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What a wonderful day today was! As you know, I’ve been planning a Cat Birthday Party for weeks in honor of my sweet baby, Dale! I sent handmade invitations out to all of our closest friends and even made my very first fish cake.
Waking up with my kitty crew usually leads to hours of cuddling in bed, but I really tried to keep it short since we had so many things to do. Even though it was Dale’s special day, I tried to show all my angels equal amounts of affection. Soon after we enjoyed breakfast, that nice girl from across the street, Erin, came by to see the kitties. Their happy little meows were all the assurance I needed to know they were purrfectly pleased with her company! Erin was kind enough to join me on my daily walk around the neighborhood to look out for stray and lost cats, and she even helped me re-fasten weathered “Lost Cat” posters! Luckily, we did not find a single stray today because I’m not sure Dale would have been thrilled to share the spotlight at his party. Once we got back to my house, we groomed every cat so they’d each look their best. Harrison, especially, took quite the liking to Erin!
Once my babies were coiffed to perfection, I barely had time to dress myself. Plus, I always have the hardest time choosing what to wear. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between what my cats like best and what looks best. Currently, most of my cat-themed tights & leggings are free of the signature snags and runs my kitties usually produce, but it was still so hard to pick a pair!
As our guests began to arrive, I couldn’t help but become a little perturbed that most of them came alone! Clearly, they didn’t realize that we had expected them to bring their cat companions. However, I’m sure it soon became obvious once everyone noticed all the cat party favors, the scratch-post circles, and the crinkle tube city. Admittedly, I was kind of disappointed, but I can’t deny that I was positively delighted to see all my guests wore their very cat-best!
While they might’ve been a little embarrassed they left their feline friends behind, I’m sure their little babies thoroughly loved the treat bags we sent home for them! Don’t think that I wasn’t grateful for everyone in attendance, dear Diary; I was tickled pink to have them along and I could tell my furry ones were, as well. Dale was an extraordinary host and the other babies seemed to be supportive of his special occasion. I think everyone had a great time, actually!
I hope I inspire some of my friends to throw their cats a party, someday; I would just love to go to a party of cats! My little kitties and I are taking a line-dancing class later this week and I’m feline like it’s gonna be fun!
Until next time,
– The Cat Lady
Welcome back to our series on historical costuming! In this, our third and final installment, we’ll be taking a look at legwear during the most turbulent century for fashion of all – the 20th century! You’re probably pretty familiar with the main events, from two world wars, to multiple activist movements, and the ever-accelerating advance of technology and spread of mass media. A lot happened, so it’s really not too surprising that fashions changed rapidly, with new styles emerging in every decade.
Around the turn of the 20th century, everything changed in the world of fashion. Most notably, the women’s suffrage movement was gaining momentum, meaning that women were engaging in activities they had previously been excluded from, and their fashions had to change to accommodate that. Once again hemlines shortened to reveal feet, ankles and, most importantly, stockings! That Victorian modesty didn’t just get thrown out the window, though – women wore thick wool hose and boots with bloomers while engaging in sport. Formal evening gowns were still worn with fine silk stockings, though they were typically a little less ornate in this era than the stockings of the gaudy Victorian aesthetic. While the rayon options mentioned in part 1 are still the best for mimicking the feel of silk, you might also consider going for an OTK that evokes the art nouveau aesthetic.
Signature Cotton Tights do a good job mimicking the semi-opacity of plain wool hose
Dreamer Jaquard Flowering Vine (center) and Pheobe OTKs (right) are examples of the kind of organic, linear design that the Art Nouveau style was known for
Men were no longer wearing long stockings, and typically wore something more like a contemporary ribbed midcalf under their trousers. These would have been kept up with sock garters, while longer socks, akin to kilt socks, were worn for golf; a popular sport of the day. Sadly for men, the enduring popularity of long pants means that masculine sock styles advanced pretty slowly compared to the feminine fashions of the 20th century.
