Tag : legwear

Hose, Stockings, and a Century of Sheer Sexiness

There is nothing sexier than a woman slowly pulling up her stockings.  Those thin, leg-hugging garments make your legs look so soft and tanned.  But when did that all start?

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 Back in the late 1500s, William Lee of Nottinghamshire invented the first knitting machine and made the first machine-made seamed hose.  At the time, men of good families wore stockings and garters under their doublets.  It was not for women until the Victorian era.  Stockings were made of wool or silk until a revolutionary yarn was invented in 1912:  the rayon fibre, also called artificial silk.  Then, in the 1930s, nylon was created for the first time.  It was such a popular material that stockings quickly became known as nylons.  “Strong as steel, as fine as spiders web”, declared its inventors Du Pont, as they showcased it at the New York World Fair in 1939.

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Nylons were an immediate success.  Women rushed out to buy them.  In Europe and in America, with the WWII restrictions, nylons could be had for a whopping $10 (a fortune in those days) on the black market.  While nylon is a strong fibre, it has no stretch, so manufacturers had to shape them and make stockings in many sizes so they would fit perfectly.

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In 1959, Du Pont (yes, them again) came up with a new, stretchy fibre called lycra.  Goodbye baggy ankles, say hello to comfortable hosiery that fits!  Say also goodbye to the seam as circular knitting became the norm.  This was perfect timing as, with the 1960s, hems went up and mini-skirts became popular.  Hose, or as is what now called pantyhose, became more visible.  This created a demand for fun, colourful hose, in a variety of patterns.

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Today, hosiery is enjoying a revival.  Its sex appeal makes it an essential item in your lingerie drawer.  At Undiewarehouse.com.au, we have the pleasure to offer over 200 different choices.  No matter which type you want, we have it.  We thrive to be your one-stop shop for the ultimate in high quality hosiery.

We offer the best names in the industry such as these Ambra in footless, no waist, body shapers, fishnets, ultra sheers, opaque and ladder resistant, control tights, and hipsters just to name a few.  We are proud to carry some amazing Razzamatazz pantyhose such as the curvaceous line in sheer and opaque.  We have a large collection of amazing stay-ups such as the Voodoo Killer Legs  that not only stay up but boasts a pretty lace border and a sensual aroma.

For an edgy and trendy look, why not try our leatherette leggings, available in blue or silver?  These full-length leggings only need a slinky top and some high heels for you to go out on the town.

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No matter the look you want, we’re sure to make you a very happy customer with our extensive lines of hosiery.

A Historical Look at Hosiery – Part 2

Continuing our historical look at hosiery … did you know?

  • In the year 1609, William Lee traveled to France, seeking subsidies and a monopoly patent on his knitting machine from French King Henry IV. It was not granted, and Lee died penniless in Paris.
  • Even by 1696, stocking frames had to be smuggled out of England; the penalty at this time if caught doing so was a forty pound fine (a huge amount of money in those days) and any machines seized were confiscated.
  •  In America during the Revolutionary war, the need for stockings was greatly enhanced. Most of the army’s needs for stockings were seen to by citizens who hand wove and knit for the troops.
  • In 1818, two English framework knitters successfully smuggled an old hosiery frame out of England and established themselves in the United States.
  • The 1800s were a busy time in the evolution of hosiery production. The first circular knitting frame was available in England in 1816; and by 1838 the US had a steam power driven hosiery machine. 1839 saw a US patent for a power driven circular knitting machine, and latch needles were patented in the US in 1850. By 1860, hosiery production in the Unites States had dramatically increased.
  • Between 1860 and 1900, wool was replaced as the fibre of choice for hosiery, being blended with cotton, then eventually being virtually overtaken by cotton.

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  • By 1929, the vast majority of women’s stockings were made of silk.  Rayon was also eventually used as an alternative to the expensive silk.

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  • The circular knitting machine was invented in the 1930s. This would lead to the eventual invention of the seamless stocking. Until about 1950, stockings had seams; by 1950, however, seamless stockings appeared, to the relief of women everywhere.

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  • 1938 saw the invention of nylon by DuPont. Stockings would never be the same! Better fitting, and not as baggy at the knees or ankles, nylon stockings quickly replaced their silk counterparts and sold out very quickly. Manufacturers could not keep up with the demand, and the Japanese silk market actually collapsed.
  • During World War II, hosiery for women was a luxury. Nylon was needed for tent and parachute production for the military. The only people with any access to nylon stockings were American soldiers – who used this to their advantage when wooing English and Australian women.  The absence of nylon stockings resulted in a lot of women choosing to brown their legs and draw a seam with an eyebrow pencil; certain make-up companies marketed “liquid stockings” for that specific purpose. At the end of World War II, in 1945, New York department store Macy’s sold out of its stock of fifty thousand pairs of nylon stockings in just six hours.

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  • Spandex was invented in 1959, making stockings much more flattering and comfortable to wear.
  • Until the 1960s, stockings were held up by suspenders attached to a girdle, or by elasticized garters. But change was coming…

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Stay tuned for the 1960’s to the present day next time…

A Historical Look at Hosiery – Part 1

Hosiery, or “hose”, refers to legwear, or apparel worn specifically on the legs or feet. Traditionally made by a “hosier”, the fabrics used for hosiery are knitted and of varying thickness and weight. This thickness is termed “denier”.

Denier is a term which defines how much light will pass through the fabric. Lower deniers, between five and fifteen, describe hosiery which is sheer. Above forty denier, the fabric is dense; at one hundred denier, no light will pass through at all.

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Most women and men will wear some form of hosiery; these days  the  term broadly covers stockings, pantyhose, knee highs, socks, leggings, tights, bodystockings, and even legwarmers. But where did it all begin?

Traditionally, hosiery was worn for warmth.

  • The term “hosiery” comes from the Anglo-Saxon “hosa”, meaning “tight legged trouser”. “Stocking” originates also from Anglo-Saxon; “stoka” meaning “stump”. “Sock” comes from the Latin, “soccus”, which was a soft indoor slipper.
  • Even Neolithic man knew how to spin yarn and fibres; in time cloth was woven and hand knitted. The first examples of knitting as we know it today date from ~1000AD; thought to have originated in Arabic nations, it was introduced to Britain by the 1200s.
  • A pair of hand knitted red wool socks was found in an ancient Egyptian tomb sometime between 400 and 500 AD. They tied by a cord at the top to hold them in place at the ankle.

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  • Romans were documented by author Hesiod as having covered their legs with strips of leather or cloth tied on.
  • Charlemagne wore leg bindings in the period between 770 and 810 AD.
  • Young Venetian men in the 1300s wore silk leggings underneath short jackets. These leggings were usually brightly embroidered, and scandalised the older Venetians of the time.

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  • Queen Elizabeth I received her first pair of silk stockings in 1560.

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  • After the invention in 1598 of the first knitting machine by Englishman William Lee, hosiery was knitted from wool, silk, and cotton. Queen Elizabeth I was presented with a pair of black silk stockings, by which she was extremely impressed and requested more.  She deemed that the knitting machine was an English national treasure!

Stay tuned for Part 2…