Socks and stockings are ubiquitous everyday items and most of us own drawers overflowing with various items of hosiery. Socks are worn over the feet to keep them warm and to prevent chafing from shoes. Stockings can be worn as an alternative to tights and are held up with suspenders and a suspender belt, although some designs have strongly elasticated tops. Stockings have a strong association with romantic lingerie while socks do not have any such connotations and are sometimes seen as rather dull. Both socks and stockings deserve some attention as scruffy and mismatched hosiery can make your overall appearance look instantly unkempt. Here is a brief guide to socks and stockings:
There are socks to suit every occasion. Wearing the right sort of sock for your activity can make a surprising difference to both style and comfort.
Trainer socks, for example, are specially cut so that the upper part of the sock rests just above the end of the trainer. This means that your foot is protected from the trainer, whilst your ankle is left bare, which looks much more stylish than a turned-over sock when worn with leggings or other sportswear.
Ankle socks are great for wearing under trousers. Various thicknesses are available to suit the weather and temperature. Ankle socks are usually worn under trousers.
Knee length socks are mostly worn by school girls, but are sometimes a fashion feature for young women and can be worn with pleated mini skirts. Longer length socks are also ideal for wearing underneath wellington boots.
All socks are available in a vast array of colours, styles and patterns. One thing that can make a huge difference to the feel and quality of socks is the material from which they are made. Good quality winter socks, for example, are made from finely woven lambs' wool. Cheap socks are made from acrylic or a polyester mix. The vast majority of everyday socks are made from cotton or a cotton blend.
Whatever style of socks you choose, it is important to wash and dry them with care so that they don't shrink or lose their shape. After washing, press out their shape and dry them carefully, this reduces the need for ironing. Tumble drying is not recommended, but hanging them out to dry or letting them air naturally is fine.
Stockings are worn under skirts or dresses and have the same outward appearance as tights when worn under clothes. Stockings can be quite tricky to wear and need to be rolled on carefully to avoid nails snagging on the nylon and causing ladders. Never put on stockings or tights with ragged nails! Carefully insert your toes into the rolled up ends of the stocking and then slowly roll them up your leg. They need to be attached to a garter or suspender belt, which rests on the hips. Most belts have eight straps that are used to attach the stocking to the belt and stop it from falling down. Two straps are used at the front of one leg and two at the back. A useful tip is to put your briefs on after your stockings, otherwise you will find going to the bathroom much harder than it needs to be! Once you get used to wearing stockings, however, you will find that they are just as easy and comfortable to wear as a pair of tights.
Stockings are often worn with a set of lingerie, such as a silk teddy or basque.
For everyday use, stockings can be bought in a range of 'deniers' or thicknesses, ranging from 'sheer' or almost see-through, to completely opaque. Wool stockings are also a possibility and were a popular item of clothing for women in centuries past.
Vintage stockings have a darker seam that lies up the back of the leg, that would look great with a pencil skirt for a smart and sassy office look. Other types of stockings are fishnet stockings and flesh coloured stockings.
White stockings are popular for brides as it is traditional for brides to wear a special garter underneath their dress.
One benefit of stockings is that they can last longer than tights. After all, if a pair of tights has a ladder it has to be thrown away. If you notice a ladder in a stocking, you need only dispose of one!