Please keep in mind that the stockings discussed below are different then Christmas Stockings. Do you know if Christmas stocking size matters? By the way, when you are done reading this stockings definition, you may want to check the intimate apparel and hosiery sections we created for eBay.
A stocking is a close-fitting, variously elastic garment covering the foot and lower part of the leg, but usually not intended to conceal the leg. It was formerly made of woven cloth but now of knitted wool, silk, cotton or nylon (see Hosiery). The word stock used to refer to the bottom "stump" part of the body, and by analogy the word was used to refer to the one-piece covering of the lower trunk and limbs of the 1400s
essentially tights consisting of the upper-stocks (later to be worn separately as knee breeches) and nether-stocks (later to worn separately as stockings.
Half-stockings, covering the foot and part of the calf only, are commonly called socks. This word is an adaptation of Latin soccus, a slipper or light shoe. It was the shoe worn by the actors in Roman comedy
and so was used symbolically of comedy, as buskin, the high boot, was of tragedy. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911)
Stockings were originally an exclusively male piece of apparel. In the 17th century women who took up the masculine fashion of wearing stockings were associated with aspiring to learnedness and other protofeminist causes, which led to the derogatory term blue-stocking.
In modern usage, stocking generally refers to forms of women's hosiery like pantyhose (one piece) and thigh high nylon stockings (two matching pieces), and can, depending on the design, be quite sexually attractive (particularly to stocking fetishists). Modern stockings come in a huge variety of colors and styles (fishnet, back seamed, etc).
- Demi-Toe - Stockings or pantyhose which have a nude, sheer heel and a reinforced toe.
- Denier - The lower the denier number the sheerer the garment. Stockings or pantyhose knitted with a higher denier tend to be less sheer but more durable.
- Fishnet - Knitted stockings or pantyhose with a very wide open knit resembling a fish net.
- Full-Fashioned - Full-fashioned stockings are knitted flat, the material is then cut and the two sides are then united by a seam up the back. Full-fashioned stockings were popular during the 1950s.
- Matte - Stockings or pantyhose which have a dull or non-lustre finish.
- Mock Seams - A false seam sewn into the back of a seamless stocking.
- Nude Heel - Pantyhose or stockings without reinforcement in the heel area.
- Opaque - Stockings or pantyhose made of yarn which give them a heavier appearance (usually 40 denier or greater).
- RHT - Abbreviation of reinforced heel and toe.
- Sandalfoot - Stockings or pantyhose with a nude toe, meaning no heavier yarn in the toe than is in the leg.
- Seamed - Stockings manufactured in the old Full-Fashioned manner with a seam running up the back of the leg. In the past they were manufactured by cutting the fabric and then sewing it together. Today stockings are generally fully knitted and a fake or mock seam is added up the back for a particular fashion look.
- Seamless - Stockings knit in one operation on circular machines (one continuous operation) so that no seaming is required up the back.