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Know your Pantyhose! The Curious History of Hosiery

by Alexis Ansley

Fall is upon us, which means it’s time to pull out your warmer closet essentials. But for those of us who are reluctant to retire our flirty skirts and leg bearing shorts, hosiery is the best way to continue those pieces into the colder seasons. From thigh highs to tights and pantyhose; hosiery has been a women’s wardrobe staple for decades. Discover how this fashion essential has evolved over time.


Hosiery History

“Hosiery” is used a word to describe a variety of legwear, including tights, socks, leggings, stockings, thigh-highs, and pantyhose.

black and white portrait of a woman in pantyhose

The Hosiery Technology Center, which specializes in creating the newest in hosiery, states that one of the earliest sightings of hosiery was around 400-500 A.D. when a pair of red, knitted socks were discovered in a tomb in Egypt.

Here are some other intriguing hosiery facts from the HTC:

  • Beginning in the 20th century, the fibers used to produce hosiery shifted from wool and mixed wool to cotton.
  • Nylon stockings appeared in retail in New York on May 15, 1940. On that day, over 780,000 pairs were sold!
  • “Nylons” became the common name for hosiery manufactured during the ’40s after the product become wildly popular. In fact, nylons were so popular that when nylon production was stifled during WWII, women would paint seams on their legs to make it look like they were wearing them.
  • Even in our modern era we see still see hosiery as a sign of femininity, class and style.


Hosiery Today

Today the modern woman continues to find hosiery a closet essential, especially in the cooler months. Accompanying your ensemble with the perfect hosiery pairing adds a certain air of sophistication. They also extend the life of your clothing. Transitioning into the cooler months is super easy if you simply sport a pair of ultra-chic tights.

separate portraits of women in different kinds of hosiery

What’s not to love about an accessory that was made to keep your legs warm and help you look chic?


Alexis AnsleyAbout the Author:
Alexis Ansley is a Central Florida fashion blogger, fashion consultant and co-founder of Lex&Pooch Styling Co. An avid enthusiast for all things vintage, Alexis has made a name for herself by uniquely combining vintage and contemporary styles within her personal fashion choices and while styling clients. Alexis is a member of the Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) community and work towards bringing fresh and unique fashions to the forefront of all her style ventures.



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