Today is July 28, exactly 5 years since one of the greatest contributors to the hosiery community has passed away from cancer – Sharri Ratcliff, otherwise known as Sweet n Pantyhose. She’s been cremated and part of her ashes were spread in some of her favourite spots and the rest are kept by her husband.
Let’s spend a minute of silence together, remembering her.
I asked her husband, Robert Ratcliff, a.k.a. Outlaw, if there is anything he would like to mention. Here is what he said:
“…(July) 28th 3:40pm EST she passed over peacefully with me and all 5 of our children around her. She regularly contacts me in dreams and through psychics. She starts off mentioning that she will be the first one I see when I pass over.” Robert Ratcliff
I also wanted to share a few beautiful comments I got on social media when I informed my audience that this day is coming up. Here is what they had to say:
“I remember her work. It was so sad and is still so sad to think about. She fought hard, but cancer is a horrible miserable bitch. I still have her review page saved on my eBay account. Thanks for making this post. I hope her widower is doing okay. They seemed like a very happy couple.” Matthew Wilson, via Facebook
“I had several conversations with her, she was truly a sweet lady who had the pantyhose gene.” Dom Oregon, via Facebook
“She was such a wonderful and genuine person.” Nylons99, via Twitter, who met her in Las Vegas in person
“She was a beautiful woman with great legs in pantyhose. She is always missed and I enjoyed her work very much.” Joel Barber, via Twitter
“Her name said it all. She always managed to have mischievous fun in her hose and was a tireless promoter of women’s embrace of them.” David, via Twitter
“She was the first pantyhose girl I found who embraced it. I sure was sad for her husband. They had a really good thing going.” Shawn, via Twitter
“Oh no, where have I been. I didn’t even know. She was a very lovely lass who had a great passion for tights.” Linda, via Twitter
A few months ago Alan from Canada wrote to me the greatest compliment of all. I was pretty moved by it because for me to be seen somewhere near the level that Sweet reached is a big accomplishment.
“Do you remember the lady who went by SweetN‘ Pantyhose? I always viewed you as her successor after she sadly passed away from cancer. Like Sweet, you fill the role of non xxx rated pantyhose appreciation that both women and men can enjoy.” Alan, Canada
I was just browsing through Vogue and I found a few photos of Manolo Blahnik designs involving his shoes paired perfectly with stockings. This Spanish designer for sure knows how to put the two together. Latex, nylon, or who knows what, it adds that fantasy dimension to the image.
Manolo Blahnik started his career in the 70s and brought back elegance and femininity by popularizing and perfecting the stiletto heel once again. Even though platforms were extremely in fashion in those days, he just didn’t like them and up to this very day you will find any platform shoes in his collection. In his opinion, platform shoes don’t go well with female body proportions.
by Auria Storm, Calgary-based alternative pin up model and gamer
The first time I saw Harley Quinn trapped in an alley and smile that roguish smile while screaming for her babies, I fell in love. Here was a character that was intelligent, independent and yet still madly in love. My first anti-hero, first villainess crush and from that moment on and there was never any looking back. Batman, was a hero, but my real hero was Dr. Harleen Quinzel aka Harley Quinn.
It’s been years since that moment (no speculating on how many!) and I now own a sizeable collection of Harley Quinn memorabilia. This includes starting a Harley Quinn themed leg sleeve. I currently only have the re-vamped Suicide Squad, Harley, but it will soon include a classic Harley Quinn on my lower calf.
What prompted me to get a themed tattoo? My Harley Quinn piece is an inspiration to me. A reminder that you can have it all, lose everything and still start over and find love. Harley Quinn might be insane, but there are a few lessons that she shares with us all. Love can be found in the unlikeliest of place, you don’t choose who you love and most of all, always be yourself. Now, I’m not saying Harley and The Joker have a healthy relationship, but I think the authors have addressed that with the new B52 release. Harley is finally moving on and taking care of herself, something that probably should have happened long ago.
