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When we talk about “stockings” as opposed to “socks”, we mean the high-nylon content styles that more often than not have to be held up with a garter belt. Though most are sheer some, like the Lycra Cuban Heeled Two Tone Stockings (shown on the far right), are semi-opaque.
On top: Ultra Sheer Retro Backseam Stockings. Beneath, from left to right: Lycra Cuban Heel Stockings, Cuban Heel Thigh Highs, Lycra Sheer Cubans with Lace Up Tops, Lycra Cuban Heeled Two Tone Stockings.
Flattering, fancy and just the thing to finish off a dressy outfit, nylons have a fascinating history. Though our focus here at Sock Dreams is on socks, we do carry and love stockings. And we’re also big nerds who love to share history and facts. Today I’ll share a quick overview of the history of nylons, with some helpful facts for folks interested in rocking these classic and classy stockings. If you want more info, there are great, in-depth, histories of stockings all over the place. I’m super partial to the Smithsonian’s Stocking Series.
Nylon stockings were introduced at the 1939 world’s fair by Dupont, who have a great little timeline with some awesome pictures from 1939. They decided against registering “nylon” as a trademark, so that the word would become synonymous with stockings. Early stockings had back seams and when folks had to give up their nylon stockings for the war effort, they reproduced that backseam with leg makeup (great article at GlamourDaze about it!), creating the illusion that nylons were still covering their legs. I love this picture we have on our Pinterest from the Library of Congress image archives, showing a barrel of nylons on their way to becoming parachutes and cords.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection. “Here’s where your parachute came from.“
It’s because of this temporary lack of nylon that we have the wide range of cotton stockings and tights we see today. But that’s a story for another day! We’re still talking about nylons. Join us after the jump for comparisons of new nylon stockings to actual mid-century pairs and some helpful tips about these fantastic, feminine stockings.
A good mama is a wonderful thing and a hard job. If you’ve got a great mom in your life you should let them know how fabulous they are all the time. And if you’re a rad mom, I hope you know how great you are. Mother’s Day is just one day out of the year (this year it’s May 12th), but it’s a chance to really treat these wonderful folks.
We’ve got a Mother’s Day Favourites section, but most of those styles are the ones our moms like, and if your moms are like ours, they keep their fancy stuff pretty basic. They like comfy crews, cozy bedsocks, maybe a ‘crazy’ splurge on some hand-printed trouser socks.
But, the best gifts are the ones that you know the giftee would never think to get themselves. Something fancy, maybe a little more than they like to spend on themselves. Our Indulgences section is a good place to go for just that sort of thing. I’m going to be honest, these are our pricier styles. But they earn their price, with fabulous fibers, fit and construction. This is where the luxurious stuff lives.
That doesn’t mean you have to go wild picking something out for your moms. There are some great options under $25 that feel fantastic and look gorgeous. Plus, they’re practically basics, so you won’t get chided for going overboard.
Of course, if you can and do want to spoil your mom, we can help you there! Check out three sweet indulgences after the jump!
April 26th, 2013
They can be unsightly, those little balled-up bundles of fibers that build up on your socks. Where there’s wear, pills will happen; common causes are shoes rubbing against socks, where your thighs touch or really any spot that is subjected to abrasion.
Wool and acrylic are especially prone to pilling (though cotton, polyester and nylon like to do it too). Linen and silk are the safest from the perils of pilling. Wool has an advantage, as it is more likely to shed pill build-up. Synthetic fibers are tougher and more stubborn, keeping those pilled bits secure to the fabric. Washing pill-prone items inside out on a short, gentle cycle (or hand washing) helps prevent this kind of wear, but often it is inevitable.
However or whyever there are pills, they’re a problem that you can solve. One of the most common ways is with an electric sweater shaver. Electric sweater shavers are fun and kind of loud (which is also fun). They require batteries and are sort of like a teddy bear’s version of a beard trimmer. A lot of them are even made by the same companies who make electric face razors!
And one of those can bring some freshness back to a tired looking pair of socks or armwarmers, like this pair of Harajuku Arm Warmers. That area between the thumb and fingers gets a lot of wear and shows it.
But all it takes is turning on the sweater shaver and lightly running it over the arm warmer, either while wearing it or laying it flat. The key word here is lightly, just gently brush the shaver across the top. If you’re too rough you could put a hole in whatever you’re sprucing up, particularly if it is a delicate item.
