the text.

 

Besides lovely garter belts and stockings, I am drawn to the fact that these women are real people with a spark in their eyes and genuine smiles.  I am very grateful to get these photos from Spick and Span magazine and to be able to share them with you.

Later Gerard sent me a few copies to treasure!  I keep a Spick and Span magazine that tucked into a picture frame in my bedroom and this is the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up.  I love it!  My favourite photo is of a girl wearing a wreath with a fun story to go along with it.  Maybe I’ll scan it for you some day.

My Video Reading Spick and Span Magazine

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