Colorful,Textured Hose in the 1960s

Opaque, colored pantyhose shown in Elegance magazine, Fall/Winter 1965-66 issue.

Opaque and fishnet-textured hose from Sears, 1968.

1968: Sears was selling both textured stockings and textured pantyhose. And suggesting the layered look.

“Fishnet” mesh pantyhose from Sears, 1968.

Catniphill commented on a previous post: “I could sew, so I made all my own outfits for school. I was in Jr High from 1966 to 1968 and wore a garter belt with opaque hose covered with fishnet hose in a contrasting color. I certainly flashed a lot of elastic during those days and always crossed my legs and sat crosswise on the school attached chairs. Suddenly pantyhose was available and dubiously I tried wearing something that looked like it would fit a doll–but it stretched amazingly. So I switched to opaque tights with fishnet pantyhose for some outfits and regular pantyhose for others. One of my favorite outfits was a fine-wale yellow corduroy babydoll worn with brown tights with yellow fishnets. I had matching daisy jewelry for this outfit. I still have all my patterns.”

[Ah, yes: Daisy pins and other big, painted floral pins! I used to find lots of them in thrift stores — but when I wanted one for a play set in 1967, I couldn’t find one.]

Center: dark semi-opaque hose (probably pantyhose) went well with the rising skirts of 1969. Simplicity pattern 8365. [I wore my brown tights with a dress very like the one on the left.]

As skirt lengths rose to several inches above the top of the knee, stockings became more varied, and more attention-getting. Instead of “flesh” or “suntan” hosiery, brilliant colors and textures from lace to “chickenwire” appeared on women’s legs.

Textured stockings from Sears, 1968 catalog.

The textures here are “Fishnet, [2] ” “Chicken-wire [3],” and “Diamond [5]” pattern.

Sears’ colors included bright yellow, neon pink, bright orange, bright grass green, pale blue, light pink,  and more conservative navy, deep brown, and parchment white.

Simplicity pattern 7622 from 1968.

Simplicity 7622 worn with heavily textured white pantyhose. 1968.

Simplicity 7755 from 1968.

Textured hose worn with Simplicity 7755. Stripes.

Even conservative “Jackie” style suits like this one …

McCall’s 7981 from 1965.

… could be worn with textured hose:

Vogue pattern with textured hose, Elegance, Fall/Winter 1965-66.

Textured or patterned stockings had also been popular for casual wear in the 1920s, another “leg-conscious” era:

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/textured-hose-from-an-article-about-rainwear-delineator-april-1929.jpg

Textured hose from 1929. Delineator, April 1929.

So were wild colors:

The dropped waists of the 1920s (and very long Twenties’ style necklaces) also reappeared in the Sixties.

McCall’s 8135 from 1965.

So it’s not surprising that colorful, attention-getting stockings reappeared, too.

Pink opaque pantyhose or tights, in Elegance, Fall/Winter 1965/66.

Simplicity 7236 dated 1967. Opaque white pantyhose or tights. (Good if your legs were thin….)

“Trapeze” dresses also went well with opaque pantyhose, although these models are wearing sheer pantyhose. Butterick 4873 from 1968.

In theory, men didn’t like the trapeze style because it concealed a woman’s shape. However, it was a great time for “leg” men. Click here for a photo of Sixties’ supermodel Twiggy in a shape concealing, thigh revealing dress. (Very modest, from the hem up….)

22 Comments

Filed under 1960s-1970s, Hosiery, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc

22 responses to “Colorful,Textured Hose in the 1960s

  1. Denise

    Does this bring back memories! I had some fishnet panty hose in high school. They hurt the bottom of my feet to walk in!

    • I tried a pair of heavy textured tights once. Ouch! Hurt the balls of my feet. Maybe that explains why women were willing to wear opaque tights under them.
      Incidentally, for the benefit of younger readers, before the Sixties’ craze, fishnet stockings were the “shorthand” for “this woman is a prostitute” in cartoons, etc.

  2. I had textured hose for work, but don’t recall them hurting my feet. They were subtle and conservative – no fish nets! Hadn’t realised this is another fashion from the 20’s so thank you for the research!

    • I think the discomfort is very individual. My friends didn’t get blisters on the balls of their feet from wearing seamed stockings, but sometimes, I did. About twenties textures: they can be seen in the Sears catalogs, and I remember watching a twenties’ movie with scenes in a stocking company’s office: there were mannequin legs wearing textured stockings on display there.

      • Will have a gander at your link as 20’s Sears’ catalogues sound interesting!

      • If you subscribe to Ancestry.com, you have access to “Historic Sears, Roebuck Catalogs.” Hint: Ancestry offers a free trial subscription period… To reach the Sears catalogs, click on “search,” then “card Catalog,” then “Newspapers and Publications” and then type “Sears” in the search box. You’ll be able to search for a specific year and item (e.g., 1927 “exact” “Stocking” exact, or broaden your search by choosing “1927” + or- 3 years and not clicking “exact” on your keyword.