It’s funny the people I have met because of my tattoo and my occasional cosplay. Others who understand that Harley Quinn, a character meant to be a one off, is something more than just a joke. For me, Harley Quinn is an inspiration and I’ll dedicate a whole leg to her in true crazy fandom style.
Do you want to see more of Auria Storm? Please follow her on social media and check her website. She is also open to doing paid themed photoshoots.
I am pleased to present this interview with Anatoly Borodin, a photographer and an entrepreneur from Moscow. He runs a popular pantyhose fetish-oriented website pro-kolgotki. It has been 10 years since he started photographing women in pantyhose and he is currently working on publishing a high quality printed photo book of his best work. This is a crowdfunding campaign to spread a word about the beauty of women in pantyhose. Anatoly proved to be the most interesting person to interview so far. Some of his answers took me by surprise, some made me disagree, some made me wonder whether he is the next Pierre Molinier, and some made me realize that my degree of pantyhose obsession is no match to his. To sum it up, Anatoly left me with even more questions than answers. Enjoy the read!
How do you select your models? Is it a requirement for them to love pantyhose? I remember helping to dress models at a Vancouver fashion show and many had no idea about basic concepts like “backseam is supposed to be at the back” type of thing.
I look for amateur girls who want to have good photos of themselves in order to publish them on their own blog and to improve their self-esteem. These are ordinary girls from Moscow, Kiev and other Russian and Ukrainian cities.
There’s no requirement to love pantyhose. If it was in place – I wouldn’t find any models. LOL.
I simply publish a job post in fashion & modelling communities with explanation that ‘we shoot underwear and pantyhose’. Then I make a selection of the best girls who have replied to my job post. Usually it is 50% of all the replies. Then I contact them and ask if they’re OK to pose in underwear. At this point another 50% of girls leave. The reason for double-checking is that models are usually young absent-minded girls with ‘a wind between their ears’, honestly. So they reply to all castings and all job posts without even looking at the details. Calling a potential model and double-confirming the type of shooting is essential – it saves a lot of time and energy.
I do not tell that the session is of certain fetish type. Because it’s not! Surprised?
Yes, my sessions are NOT related to pantyhose fetish. Don’t want to go deep into details, just check the vocabulary’s definition of ‘fetish’ and you’ll get the clue. My sessions are about women and their true tender beauty. Pantyhose are just a garment that emphasises the femininity of certain girl in a certain session.
Yes, women DO NOT KNOW A THING ABOUT PANTYHOSE. For more than 15 years I’ve been researching this alluring riddle, testing hundreds of pairs of pantyhose, learning the hosiery industry on all continents. Completed hundreds of interviews with women of different cultures and ages learning their attitude and wishes towards nylons.
My conclusion is that women do not really care about hosiery. They purchase random tights at random places without looking at either the brand name or the visual quality.
I don’t judge. I understand them completely. The woman’s world contains so many more important things like health, relations, and daily tasks, looking after kids and so on. The list is endless. A pair pantyhose is at the very end on that list, if there at all.
I adore seeing women wearing pantyhose in everyday life, there aren’t so many of them around. That’s why I came up with my project’s idea – to create more real women wearing pantyhose. It’s all right that they wear pantyhose only at my sessions. But the pantyhose wearing index it’s already above zero. Do you get my point?
This is our reality, and there’s nothing good or bad about that.
Is there a type of pantyhose that is the most difficult to photograph? There are a lot of little details to watch for during any photoshoot, especially the lighting.
Surprisingly, seamless sheer pantyhose is the most difficult to shoot, like Wolford Fatal 15. I love the idea of seamless pantyhose, but it is almost impossible to show them in a beautiful way without going to too explicit images.
The thing is that seamless pantyhose are unthinkable to be worn with any underwear. The seamless concept is so super-sexy and so super-feminine that I can’t allow my model to have anything under them. Any kind of panties look weird and odd under a pair of seamless pantyhose.