With the 1920’s came the invention of the garter belt, as well as even shorter hemlines for feminine fashions. While most stockings of the time came up to the mid or upper thighs, some flappers chose to roll their stockings down to the knee to be worn with decorative garters–and to think how much effort some of us put into avoiding rolled stockings! Fishnets were another fun, risqué option of the day. While most hosiery was solid colored and sheer, there were some pretty fun patterns going on for the more daring. In fact, our Vintage Vertical OTKs are based on a 1920’s photograph! Some popular patterns were checkers, stripes, polka dots and zig-zags, while some stockings laced right up the back!
Topless Industrial Net Stockings have an authentic need for a garter belt to keep them up
Brass Scrollwork Garters, to keep your rolled down stockings in their scandalous place
Vertical Vintage OTKs are based on an actual 1920’s stocking design
The 1930’s and 40’s are often associated with Cuban heeled, backseamed stockings for women, and we do have some pretty good options for recreating this look. Nylon stockings didn’t come along until 1939, but we think that a little fiber-inaccuracy can be forgiven here, as long as the look is on point. Of course, not everybody was wearing sheer hosiery, and in cold weather it often wasn’t practical. In these cases, wool or cotton stockings were often substituted, or in some cases warm socks were just worn over the sheer hose! The Cotton Thigh High Stockings, Ribbed Wool OTKs, Kimi OTKs or O Woolies would all be good options for less formal wintery outfits. For a truly authentic WWII era option, try omitting the stockings altogether and drawing backseams on with eyeliner. This is what many women did during wartime rationing!
While the end of the war brought back the backseamed stocking, which continued to dominate women’s fashion, teenagers in the 1950’s were known for rocking iconic Bobby Socks, which were typically white ankle socks, often worn with the tops cuffed down and paired with saddle shoes or oxfords. These socks were so popular that the Sock Hop was named after the propensity for teenagers of the time to get together and dance in their stocking feet!
Moving into the 1960’s, youth culture continued to have more and more of an influence on fashion and media. While fashion icons such as Jackie Kennedy were already sporting clean, modern lines at the start of the decade, they were pretty conservative compared to the bright colors and bold patterns which were gaining popularity with teenagers and young adults. In the earlier half of the 60’s, the London-based, space-age influenced “mod” look featured androgyny and miniskirts, which rose to popularity along with the all-in-one style of tights that we know and love today. Later in the decade fashion was greatly influenced by American hippy culture; a youth movement with a visual style that combined elements of folk art with psychedelic patterns and colors. With the flower children came a vintage revival, which brought elements such as peasant dresses, fishnet and openwork stockings and Victorian-style boots into the mid-century. Of course the pattern that is most closely associated with hippies would be tie dye!
Solid Cotton Tights add some bright color and a bit of extra coverage under mod miniskirts
Nordic Texture Tights feature a daisy-like pattern reminiscent of the flower children
Tie dye is by far the strongest hippy association available
While the 1970’s saw a continuation of trends from the 60’s, it also saw the rise of glam rock and disco, which both left their marks on fashion. Leopard print was popular with the glam rock set, while both disco and glam fans fell in love with sparkles. Lurex, that sparkly metallic type of thread, was invented in the 1960’s. It grew ever more popular in the 1970’s, making Glitter Lurex Tights a perfect way to go glam, or to prepare for disco dancing.
Another trend that emerged in the late 70’s, and one that we closely associate with socks, was the use of sportswear as everyday apparel. With the tracksuits, tennis headbands and terrycloth shirts came iconic sports socks, typically featuring top stripes (which we think makes them appear at least 60% more aerodynamic).
In the 1980’s fashion went big, in a literal way. Big hair and big shoulder pads were in, and leg warmers were a big deal! The 80’s were such an extreme decade for fashion that many people avoided anything associated with the era for the next decade or two, though we’re happy to see some toned-down 80’s fashions making their way back around. While once stigmatized, the leg warmer has made it back into mainstream fashion, as a cute and functional layer, though if you really want to go vintage you’ll wear them slouched, with a spandex aerobics outfit and a whole lot of hairspray. Of course, we mustn’t forget the counter-culture proponents of the 80’s – punk and goth scenes were huge! And we probably don’t have to tell you that both heavily featured the color black.