      • Thank you, Dear One, but have been there & done that ages ago, & they don’t care for repeaters. Hope you will forgive me!

      • Sorry — I ended up subscribing just so I could use the Sears catalog — and then fell into a genealogy rabbit hole. “Just” trying to identify some family photos led to stories of madness, suicides, and even a murder inquest…. Genealogy can be fascinating, but a “time vampire.” However, I’m still using the catalog!

      • Look books can be quire restorative sometimes… 😉

      • Half wool! Wonder if the other half was cotton…

  3. anna

    I remember those textured tights! I was in elementary school in the sixties and there was a definite Dress code! No pants at school. You could wear snowpants under your skirt TO school but were not to wear them indoors, or to recess either! The textured tights were such a pain to pull up after using the bathroom, trying to get the pattern straight and even so it didn’t wander up your legs. I remember my first pantyhose, lying on my back on the bed with my legs in the air to get them to streeeetch! And oh, those heavy seams on the toes!
    I also remember some bright spark coming up with “panty hose” that were separate legs with a band of material that went around the other side of your body, if that makes sense. The idea being that if you got a run in one leg you could exchange it for another without having to buy a new pair. Good idea but it didn’t last. No one I know remembers them.

  4. It is confusing to me to hear lots of talk of textured versus patterned but not applied to the things I would call textured or patterned–I would have called many of the things above patterned since they seem flat and the pattern seems to be made by colour within the pantyhose/tights instead of the tights being knitted into thicker textured patterns. Much of what I recall from the 60s was patterned in the sense of colours on/in flat pantyhose or tights, and the occasional Easter abomination of textured tights, which looked more subtle in photos or drawings than much of what I see above. Am I not seeing this right? It’s very possible!

    • I think we called all patterns “textured hose” but as you say, some “textures” were thick like fishnets and some were as smooth as normal hose, but with patterns knitted into them. Delicate, black lace patterns as well as stripes and geometrics were around in the 1980s, too.

      • It seemed like some patterns were printed with varying degrees of success in the early days, because printing plus stretch in wearing often equalled the pattern fading or almost flaking off the cheap ones. The more delicate lace-pattern ones you mention were often beautiful, or at least lovely in the package. Some stripey ones came back about 1980–I remember those. There was that sort of New Wave time period with lots of stripey clothing, most often all striped around as opposed to up-and-down–and then anything went!

      • I see “retro” sites selling psychedelic patterned hose, but honestly don’t remember them from the sixties — and I lived and worked in San Francisco during the “Summer of Love,” 1967. I bought some clothes on Haight St. I definitely saw more “ethnic” clothed hippies than people wearing Carnaby Street clothes on Haight St. Including a lot of sad runaways…. TV and movies always got “hippies” wrong — too clean and well-fed.

      • You would have seen them certainly in person. I know a woman who went to Woodstock at age 13 with her slightly older brother, got lost, and she never saw the brother again in her whole life–that’s sobering.

        I was a kid then, and only saw the tights in a shop downtown (NJ) that sold Mary Quant perfume and later all kinds of tacky disco-wear. I still recall the smell of the perfume. Apparently she made a few, and I really liked the one I bought somewhere along the line.

  5. Trish Sheard

    How I remember these sixties patterns as I had just become a teen and, in the UK at least, we were still wearing stockings, but white with a lacy pattern as I recall! Ah the difficulties of being prim and proper in an above the knee shift dress, with stockings that never seemed to come up quite high enough – at age 12 it was all quite confusing.

    • I was also confused — I’ve been meaning to write about how hard it was to understand grown-up underwear when some ads were aimed at people so conservative that the models were shown wearing clothes (sometimes leotards) under their girdles, bras, etc! (And the movie production code forbade ever showing “the inside of a women’s thigh.” That made things difficult for makers of garter belts, etc.) 🙂

  6. anna

    That fall/winter Elegance photo smacked me right in the chops….somewhere I saw it back then! I’d have been about five, but those coats and faces, so familiar.

    • When I taught fashion history & makeup classes I liked to show students slides of the changing fashions in facial beauty; I was secretly pleased when I moved on from a 1960’s photo of Jean Shrimpton, and one of my male students shouted, “Wait, wait: go back! Who is THAT?” Nice to know that a Sixties’ beauty still registered with young men in 1995.

  7. Pamela

    In 1966-67, I remember my mother buying me two dresses sold with matching textured hose. The hose lasted forever. One of the dresses was a doubleknit of some sort, printed with a giant orange and purple zig-zag design. I adored it. I also took off sewing at that age and made several babydoll dresses, as well as wool mini-skirts, all of which were worn with patterned hose. There were still textile mills in NH and I could buy woolen piece goods of less than a yard, sufficient for a teenager’s miniskirt. By high school I was sewing granny gowns and bell-sleeved tops. 1971-72 was the first year I could wear pants or jeans to school.

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