Another disadvantage of seamless pantyhose is that they’re too matt and too thin to be clearly visible on the photographs. So it usually takes a lot of efforts to place the right lighting and take a shot under the right angle to make a good photo.
That’s why I don’t shoot seamless pantyhose in my sessions anymore. Too much of hassle of balancing the image between being feminine, tender and pure and the explicitness.
Do you retouch your photographs? I’d like to know where you stand on this, some fashion photographers pride themselves on never releasing an image without first spending a few hours on it in Photoshop.
Yes I always retouch every photograph. One photo takes from 10 to 30 minutes of retouching. One issue of my magazine contains up to 400 photographs. So one issue release takes from 66 to 200 hours of my daily work.
I love what I do, so I’m working without weekends, and at night. But don’t get delusional, a good photograph that people would want to pay money for is always based on hard work and years of experience. Throw away the stories of ‘get rich in one month in two clicks’.
AND! Do not ever listen to any ‘fashion photographers’ who say that. Everybody retouches photos. Without retouching any photo look ‘too ordinary’ . It’s a general trap that many starting photographers get into… sometimes for life.
The whole point of artistic depictions that people would like looking at is in ‘creating a vivid unusual image that one can’t find in everyday life’. It has a lot to do with the increased contrast, vividness, color balance and many other things.
It is a known fact that amateur photos get way more attention on social media than studio photos. Why do you think this is the case?
In my opinion amateur photos are quite popular because of higher level of intimacy on them. A photo of yourself taken in your private kitchen or your bedroom is much more intimate and ‘true’ than any studio photo. But popular doesn’t mean profitable. People want to watch amateur photos for free, and don’t want to pay.
Do you have any entertaining photoshoot stories? One time I was at a fashion show in Toronto where the model was in such a rush to put on that jacket, she walked out with the hanger still on her back.
Can’t recall any specific funny story. Mainly because of my sessions are completely directed and pre-arranged. So I’m the conductor of the set and can do whatever I think is reasonable.
There was one plus size girl who brought her red evening dress but didn’t bring any heels. I asked her about what she was thinking about when she packed an evening dress and her sneakers… So we had to shoot her in that dress and with bare feet. The result was still nice.
Oh! Let me tell you the biggest fun: girls do not have a clue of what does them and what doesn’t fit them.
Women do not have a clue of matching pantyhose and underwear colors. They think ‘it’s OK’ and ‘nobody sees it anyway’.
But men see. If you’re a girl reading this, get this clear: yesterday you wore stockings under your skirt and I guarantee most men you met on that day knew you were wearing stockings. Don’t ask how. We, men, train our skills.
If you’re a man reading this, you’d probably agree with me.
Moreover, when you’re young you never know in whose bed you will end up today. It’s OK. But in order to look holistic, tasty and stylish – please, PLEASE (PLEASE!) think of matching your underwear and pantyhose colors.
There’s nothing more tasteless than a white panties under a black sheer pantyhose. It just degrades you down to a country redneck girl (is that OK to write like that? LOL).
Black pantyhose = black/dark panties.
Nude pantyhose = nude/white/light panties
Colourful pantyhose = up to you, think of and try the complimentary colors.
(Red vs blue, yellow vs violet, pink vs sky-blue, orange vs dark-green… should I continue or you’ve got the point?)
Not saying about all other accessories, belts, bracelets, watches, earrings, and lipstick’s color matching the whole outlook.
Some girls come to my sessions having their periods. This is awkward, but to me it is funny! I mean no offense. I’m laughing at myself getting into such an awkward situation. It’s inconvenient for the girl in first place. And when she doesn’t feel secure, the photos would be a complete crap. I can’t even press the shutter button when I see a tense insecure girl in front of me.
When a girl decides to come for an underwear session at her ‘days’, this means she just wants money. I understand and don’t judge. But we won’t get any good result out of that. There’s no easy solution for this, because I can’t ask my potential models about their periods over the phone. It would be too awkward. So all I have is to rely on girls’ discretion, and to laugh at such situations.
