Nylon Stockings – A Fun History Lesson

Happy Nylon Stockings Day!

Wondering why there is even an unofficial holiday dedicated to such a thing?

Wonder no more!


As grizzly purveyors of all that is good in the underwear, loungewear and accessory worlds, we bears happen to a know a thing or two about good leg coverings…

Aristoc Stockings and Tights

Our current brand buddies, Aristoc, appear on our site in both Sensuous stockings and traditional tight form.


Trends come and go, but with accessories, hosiery has stayed a firm favourite from the old to the young.

It wasn’t always this way, though. In fact, before the 1800’s and the fashionable boom in breeches, it was the men bears who wore the tights!

Aristoc modern stockings are knitted using high quality yarns and then hand finished, still consisting of 86% Nylon, the revolutionary Wallace Carothers invention that changed ladies underwear forever in 1939…

The Nylon Revolution

By the end of 1940 over 64 million pairs had been sold!

FUN FACT: That same year, nylon appeared in The Wizard of Oz movie – it was used to create the tornado that carried Dorothy’s house from Kansas.

The new nylon stockings were commonly known as “nylons”. This new material brought stocking joy to the leg masses, after decades of silk stockings making the lingerie accessory a rare luxury for the wealthy.


Stockings Through The Decades

The rationing of World War II made stockings elusive once more, as the material was needed to produce parachutes, ropes and tyres. Women took to staining their legs (a la self-tanning) and drawing a pencil line down the backs of their legs so it would look like they were wearing them!

After a nationwide campaign, many women handed in their spare and used stockings to help in the war effort.

DuPont’s Lycra invention in the Fifties was yet another game-changer, when the stretch he could now add to nylon improved the fit and comfort of hosiery.

More developments came in the roaring Sixties, when a British brand brought the “hold-up” stocking to market so women could finally throw away suspender belts and the bulges they made underneath the short, tight fashion of the decade.

Stockings Versus Pantyhose

As the hemlines grew higher and higher, however, hold up stockings weren’t enough. And so came the introduction of tights (or Pantyhose as they were called in the US). Nowadays we’re used to a wide selection of tights, from bold colours and patterns to variations in shine, thickness (known as the “denier”) and material. We owe this to the Flower Power colourfulness of the 1970s.

With this development, we were introduced to seam-free stockings for the first time.


Stocking Lingo!

Here’s a brief run-down to help you shop for the best hosiery for your paws:

Pantyhose: sheer, close-fitting, cover the body from waist to feet

Stockings: also close-fitting, elastic garment covers just the foot and lower leg

Thigh Highs: very similar to stockings but thigh highs have two silicone bands on the top inside rim to keep them up without a garter belt

Tights:tight, stretchable, covers the body from the waist down

Leggings: similar to tights except without feet

Opaque: Hosiery that is made of yarn with a heavier appearance (usually 40 denier+)

Sheer: Hosiery that is see-through (usually <30 denier)

Fishnets:a wide knit like a fish net

Seamed:with a seam running up the back of the leg

Of course, in the colder Winter months, stockings won’t cut it in the leg-warming department and for that, we stock Tommy Hilfiger designer Winter 100 Denier tights!

In fact, you’ll find every style of hosiery, lingerie and designer underwear you need at UtilityBear.com 

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