And the pills are gone, turned into easily-disposed of fluff! The softer look of a much loved-and worn item doesn’t disappear, but the pills do. It even does a solid job removing all the pills on the heels of my poor old Extraordinary Thigh Highs, which have had a lot of hard wear.
Electric sweater shavers are definitely rad, but there have to be some non battery powered options out there, right? Tumblr Fairy Zaf prefers the Sweater Stone and I’ll walk you through that technique next. Why don’t you let us know your tips and tricks for removing pills? In looking up information on pilling I saw that some folks use the hook side of Velcro—have you tried it, does that work? I’ve definitely gone the sticky tape route myself.
Knee highs are pretty straight forward. Our Measurements & Sizes page shows how they come to just below the knee, that’s pretty much the total of their definition. But you may have encountered the phrase “knee sock” when browsing our styles and wondered how it differed from plain ol’ knee highs.
There isn’t a whole lot of difference and sometimes we do use the phrase “knee sock” when we’re talking about knee highs. But, more often than not, when we call something a “knee sock” we’re talking about a sock that ends somewhere around the knee—sometimes below, sometimes above, sometimes right there in the middle of your knee cap—depending on your leg shape. The Bess Cashmere Slouch Rib Knee Socks are a perfect example of this, you can see how they end at different spots on different models’ legs:
Since we try on all the styles we sell and almost all of the models you see in our pictures are Sock Dreams employees, we get to see how socks act on different leg types. Long legs and fuller calves mean some shorter over the knee styles don’t fairly deserve the name “OTK”. But those same socks can’t properly be called knee highs either because just as many other folks had them go over their knees. So, we started using the phrase “knee sock” to highlight that ambiguity.
It was Sourpuss’ styles that made us first start using the phrase more actively, they’re shorter for over the knee styles and even though Sourpuss called them OTKs, we couldn’t after testing them, even though we love them.
The DreaM Stockings “knees” styles are another great example of a knee sock. Available in seven variations (with lots of varieties for each!), they can be worn as over the knee socks or knee highs, depending on your legs (or on your personal taste, I prefer them as knee highs, even though I’ve got short legs).
A way to find these in-betweeners is also to choose both “knee high” and “OTK” in Advanced Search then click the word “ALL” next to the header for Coverage. This shows you styles we’ve found fall both above or below the knee, depending on your leg. If you’ve got longer legs or fuller calves, you may already know the trick of wearing OTKs as knee highs, cuffing or double-cuffing to take care of any extra length.
A knee sock isn’t a style that couldn’t cut it as an OTK, nor is it just an over-achieving knee high. They straddle both coverage worlds, offering their stylish services to more leg types.
I will admit that I’m a little partial to April’s symbols, but for good reason—it’s my birth month! Sparkling diamonds, pretty little sweet peas, daisies, and Aries, April has got a pretty good batch.
Diamonds are, according to popular song, a girl’s best friend, but they’re also clear so they’re not easily represented via sock. If only there was a pattern or something that was diamond-y . . .
Right! “Diamond” is a pattern/texture you can check off in our Advanced Search. It’s a gorgeous, simple pattern that goes with everything, kind of like the gemstone, even.
Sweet peas are pretty little pastel flowers. They have a distinct shape and don’t seem to be a popular choice to decorate socks with. Daisies too! Other than the flowers the Sock It To Me Elephants are holding, there isn’t single daisy on the socks we currently carry. I suppose I’ll just have to make my own. Let’s see, we need some solid white styles for the outside and some solid yellow for the middle:
Did you know the daisy is a compound flower? Each petal and each cluster of yellow in the middle is an individual flower. Nature! So crazy and awesome.
The constellation that makes up most of April is Aries, the ram. I know the ram is kind of like, this noble symbol, but even the most dignified ram is still as fluffy as the sheep on the Sleepy Sheep bedsocks (though I’m sure the facial expression would be more stern). Sheep provide a lot of wonderful wool, with merino being a popular choice when luxurious softness is sought. We have a nice selection of merino styles to pamper your toes, but here are a couple that I consider the fluffiest, thanks to the amazing combo of soft wool and boucle yarn:
April! Fluffy flowers, sparkling sheep! Spring all of its wackiness in full force.