Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stalking the Stocking

The visual impact of stockings is erotic and forceful. When I was a child I was so fascinated by the images of stockings in old lingerie ads that I painted them onto my Barbie dolls. I've been doing stocking peels onstage since I was in high school, going to Rocky Horror and portraying a poetry-reciting stripper character I had created called Prunella DuBois. I even got into trouble one day in high school for wearing stockings under my dress instead of pantyhose. As a dominatrix I found some quite unusual uses for my stockings, and accumulated bagsful of used stockings for nefarious purposes. I'm not a stocking snob, but I enjoy a good stocking peel more than the average person, and I have more garter belts than I can count.

Jo Boobs Weldon Peeling at the Toronto Burlesque Festival
Above: Me peeling out of red stockings from Frederick's of Hollywood at The Toronto Burlesque Festival. Photo copyright Mopo.

galstocking1
Above: Gal Friday teasing with an authentic vintage stocking in the School of Burlesque studio at The Slipper Room. Photo by Don Spiro.

ditastocking
Above: Dita Von Teese in her custom diamond backseam stockings. Photo from Secrets in Lace

houseofhollandbonetights_large
Above--Not stockings, but pretty darn cool. Tights available from Peek Brooklyn.

When I teach my stocking peel classes, I'm often surprised to find that some of my students have never worn a pair of stockings, and it takes a bit of schooling to get them into a pair. For them, as well as for readers of this blog and other stocking-curious folks, I am presenting a brief glossary of stocking terms and types. This won’t make you an expert on stockings, but it should help you to buy the kind of stockings you are trying to buy.

Since this is not intended to be comprehensive, I would love for readers to post pictures and comments! Feel free to link your favorite stocking sources and resources!

Cuban Heel-- Cuban heeled stockings have a reinforced heel that rises up the back of the ankle into a taper that is squared-off at the top. Many packagers of stockings use the terms “Cuban heel” and “French heel” interchangeably, so it is crucial to check out the picture on the package to determine which you are getting, but many stockings aficionados refer only to the pointed top as the French, and to the squared off as the Cuban.

Denier—a Measure of the fineness of the strands in the knit of the stocking. The lower the number, the lighter, more delicate, and more sheer the stocking. Sheers are typically 15-20 denier. Legwear becomes opaque at about 70-100 denier.

French Heel (pointed, but refer to image)—French heeled stockings have a reinforced heel that rises up the back of the ankle into a point. Many packagers of stockings use the terms “Cuban heel” and “French heel” interchangeably, so it is crucial to check out the picture on the package to determine which you are getting, but many stockings aficionados refer only to the pointed top as the French, and to the squared off as the Cuban.

Fishnet Stockings--stockings in an elastic open knit that looks like a net.

Fully Fashioned—A fully-fashioned stocking is knit flat and is fully fashioned in the shape of a leg.

Garters—Also known as suspenders (UK). Elastic devices for holding up stockings. When circular, as in the 1920s, they would go around the top of a stocking as a tight band to hold them up. Now they are most frequently straps of elastic with clips on the end attached to a band that goes around the waist, called a Garter Belt.

Hold-ups (generally British terminology for Thigh-highs)—Same as Stay-ups. Stockings with bands at the top that holds them up without garters. The band may simply be thicker, or it may be lined with silicone or rubber to grip the leg.

Hosiery—Legwear.

Lycra—the miracle fiber of stretch.

Nylons—stockings, usually made of nylon. Nylon does not stretch.

Pantyhose—stockings with a panty attached. The panty may be sheer to waist, reinforced, patterned, control, or a variety of shapes.

RHT (Reinforced Heel and Toe)—More densely knit toe and heel on a stocking to keep it from running at areas of stress.

RT (Reinforced Toe)-- More densely knit toe on a stocking to keep it from running at areas of stress.

Seam—the line running up the back of the leg, which may be a design woven into the knit or an actual seam.

Stay-Ups(generally British terminology for Thigh-highs)— -- Same as Hold-ups. Stockings with bands at the top that holds them up without garters. The band may simply be thicker, or it may be lined with silicone or rubber to grip the leg.

Stockings—Legwear without a panty or elastic top, which must be held up by garters. Usually sheer.

Stretch Stocking—a knit stocking with lycra built into it to fit a variety of leg shapes and sizes (though not one size fits all).

Suspenders—See Garters.

Thigh Highs (generally US terminology for Stay-ups)— -- Same as Hold-ups. Stockings with bands at the top that holds them up without garters. The band may simply be thicker, or it may be lined with

Tights—in the US, opaque or patterned panty hose; in the UK may be sheer.

Welt—the doubled-over top band of a stocking.

Feel free to add to the list and let us know if you have different definitions for any of these terms!

3 comments:

cristina said...

Jo this is great!!

We have ''most'' of these at PeekBrooklyn.com

xoxo

cck

Laurel Ann Walker said...

I have to say that I'm a great fan of the stocking peel. It's one of my favorite parts of any performance.
http://one-girl-vs-world.blogspot.com

Ray Ray Sunshine said...

Super post. I'm a bit of a stocking fetishist myself and I, too, favored the use of them when I was working as a domme. If you don't know this website, they have some super cute stuff: http://www.stockingirl.com/

Best,
Ray Ray