The 1990’s were an eclectic decade for fashion, with a reemergence of 1960’s and 70’s fashion, the invention of grunge, and an obsession with juxtaposing the traditionally feminine with the traditional masculine. One of the most iconic socks of the 90’s, which we still have customers writing in about today, were the E. G. Smith Bootsocks, in their original 100% cotton, which made them ideal for slouching in boots. We carry their current 99% cotton version of the same, but as we previously blogged, there are some subtle differences. As for grunge, the most common association that most of us have with it, outside of the Seattle music scene, would be the plaid flannel shirt, ideally in Buffalo plaid. We happen to have socks to match!
On the more feminine side of the 1990’s, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the preppy fashions that we often associate with Beverly Hills and the movie Clueless. Most of these outfits were paired with solid colored knee highs or OTKs. Somewhere in-between the grunge and preppy styles that dominated much of the decade came pairings of the femme with the rugged. Many women in the 90’s enjoyed wearing sweet floral prints with items such as denim jackets and combat boots –styles which had previously been considered more masculine. We’re happy to see this style come back around in contemporary fashion!
Opaque Nylon Trouser Socks are a good option for classic solid knee highs
Solid Acrylic OTKs are just one of many solid OTK options
Flower Lane Tights feature the teeny-tiny flowers that we tend to associate with 90’s florals
And this, dear reader, is where we must leave off on our fabulous trip through time. We hope you’ll find this useful for your historical costuming needs, but we’re always available to answer questions via email, should you require additional guidance. If there’s anything to be learned from our time traveling adventures here on the Sock Journal, it’s that fashion repeats itself, so don’t be shy! Consider working some of these looks into your everyday wardrobe! And remember: vintage never goes out of style.
Over the past few months, we’ve celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with some inspired sock selections, and found items to keep classic children’s literature close to our hearts (and toes). This week, we’re winding this series down with the original ticklers of our fancy: fairytales and folklore.
From our earliest days, we learn about the world from stories, many of which have been passed down for generations. Although the tales vary between cultures, there are a few archetypes that appear time and again. If some of these characters have stuck with you, as they have us, we’ve got some great items to help make them a part of your daily life.
Like many great tales, we have to begin with “once upon a time…”
Once upon a time, there was a brave little girl who wandered the dark forest and faced down a ferocious wolf. She was known as Little Red Riding Hood, and we’ve got a couple fun items depicting both her and her lupine adversary.
And on another trail, another little girl ventured into a strange house. She ate their food and tested their furniture, never imagining that the house was home to a family of bears. We’ve got a few options so that you, like Goldilocks, can find one that is just right.
Slumbering fitfully in a castle far, far away, lay a girl with delicate skin and royal heritage. Even through the layers of mattresses and pillows, she could still feel that treacherous pea hidden in her bed. We’ve got some lovely tights depicting this refined princess, as well as some soft items for sensitive feet.
Far in a different land, a boy dreamed of cats, and drew them everywhere. His family scoffed at his laziness, until his cats leapt up from their inky depictions and fought back a rat demon. This story is depicted in these lovely midcalf socks, in a wrap-around fashion between right and left.
Deep in a cave, the woodcutter Ali Baba followed a gang of thieves, and ended up with more treasure than he could possibly count. We’ve got some shiny offerings that would definitely catch Ali Baba’s attention.
While the heroes fought off their foes, many a trickster hid in the shadows. Wily and clever, they proved that life didn’t always break down neatly between good and evil, order and chaos. We’ve got silky serpent skin for Loki, twisted spider webs for Anansi, and the sly smile of the cunning Kitsune.
As their tales came to an end, the heroes, heroines, and mischief-makers snuggled in under the night sky, dreaming of their later adventures in the wide world.
Such stories have stayed with us, told around campfires and whispered under starlight. We’ll let you drift off with some last items, intended to wish you sweet and adventurous dreams.
It’s almost Halloween, dreamers, and while it’s probably too late for most of you to order socks for your costumes, it’s never too late for a fun, thematic blog post. Join us as we go door-to-door around the website, looking for tricks and treats for Halloween, and beyond!
For our first stop, we’re swinging by the Faux-Laced household. These laced-up looking styles might seem like a treat, but they’re also a trick! Not one of these styles requires actual lacing up – just put them on and go!
