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When Did Women Stop Wearing Stockings And Garters When Did Women Stop Wearing Stockings And Garters

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When Did Women Stop Wearing Stockings And Garters

Written by: Hermione Jessie

Discover the historical timeline of when women started ditching stockings and garters for a more comfortable and liberating fashion choice. Explore the evolution of women's fashion and embrace the freedom of choice.

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Throughout history, fashion has been a reflection of cultural norms, societal changes, and evolving attitudes. One iconic fashion accessory that has had a significant impact on women’s fashion is stockings and garters. For centuries, these undergarments were considered an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe, symbolizing femininity, modesty, and sophistication.

However, in recent decades, the popularity of stockings and garters has waned. Modern fashion trends, lifestyle changes, and advancements in textile technology have led to a shift away from these traditional accessories. Today, women have a plethora of choices, including pantyhose, tights, and bare legs, each offering its own unique appeal.

In this article, we will explore the history and evolution of stockings and garters, examine the influence of fashion trends on their popularity, and delve into the social and cultural changes that have contributed to their decline. By understanding the factors that have shaped women’s fashion choices, we can gain insight into the transformation of societal norms and values.

It is important to note that the purpose of this article is not to pass judgment on any specific fashion choice, but rather to explore the shifts in trends and attitudes over time. Fashion is a personal expression, and every woman has the right to choose what makes her feel comfortable and confident. With that said, let us delve into the intriguing history of stockings and garters and discover how they have shaped the world of women’s fashion.


Historical Background

The use of stockings and garters can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In ancient Egypt, women would wear woven bands of fabric or leather around their legs as a form of leg covering. The Greeks and Romans introduced the concept of knitting, which led to the creation of early stockings made from various materials such as silk and cotton.

During the Middle Ages, stockings became more prevalent and were primarily worn by men as a symbol of status and wealth. Women wore long tunics that covered their legs, so stockings were not a common accessory for them at the time.

It wasn’t until the 16th century that stockings became an essential garment for women. Queen Elizabeth I of England played a significant role in popularizing them among the upper-class women. She made silk stockings fashionable and set the trend for wearing them with elaborate garters.

Throughout the following centuries, stockings and garters remained a staple in women’s fashion. The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century brought advancements in textile manufacturing, making stockings more accessible and affordable for the masses. Women of all social classes began to wear them as a symbol of femininity and elegance.

During the Victorian era, stockings became even more intricate and decorative. They were often adorned with lace, embroidery, and ribbons, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal. Garters, which were elastic or ribbon bands worn just above the knee, were used to hold the stockings in place and add an element of sensuality.

The popularity of stockings and garters continued well into the 20th century. However, with the advent of new fashion trends and changing societal norms, their significance and usage began to decline.

Now that we have explored the historical background of stockings and garters, let us delve into the evolution of these accessories and their influence on fashion trends over time.


Evolution of Stockings and Garters

As fashion trends evolved over time, so did the styles and designs of stockings and garters. In the early 20th century, silk stockings became more readily available, revolutionizing the concept of hosiery. Women embraced the luxurious feel and delicate sheen of silk stockings, which quickly became a symbol of elegance and femininity.

During the 1920s and 1930s, with the rise of the flapper fashion and shorter hemlines, stockings played a pivotal role in creating a polished and put-together look. It was during this period that garter belts gained popularity. These belts, typically made of elastic or satin, were worn around the waist and had straps that attached to the stockings, ensuring they stayed in place.

After World War II, synthetic fabrics such as nylon and rayon were introduced, making stockings more affordable and durable. This period marked the rise of nylon stockings, which quickly became the preferred choice among women. Stockings were a must-have accessory, and garter belts remained essential for keeping them secure.

However, in the 1960s and 1970s, a cultural revolution challenged traditional fashion norms. Women began to embrace more casual and free-spirited styles, and the popularity of stockings and garters started to decline. The feminist movement of the time also played a role, as some women saw these accessories as symbols of male objectification.

With the emergence of pantyhose in the late 1960s, stockings and garters faced competition. Pantyhose, which combined stockings and panties into a single garment, provided convenience and ease of wear. Women found them more practical and comfortable, particularly in the modern workplace.

By the 1980s and 1990s, the fashion landscape had shifted significantly. Bare legs became more acceptable, and pantyhose became less common. The rise of pantsuits and more casual office attire further diminished the need for stockings and garters. Women embraced a more relaxed and natural look, opting for comfort over traditional fashion conventions.

Today, stockings and garters are often associated with lingerie, special occasions, or as a personal choice for those who appreciate the elegance and nostalgic charm they bring. While they may not be as prevalent in everyday fashion, they continue to have a place in certain fashion subcultures and styles.

Now that we have explored the evolution of stockings and garters, let us examine the influence of fashion trends on their popularity and usage over time.