Looks like you are an open-minded kind of guy. What is your opinion of men who wear pantyhose for comfort and enjoyment? This is probably one of the most common questions I get.
If that’s making you feel good, then IT IS GOOD.
Yes I wore pantyhose and I found it exciting. The good pantyhose make your legs look and feel so smooth and sleek. I regret I can not wear skirt because when pantyhose are under your pants the legs can’t touch each other. Although I’ve tried it at home. I believe that this sensation of your legs covered by sheer pantyhose touching each other is very important! And very revealing! Like the whole unknown universe opens before you! A universe of women’s feelings, sensations, thoughts, and motivations. This experience has allowed me to feel what women feel, and as a result to better understand them.
And here I’d like to say that I understand WHY women hate pantyhose. I really do! Because after wearing a pair of sheer pantyhose for 10-12 hours they bring a lot of discomfort at the end of the day. I felt that my legs were like in a cage. And especially the sweat that have spread along the legs, making pantyhose feel like something wet and rubbery.
BUT ONLY THE LOW-QUALITY ONES! Hear me out! Only the low quality pantyhose bring that kind of discomfort by the end of the day! The good ones, for instance Wolford Satin Opaque 50, or Neon 40, are so luxurious that you wouldn’t want to take them off. I’ve experimented with many women of different ages and ethnicity. All of them declined to take them off after a 4-hour long session.
Listen to me; it’s a man telling you this stuff. Don’t take this as an advertisement, I simply haven’t found anything better than Wolford during my 15 year extensive research of hosiery.
I’ve even tried wearing laced sexy panties, but that’s too inconvenient for a man simply because of the physiological reasons. It could give you some bad consequences with your health in a long run. I looked at myself in a mirror wearing laced panties and sheer pantyhose, and it was the most miserable view in my life. I felt it was all too fake. It was like a wishful act – trying to be someone you’re not. That moment I decided that I prefer seeing beautiful underwear and luxury pantyhose on real women.
We all have both male and female essence in us. Seeking for another gender’s essence in you is normal and good for finding yourself. Usually, normally, we go through that sex/orientation thing at our middle childhood when trying on another sex’s garments, shoes, clothing. It’s normal and it’s very important in forming your orientation. That’s what I believe in.
I’d like to emphasise this to all men interested in pantyhose, who are insecure about their interest. If something makes you feel good, and it doesn’t affect anyone else, then it’s nothing but the good thing.
This interview was conducted by Jessica, the founder of this website. Please note that views expressed in this interview are Anatoly’s only and they may or may not reflect the views on the same subjects of the Fantasy Stockings team.
Disclaimer: I love all the festivities of the Calgary Stampede, with exception of the horse races and rodeo. My Stampede experience did not include cheering over cruelty.
I wanted until the last day of the Calgary Stampede to post whatever photos I got from there. It was a lot of fun this year and I enjoyed all the crafts shows, art shows, and farm animal exhibits. I even got to watch some beautiful Clandestine horses all dressed up.
I went there 3 times and I got to see only 5 women in pantyhose. As you see, 3 of them I managed to photograph and the shot without shoes beside saddles is of my own legs in ultra sheer pantyhose.
Candid Photos of Women from Calgary Stampede
I saw this girl actually outside of the Stampede grounds, she was at a shopping mall and she said that she was dressed up for the event. I ran into some salon after her, complimenting her on how nice she looks in her denim outfit. She was very happy to pose for a photo.
Here is a photo of a young woman wearing all black despite the heat. She had a particular clothing style that she didn’t part with regardless of all the gingham shirt and ripped denim shorts hype around her.
This shot was taken of the sales girls at the Stampede, they had some art booth and both of them were happy to show off their cool legwear. As you see, one was wearing cool bi-denier tights (with a small run in them unfortunately) and the other one put on mix & match knee socks. A lot of these sales staff were not even from Calgary, I spoke to several who flew in from Toronto just for the event.
