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Vintage Stockings


Vintage Stockings 

Buying vintage stockings can be a little hit and miss as not only has the sizing system changed over the years, but also the way we wear stockings. During the 1940s and ‘50s stockings tended to be worn at mid thigh level as opposed to the higher upper thigh level we prefer today. Although it’s easy to work out your vintage size; they were sized by foot size; the fit and age of the stocking needs to be taken into consideration. 

How to tell the age of stockings:

  • Wrapped in very crinkly, disintegrating cellophane:1940s/50s
  • Wrapped in tissue in a box (pre 1950 unless a designer name)
  • Wrapped in cellophane (less pliable than plastic) 1950s/60s
  • Wrapped in smooth plastic: 1970s/80s

As a rough guide, if your stockings are wrapped in smooth plastic the sizing will be bigger than earlier styles, and ‘should’ fit the size stated as we like to wear stockings today: higher on the leg. For example a size 10.5 should fit a foot size 7. Anything earlier and you will need to size up unless you want to wear your stockings at a period correct height.

The 1930s and most of the 1940s was pre nylon. Stockings would be made from Silk, Rayon, Lisle or Cotton. These thicker styles would be wrapped in tissue paper, with several pairs being presented in a box. You would be able to purchase one or several pairs and the handy welt imprint would remind you of the size and style you purchased. These stockings have limited stretch and were designed to be worn far lower on the thigh than we do today.
vintage 1940s silk fully fashioned stockings by Thread Needle wrapped in branded tissue paper in a presentation box
Vintage 1940s Silk Fully Fashioned Stockings. 
Vintage 1950s nylon fully fashioned stockings in cellphane wrapper by Sweet Jane
Vintage 1950s Sweet Jane Fully Fashioned Stockings. 
 These Sweet Jane Stockings are wrapped in cellophane but the cellophone is still in very good condition. The aqua design points to being 1950s in style. The minimal design means that eye catching packaging wasn’t required to catch the buyers eye, instead these hark back to an age where a sales assistant would help you choose the right size and style for you.
Moving on to the 1960s and you can see how the packaging has changed. Stockings started to have colourful illustrations to grab the attention of customers. Some of the most iconic images were by Bear Brand who used a series of Western Style illustrations. You can also sometimes tell the age of the target audience by the colourful designs used in the swinging sixties.

Vintage 1960s fully fashioned stockings by Bear Brand in their iconic western style packaging featuring a rather glamorous cowgirl
Vintage 1960s Bear Brand Fully Fashioned Stockings
The iconic harmony point fully fashioned stockings in silver packaging
Vintage Aristoc Harmony Fully Fashioned Stockings: the most sought after style
Harmony Point Fully Fashioned Stockings by Aristoc really are the holy grail of vintage stocking finds. They were the last fully fashioned stockings to be made in the UK by a mainstream hosiery brand. From the mid 1970s onwards stocking packaging became plainer and pliable plastic bags were used. By this time most people had moved away from girdles and were now wearing suspender (garter) belts and were wearing stockings higher on their thighs. At this point, although traditional sizing was still used, any vintage stockings should be wearable without having to size up.

Foot Size 
 UK US/CA EUR Vintage Stocking Size
3 5 36 8.5
4 6 37 9
5 7 38 9.5
6 8 39 10
7 9 40 10.5
8 10 41 11

Our collection of modern made Fully Fashioned Stockings are available throughout the year. Just like their vintage sisters, they are made on Reading Knitting machines in the UK.

shop genuine fully fashioned stockings at what katie did
Our collection of modern made RHT (reinforced heel and toe) stockings are made in the same factory as our Fully Fashioned Stockings, from the same silky soft nylon. A 100% nylon invisible heel stocking, made in Italy, is also available for a more contemporary look.

shop seamless and rht nylon stockings at what katie did