Stockings are close-fitting elastic garments that cover the foot and lower part of the leg. They are usually worn by women and are referred to as hose. They are also sold as a combination with panties and are then referred to as pantyhose. Stockings vary in color and transparency, making them compatible with women of all ethnicity.
A majority of stockings are made of nylon, but they are also made of knitted wool, silk and cotton. They earned the title of stockings, because they cover the bottom part of the body, also known as the stock. Stockings used to be worn as two pieces consisting of upper stocks, which covered from the knee up, and nether stocks, which covered from the knee down, including the foot. This later changed as fashion evolved.
There are three main ways that stockings are supported. The most popular and reliable method of wearing pantyhose throughout the years has been in conjunction with a garter belt. A garter belt is worn around the waist like a belt and has suspenders that fasten to the top of the nylons to hold them up. They are available online and at most lingerie stores, such as Victoria's Secret.
The second method is with the help up of an elastic silicone band that is sewn in to the top of the nylons to prevent them from sliding down the leg. The effectiveness of this technique is highly dependent upon the shape of the woman's leg. Women whose upper thighs are slightly larger than most will find that the elastic band is uncomfortably snug, causing red marks and irritation. Women whose legs are thinner than most will find that the nylons slide down the leg, resulting in embarrassing situations. Some women find that these are the most convenient type of hose, as they don't have to be removed or pulled down to use the restroom, and they are available everywhere.
The least popular way to wear stockings is with garters. These are circular elastic bands that are worn over the top of the hose to pin them up. Garters are usually worn at weddings as part of the ceremony, instead of for functional reasons. They have the same disadvantages as hose with elastic bands. Many people also find the lace from the garters irritating to the inner thighs.
There are several reasons women wear stockings. One of the biggest reasons is for aesthetic purposes. Hose make your legs look streamlined and free of blemishes so you can wear a skirt or dress with more confidence. When worn with garters, or a garter belt, it can also send an erotic message to a partner. Other reasons are for health, as they reduce fungus and bacteria.
Pantyhose came about in 1959 when they were invented by Allen Grant, Sr. They combine stockings with panties, solving the problem of having to wear garters or a garter belt. It also makes it easier to wear a miniskirt without revealing your method of holding them up.