My Own Legs & Calgary Stampede Pedicure
My own legs, of course! If you look closely, I even did a Calgary Stampede pedicure with the CS letters. There are better close up shots of that in an earlier post. I wore 5 den pantyhose and flats just because I knew I’ll be doing a lot of walking and I wanted to be comfortable.
Compression Hosiery on a Calgary Woman
On my last day of the Stampede I saw a mature woman in some really nice shiny tights and I immediately thought to be Wolford Neon 40. My curiosity had no boundaries and I willingly ran into a “miracle” beauty cream sales booth after that lady and had to hang out there a little bit until I could find a moment to ask her, while an awfully rude and pushy Israeli sales person was circling me like a shark.
Finally I couldn’t wait anymore, and since any kind of rudeness seemed to be quite common at that booth, I interrupted another one of those sales sharks who was putting on some cream on that lady in order to ask my important question – “I am so sorry, are those pantyhose you are wearing happen to be Wolford Neon 40? They look expensive.”
That lady confirmed that those are in fact expensive, but those are not Wolford. She pays $30/pair for compression hosiery. I was really surprised actually that compression pantyhose could look so good because somehow I wouldn’t think that something medicinal could be also glamorous.
I had to leave and I couldn’t talk to that nice woman any longer, but I do wish with all my heart that she didn’t in fact proceed and buy anything at that booth. While I was waiting they smeared something under my eye to show “how the miracle cream engaged the muscles and the hyaluronic acid in it smoothes out the skin”, but in fact it was something like glue that started tightening on my skin and I had to wash my face later to get rid of that peeling layer. This is a cut throat industry and the sales staff make no money unless they get you somehow to buy something, regardless of the method used.
… and the Lack of Compression Hosiery
Yesterday I went to a Stampede Breakfast in my community with my neighbour. There was a realtor there at her booth and I got to see her legs, the part showing under the hem of her dress and the start of her cowboy boots. I said that she has hairy legs to my neighour and he had a look and said that her legs are just simply blue. I went to have another look and both of us were right – black unshaved hair and varicose veins together! Why go like this to an event where you are trying to market yourself? She’d look perfectly fine in jeans like the rest of the crowd.
In conclusion here I’d like to say that the whole point of the Stampede wear is to embrace the cowboy lifestyle and dress up like a farm girl. It’s unfair to even expect anyone to think about city clothing like pantyhose and heels when this is the spirit of the event, hence here is the reason for such a few sightings. There is a place and time for everything.
These legs belong to my friend, Tamara. She agreed to take a few photos for me of the leggings imitation tights called Morena by Fiore. Here are the photos of what they actually look like on the legs. It looks like it’s a mix of 20 and 40 den. There is white embroidery on the ankle.
Do you think candid photos like that are easy to get out of friends? No way, I waited for over a year for these to be finally done. Still, I would prefer to have photos outdoors in daylight just in order to see what it looks like in reality.
If somehow I give a pair of pantyhose or leggings to a woman and tell her that in exchange for it I want photos, she just forgets completely disregards the fact that she still owes something for it. Let’s just say that without a formal agreement to such a barter arrangement I am no longer doing that.
Just recently there was an article published here about taking your dog to work. Initially I really wanted to have a male pantyhose wearer do some photos with the dog, just as something different. If workplaces are accepting to dogs, why wouldn’t they be to males wearing hosiery? Well, that didn’t go so well, many people promised but none submitted. Eventually I gave up on trying to persuade men to pose with their dog and asked Helene to do it. She did a really nice article and sent me several photos to choose from.
Alright, finally back on topic from my little rant there. If you want to try out these leggings imitation tights, here they are – Morena by Fiore.
Here comes my late night rant about the growing popularity of leggings. Please share your thoughts too!
By Jessica from Calgary, Canada (the founder of Fantasy Stockings)
A few days ago I went to get my dental cleaning and I asked my hygienist, a young Caucasian Canadian-born woman in her early 20’s, if she wears pantyhose. She knows that this is what I sell, so the question didn’t come off as weird. She told me the truth, the way it is – no, she doesn’t wear it since childhood!
