A Question of Hosiery

October 18, 2011

Hello vintage friends,

I have started wearing real back-seam stockings lately along with a nice stretchy girdle (to conceal any evidence of 3 kids!) equipped with garter clips. How on earth do you get the back seams of the stockings to stay straight? You hardly ever see vintage artwork of women with wiggly lines up the back of their legs, ha ha. Also, is there a good way of attaching the stockings to the garter belt? Right now I have a very clumsy bend/grope/look backwards in the mirror method which usually results in sweating off most of my makeup.

Thanks! – Joni

  1. I have a stretchy vintage girdle, which I attach stockings to. As I am tall, and stockings never are, I clip the stockings on and then pull the girdle up like knickers. I have tried the “bend/grope/look backwards” method…without success!!! 🙂

  2. I usually clip the back one (or both, as in the previous comment) on before I put the girdle on. That way you know that it’s dead centre, easy peasy!

  3. But how do you clip the back one on first? The back clip is offset, it’s not directly centered on the, ahem, back thigh region. Or do you just know where/how to clip it?

  4. The trick is…Bend over in front of the mirror! That way, you can see the backs of your legs and then pull them up from there.
    Oh, and scrunching up the stocking right to the toes and then pulling them up and unravelling helps you control the seam.

    Then – you sit down to do the clips up and only do the back one last. Yes it requires twisting!

    I’m talking about proper vintage nylons here – they are a bit more fragile and the sitting down means that they dont break when you bend your knees (has happened to me heaps of times!)

  5. I have no practical experience, but from vintage writings, I’ve gathered the first trick is to check them *constantly* (origin of women spending so much time in the restroom together?). And, if one wants to be absolutely sure her seams are straight: paint them on with gravy instead of wearing hose.

    Which is to say: I don’t think they had that much easier of a time with it back then either.

  6. Ah. The clip hangs dead center of your thigh, but you aren’t supposed to clip it there, You’re supposed to clip it to the outside of your thigh, partly I think so you’re not always sitting on it and partly because it keeps your hose from twisting quite so much.
    But it still required constant vigilance if you want to keep them straight.

  7. It seems very strange that your back clip is back centre as garters were not worn in that position. If you imagine yourself as a clock face with your centre front as 12 and your centre back as 6, you want your back-side clips at around 7 to 8 o’clock and 4 to 5 o’clock. So towards the back of the thigh without being behind you. Probably where your side back seams fall on a princess line sheath dress. It was this position that achieved that poker straight line on those seamed stockings.

    You should find them easier to adjust in this position too. Are your garter clips removable? If not I would detach them and resew them in the correct position.

    Two other stocking tips from the vault, don’t forget your kid gloves when putting on your stockings to stop snagging/laddering and freeze them for a couple of hours before wearing/storing which is also helps prevent snagging, etc (refreeze after every wash).

  8. And this is why they canned the garter belt when someone finally got creative and designed the pantie-tops with hooks that held stockings with holes at the tops. Then it was just a short jump to pantie-hose, which allowed us a lot more time in the ladies room for gossiping.

    I remember wearing stockings with a garter belt in the late 60s (no seams in the stockings, though), and when I sat down, my mini-skirt hiked up so far that my garters showed! I was so humiliated. I don’t think I wore stockings again until the pantie-top version came along. Ratty hippie bellbottom jeans were much more comfy.

    But you are very brave for trying stockings with SEAMS! I hope you don’t look too good in them, though, so that fashion catches on again. Or else I’ll have to dig out my bellbottoms.

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