Influence of Fashion Trends

Fashion trends have played a significant role in shaping the popularity of stockings and garters throughout history. As hemlines rose and fell, so did the demand for these accessories. Let’s explore the influence of fashion trends on the usage of stockings and garters over time.

During the 1920s, the iconic flapper fashion, characterized by short dresses and rebellious attitudes, had a profound impact on women’s fashion. Stockings and garters were essential components of the flapper look, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication. The sleek, bare-legged style popularized by flappers set the tone for a decade of stockings and garter belts.

In the 1940s and 1950s, with the influence of Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe, stockings became synonymous with feminine allure. These decades saw the height of the pin-up girl phenomenon, with women striving to replicate the sensuality and elegance of these iconic figures. Stockings and garters were integral to achieving that feminine mystique.

However, as fashion began to embrace more casual and practical styles in the 1960s and 1970s, the demand for stockings and garters began to wane. The rise of miniskirts and the cultural shift towards a more relaxed and liberated fashion aesthetic led to a decline in their usage. Women opted for pantyhose, which offered a seamless look without the need for garter belts.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a mix of power dressing and casual chic dominated the fashion scene. Pantyhose became less popular as women embraced pantsuits, jeans, and leggings as their go-to choices. The emphasis shifted from traditional femininity to a more assertive and practical fashion sense.

Today, fashion trends continue to evolve, and self-expression takes various forms. Some women embrace the vintage-inspired look, opting for stockings and garters as a way to pay homage to a bygone era. Others prefer the convenience and comfort of bare legs or opt for fashion-forward alternatives like tights with unique patterns or textures.

It’s important to note that fashion trends are ever-changing, and what may be in vogue today may not be tomorrow. Fashion is a personal choice, and every woman has the right to choose what makes her feel confident and comfortable.

Now that we’ve explored the influence of fashion trends on the popularity and usage of stockings and garters, let’s move on to the social and cultural changes that have contributed to their decline.


Social and Cultural Changes

As society and culture evolve, so do our attitudes towards fashion and personal expression. Several social and cultural changes have contributed to the decline in the usage of stockings and garters. Let’s explore some of these factors:

One significant factor is the changing perceptions of femininity and societal norms. In the past, stockings and garters were often seen as necessary to maintain a ladylike appearance. However, as gender roles have evolved and traditional notions of femininity have been challenged, women now have more freedom to define their own style without conforming to rigid expectations.

Another factor is the rise of body positivity and inclusivity. Women are embracing their bodies in all shapes and sizes and asserting their right to feel comfortable and confident. Stockings and garters can sometimes be seen as restrictive or uncomfortable for some individuals, and the fashion industry has responded by offering a wider range of hosiery options to accommodate diverse preferences.

Furthermore, the advent of technology and the rise of the internet have democratized fashion. With the click of a button, women can access an endless array of fashion choices and inspiration from around the world. This increased accessibility has led to a broader range of fashion trends and a greater emphasis on individuality and personal style.

Moreover, the fast-paced nature of modern life has also contributed to the decline of stockings and garters. Women today often prioritize convenience and practicality in their fashion choices. Pantyhose, tights, and leggings offer a one-piece solution that is easy to wear and maintain, making them more appealing in a busy world.

Lastly, the changing workplace dynamics and dress codes have also influenced fashion choices. Many workplaces have become more casual, with dress standards favoring comfort and functionality over formal attire. This shift has reduced the demand for traditional accessories like stockings and garters.

It’s important to note that while these social and cultural changes have led to a decline in the usage of stockings and garters, they have also opened the doors for new fashion possibilities and individual expression. Women have more autonomy to make choices that align with their personal style and comfort preferences.

Now that we’ve discussed the social and cultural changes that have contributed to the decline of stockings and garters, let’s explore the rise of pantyhose as an alternative and its impact on women’s fashion.


Popularity of Pantyhose

In the mid-20th century, pantyhose emerged as a popular alternative to stockings and garters. These one-piece garments combined both stockings and panties, providing convenience, comfort, and a seamless look. Pantyhose quickly gained popularity and became a staple in women’s fashion.

One of the key factors that contributed to the rise of pantyhose was their versatility. Unlike stockings and garters that required multiple pieces to create a complete look, pantyhose offered a cohesive and streamlined option. Women could effortlessly achieve a polished and put-together appearance with a single garment.

Pantyhose also gained popularity due to their practicality. With busy schedules and demanding lifestyles, women sought clothing options that were easy to wear and maintain. Pantyhose offered a convenient solution, as they could be quickly slipped on and didn’t require any additional accessories or adjustments throughout the day.

Furthermore, advancements in textile technology played a significant role in the popularity of pantyhose. These innovations allowed for the production of sheer and lightweight fabrics, offering a more comfortable and breathable experience. Women no longer had to compromise between style and comfort, as pantyhose provided both.

