Stockings were the original hosiery to wear until the 1 […]
Stockings were the original hosiery to wear until the 1960s when pantyhose was created which is more convenient to don and does not slip down like stockings do. Stockings (and pantyhose) added a semi transperant layer of silk or nylon to smooth out the appearance of legs and helps hide blemishes. This gives a more unified look to the skin from far away. Stockings over pantyhose also had a more elegant appearance over pantyhose. Cover less area of the leg and can be more hygienic as the exposed thigh has less contact with fabric reducing sweating. Also, in hot days, this gives the exposed thighs area of cooling wheras pantyhose doesn’t. This is a moderately big factor as the femoral artery is a major blood vessel and is one of the areas that can cool off quicker. Also, for “other” things, it could be easier to do these “other” things that would be a bit slower for pantyhose users *cough* use the restroom and have a little private fun with a partner *cough*.
Construction was more simple back then and they had to be assembled from a single fabric. This resulted in a back seam. There are very few actual stockings that have real sams, but fake ones are added due to an aesthetic elegance to them. Basically, for fashion purposes.
A back seam of a stocking visible directly behind the leg
The actual garmet that covers the legs have varying lengths, but to my knowledge, they are usually thigh highs, because they usually are high up the leg to have the fastener hid from view while wearing a skirt. The top of the stocking is called the band and originally had function, but is now more of a fashion design. These are considered underwear, so it would be inappropriate to show these off in formal or work events.
The band (the matte black visble in the slit) has a function to hold up the stocking. Wearing sockings in this fashion is considered indecent back then, but is now more of a fashion statement. Still, don’t wear it like this to work or a formal party.
What is the band used for? Back then they had to be held up by something called a suspender, a garment attached to band to hold up stockings. These were belts worn around the waists of whoever was wearing it and they have four or more sets of belts attached per leg. This has fallen out of use for practical purposes, but is still worn fashionably.
A four suspender belt
The stockings at the time had a band around the top where these were attached. These bands could also be held up by garters themselves, an elastic band worn around the leg to prevent the stocking or hose from running down. You may be familiar with garter tossing. This uses actual force to keep the stockings up. These again are more fashion today and have fallen out of practical use.
A Garter used to hold up stockings are also more of a fashion and wedding tradition
Stockings eventually had a new technology to hold up without any assistance or exert large amounts of pressure and they are simply called, hold ups. They look like regular stockings, but has a silicone band to keep the stockings in place. This band is currently in use today, but I am unsure if it could still be worn practically. They are quite fashionable though as some have elegant lace designs and a fake back seam.