She started thinking about it and said that it looks like the whole trend just went away. When she was a child, her mom would dress her up in tights and dresses, but now she prefers to wear leggings instead. I thought about it some more and asked her, what would she wear if she wants to dress up really sexy for a nice date in November? She said that she would still wear leggings under her dress, but together with boots, so that the foot is not visible.
Does anyone still wear pantyhose in her family? Well, her mom used to, but stopped now. Her grandma still does. I made a joke that perhaps her grandmother could be my potential customer and she laughed. This popped into my head a few minutes ago before writing this post because I was browsing some dress code etiquette about shoes and hosiery on Youtube and my search lead me directly to a channel called “women over 50”.
Sadly this is the trend for many Canadian-born women. As I mentioned previously on my blog, another dental assistant from that same Calgary-based office, a 23 year old young woman, told me straight that she has never owned a pair of pantyhose in her life and at a recent wedding she attended the only person in pantyhose was the bride’s mother.
I would like to hear what you think on this subject. It does seem to me like leggings are taking over when it comes to the younger generation of Canadian youth. At any trade show I go to there will be at least a couple of vendors with racks of leggings in all sorts of tasteless circus patterns.
I have recently read on the internet that dogs at a work place help to relieve stress. I have a dog – Nise. She is big and cuddly, and well, that day I had plenty of small but urgent things that were spoiling my life. Why not take Nise to work then? My colleagues seem fine with it, as well as my boss.
Early in the morning we set off to work. Nise was happy to go, she is usually happy to go anywhere even if she is not actually needed there. This time she was welcomed, running like crazy, testing all the puddles that were left after the rain, and a thought crawled into my head, that probably taking her wasn’t the best idea. Nise was supposed to relieve my stress at work, not necessarily on the way there.
Then, the moment of truth came. When we arrived to our comfortable small office, the thought that was trying to crawl into my head became clearer: I should have left my dog at home, as I usually do! She disliked the idea of staying in a small room after running freely on the street and hid under the table of my colleague. Even cookies couldn’t convince her to come out, Nise was yelping and insisting on staying under the table.
Finally my boss arrived. Who knows what entered my dog’s head, maybe she mistook the poor lady for someone else, but Nise flashed to her happily as if asking to be saved, and jumped on her. At that moment, I understood that I will be fired… the expensive tights that my boss was wearing were torn with sharp canine nails. Also, I knew that today my boss had to go to an important meeting…
I will not describe here all that I had to hear out about my dog, myself, and my poor idea of taking the dog to the office. I was told to take her away, immediately. On the way home I was thinking what to do further, if I shall come to work today or I shall put all off till tomorrow. Or maybe better to look for another job?
In the meantime, Nise was running around like crazy testing rain puddles, happily wagging her tail. I was looking at her and feeling relieved. Yes, dogs really relieve stress, but not at work.
Dress code: to have or not to have? As a sales manager I have been thinking about it a lot because my boss welcomes all possible styles out there.
I decided to wear smart casual clothes and sometimes mix styles (for meetings or trade shows), even though other employees are still changing their look every day. As for me, I like casual clothes, as I can relax and not think about all the discomfort a while blouse or shoes can cause.
I remember myself at school, when I liked outstanding bright colours, when I could put on pink tights and felt good about myself. But times change… as well as circumstances. What was good for a young girl doesn’t seem fine for an adult woman. What was good for school isn’t OK for an office.
Though my former habits haven’t died completely – I still like diversifying my smart casual with bright accessories. With tights, of course – I love fishnets, though they aren’t appropriate for all situations in life, just like some of my favourite fancy necklaces and purses.
During formal meetings with clients, I am wearing business clothes and nude tights. In general, dress code is a good thing as it brings order and gives the feeling of “belonging”, as long as it is not boring.