The house right next door is all decked out like a gingerbread house. Are they even celebrating the current holiday, or are they already preparing a Nutcracker-themed winter wonderland?? Let’s knock on the door and see….. it’s all good! They’re giving out CANDY, to adults and children alike! As long as you’re wearing a costume, you get CANDY! What a treat!
Across the street there seems to be a house owned by a family of magicians…. or rather illusionists. They aren’t giving out candy, but they are performing illusions for anybody who stops by. These tricks are kind of treats, too! Let’s all suspend a bit of disbelief while nearly-invisible sheer hosiery suspends exciting patterns from your legs, as if by magic!
I don’t know about you, but all of this trick-or-treating is making me hungry for something more substantial than candy. We’re in luck, though, because the last house on our tour has their own take on Halloween treats – baked goods! Get yourself some key lime pie, or berry cobbler, and don’t forget to serve yourself up a big ol’ scoop of Neapolitan ice cream on the side!
Thanks for coming with us on our trip around the neighborhood! It’s always nice to go trick-or-treating with friends, but we’d better be getting home before dark, when the monsters come out… but don’t be scared! They just want to wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!
Welcome back to our look at stockings through the ages, and which items from our catalog are best for recreating historical fashions. As I mentioned last time, our socks are pretty modern (even those knitted on antique machines, such as most of our DreaM Stockings collection), but some of them are far more convincing as historical garments than others. We’re here to tell you which ones!
In part 1 we left off right around the 18th century, which, to give you a bit of context, was mostly taken up by the Georgian era in England, and was also the Age of Enlightenment, leading up to the French and American Revolutions. The French and English cultures were particularly influential throughout Europe at this time, and their fashions came with them. This era marked a turning point in fashion history, with feminine clothing becoming more elaborate and ornamental than masculine clothing for the first time – a trend which continues to endure! However, women were still wearing floor-length dresses, which meant that men were the ones showing their stockings off, as knee-length, tight-fitting breeches were the style at the time. Both men and women of this era still had to use ribbons or buckling garters to keep their stockings up.
Fine gauge, machine-knitted stockings were a trademark of the upper classes at this time, as lower class people couldn’t afford them, meaning they typically wore hand-knit stockings made of wool. In England these working class wool stockings were typically light grey, which was the color of the sheep that the wool came from – this color was known as “blue” at the time, and is the origin of the term “bluestockings”, but that’s a subject we’ll get into at another time. Our O Woolies (which we mentioned in part 1 ) in grey are a good choice for this look, while the Solid Cotton OTKs are finely knitted and slinky enough to be a good stand-in for the fine stockings worn by the upper classes. The white variety would be accurate for almost any upper class personage, but if you’re doing reenactment as a particularly ostentatious character, consider going for one of the colorful options!
In addition to these basic options, there were some pretty fun stocking trends during the 18th century. Vertical stripes were in vogue, as well as “clocked” designs, which went up the side of the leg instead of the front or back.
The 19th century was a period of dramatic changes, due largely to the industrial revolution. In England this was the century of the Regency and Victorian eras, to give you a better idea of the aesthetics influencing much of the world at this time. The Regency era was also the first time dresses became short enough for stockings to be visible! Men’s fashion went in the opposite direction, with breeches or trousers now overlapping with their shoes and boots, so that stockings were hidden away (so sad!). Both men and women wore fancy stockings if they could afford it, though the vertical stripes that were all the rage in 1790 were dying out by 1800. White was considered the most fashionable color for stockings, as the ability to maintain clean white stockings was a marker of class. Lacy openwork stockings became a more decorative alternative for fancy occasions, though these were typically also white.
While the Victorian era brought a return of the extremely modest floor-length dress, it also brought some really fancy stockings in all sorts of patterns to hide under those dresses. Typically they were black, white or pastel in color, and some featured lace trim. At this time women were wearing corsets, which attached to garters to keep their stockings up. We don’t carry Victorian corsetry, but we do have a cincher from Rago with detachable garter straps, as well as Double Grip Clips, for attaching your stockings to whatever undergarments you might be wearing.
An awful lot happened in the 20th century, and the rate at which fashions changed really started to speed up. Gender roles were challenged and ankles were exposed! Join us next time for the exciting (and relatively scandalous) conclusion of our series on historical costuming.
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