The rise of pantyhose coincided with women’s increasing presence in the workforce. As more women entered professional settings, dress codes evolved to reflect the changing times. Pantyhose became an essential component of a polished and professional appearance, often considered a necessary accessory for formal events and corporate settings.

While the popularity of pantyhose reached its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, it began to decline in the following decades. The cultural shifts towards casual and relaxed fashion, as well as the rise of bare legs as a fashion statement, contributed to the decrease in demand for pantyhose.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of pantyhose, particularly in fashion-forward circles. Designers have experimented with bold patterns, textures, and colors, offering women a broader range of options to express their personal style. Pantyhose have found their place as a fashion accessory, allowing women to make a statement and add a touch of flair to their outfits.

It is important to note that while pantyhose may have experienced fluctuations in popularity, they continue to be a choice for many women. Every woman has diverse preferences and fashion needs, and pantyhose remains a viable option to enhance their confidence and style.

Now that we have examined the popularity and influence of pantyhose, let’s move on to the modern-day attitudes and practices surrounding stockings and garters.


Modern-Day Attitudes and Practices

In the modern-day, attitudes towards stockings and garters have become more varied and personalized. Women now have a plethora of options when it comes to legwear, ranging from pantyhose to tights, leggings, and bare legs. Let’s explore the diverse attitudes and practices surrounding stockings and garters in today’s fashion landscape.

For some women, stockings and garters hold a nostalgic appeal. They choose to embrace the elegance and classic charm associated with these traditional accessories. Vintage-inspired fashion trends have gained popularity in recent years, with women incorporating stockings and garters into their outfits as a homage to the glamour of the past.

On the other hand, many women prefer the convenience and simplicity of pantyhose or tights. These options offer a seamless and polished look without the need for garter belts or multiple pieces. They are versatile enough to be worn in various settings, from professional environments to casual outings.

Bare legs have also become a popular choice among women. The rise of body positivity and self-acceptance has encouraged a greater embrace of natural beauty and personal freedom. Opting for bare legs allows women to showcase their confidence and challenge societal norms that once dictated the necessity of legwear.

It’s worth mentioning that individual preferences and fashion choices may vary based on personal style, climate, occasion, and cultural norms. In some cultures, legwear, including stockings and garters, may still hold cultural significance or be a mandatory part of formal attire.

With ongoing advancements in fashion and textile technology, women now have access to an array of hosiery options. Sheer, opaque, patterned, and textured tights allow for self-expression and experimentation, enabling women to tailor their legwear choices to suit their individual tastes.

Additionally, social media and online platforms have democratized fashion, allowing women to share their personal style and inspirations with a global audience. This has had a significant impact on shaping modern attitudes towards legwear, as women can discover new trends, fashion influencers, and styling ideas for stockings and garters.

Ultimately, the modern-day fashion landscape celebrates diversity and individuality. Whether a woman chooses to wear stockings and garters for a special occasion, opts for the convenience of pantyhose or tights, or confidently embraces bare legs, the key is to feel comfortable and empowered in her fashion choices.

Now that we have explored the modern-day attitudes and practices surrounding stockings and garters, let’s conclude our journey through the world of women’s legwear.



The world of women’s legwear has evolved significantly over the centuries, with stockings and garters playing a prominent role in shaping fashion trends and societal norms. From their origins in ancient civilizations to their peak popularity in the 20th century, these accessories have symbolized femininity, elegance, and sophistication.

However, with the passage of time, changing fashion trends, social shifts, and advancements in textile technology have led to a decline in the usage of stockings and garters. Women now have a myriad of options to choose from, including pantyhose, tights, leggings, and bare legs, each reflecting individual preferences, comfort, and personal style.

While stockings and garters may no longer be everyday essentials for most women, there is still a place for them in fashion subcultures and for those who appreciate their timeless allure. The resurgence of vintage-inspired fashion and the availability of diverse legwear options have ensured that women can still embrace the elegance and charm associated with these traditional accessories.

Navigating the world of legwear is a personal journey, influenced by individual tastes, societal norms, and cultural traditions. Fashion is a testament to the ever-changing nature of our society, as it reflects our evolving attitudes, preferences, and expressions of identity.

What remains constant is the importance of choice and authenticity. Every woman has the right to choose how she wants to represent herself through her fashion choices, whether it be embracing the nostalgia of stockings and garters, opting for the convenience of pantyhose, or confidently baring her legs.

As society continues to evolve, fashion will undoubtedly follow suit. The future of legwear remains open-ended, with the potential for new styles, designs, and innovations to emerge. What matters most is that women feel empowered and comfortable in their choices, allowing their personal style to shine through.

So, whether you prefer the elegance of stockings and garters or the modern versatility of pantyhose, let your fashion choices reflect your unique personality and celebrate the journey of expressing yourself through the world of legwear.

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