Anytime you fasten a clasp to a stocking you play with time.
Back in time to a romanticized not-so-long-ago era, part pin-up and a little bombshell. Dressing like the women who came before you dressed, perhaps as you remember Mom dressing. All the vintage elements designed to drive Mad Men just a little more mad about you.
Ahead in time too, a few hours only, to an anticipated moment later that night, after supper and a show. Innocently you ask for a little help with your zip, step out of the dress pooled at your heels and turn your brash, big-talking man into quiet, blushing putty in your hands.
Lingerie, at its best is our private time travel device. This is one of the reasons that my love for lingerie is as deep and lasting as it is. These filmy, insubstantial things are possessed of the power to bend time itself to our angelic and sometimes devilish wills.
I had a different thought about time though as I peeled up a new pair of Vintage Hanes 415 Style Nylon RHT Stockings from personal fave StockinGirl. I thought about how wonderful it felt to take my time. I thought about how rare the opportunities are to just slow down and truly revel in the moment. I thought about how as pressed for time we all are, and realized that a fine pair of stockings can have the power to stop and still time, if we just take a deep breath and take care with this gorgeous, private ritual.
StockinGirl has been in the luxury leg wear business for 20 years now, and the go-to online venue for stocking lovers since 2000. And StockinGirl might not be doing what they beautifully do if Ms. M., the mysterious and passionate founder of StockinGirl did not fall in love with the original Hanes 415’s that these beautiful reproductions are modeled after. That is the original pictured above. And here is what she told me about them:
style=”text-align: center”>“I have a sentimental crush on these stockings, I guess because they were the first stockings that we designed. This is a style that I remember when I was selling hosiery in a department store years ago, when they sold stockings in beautifully wrapped boxes with tissue paper. I collected about 100 pairs of these stockings, I loved the intricate details of the vintage Hanes stockings, the diamond welt, the white band at the top. The feel of them was absolutely supreme.
style=”text-align: center”> My friends never understood why I loved these, stockings were definitely not in style for young women at that time. So when I started making vintage reproductions of stockings that were in my personal collection, these were my first. It took about two years to get the prototype correct as the factory was not used to making this style, but when it was finally right I was so happy!”
Hanes is long since out of the 415 business, and this is a great shame. Happily for us, someone followed her muse and followed in the Hanes footsteps. I can’t compare the StockinGirl reproduction against the original, but I can put them up against my own finicky standards and expectations.
Fit: The all nylon leg is gently graduated in width from stocking top to tapered ankle. This is a stretch nylon that gives a little at bent knee and rebounds smartly stepping out of the car or off a chair. As I write this, I am about 6 hours into my second test day, and I am happy to report that the memory of the fiber is superb, no baggy, saggy sadness at all. My ankle is sleek, my knees are too, and the welt is comfortably snug on thigh, at precisely the height I fastened them today. The fully finished, socket heel foot is roomy and comfy too, no pinching at the toe. When looking at the size chart, if you feel as though you are borderline between sizes, or if you are especially tall and long legged, swallow your pride for just a moment and please go to the bigger size.
Feel: All of the fit goodness would be a little wasted if they did not feel like a million dollars. They do. Flat knit nylon has a different feel than everyday Lycra enriched elasticized yarns, just a little closer to the leg, a little more sleek and polished. They glide where the newfangled stuff clings. Some flat knit nylon can feel a little coarse, and indeed can be more prone to snagging and laddering. The StockinGirl 415’s however are beautifully soft on the leg and to the hand, completely touchable. This lightweight 15d sheer is a good 4 season weight, cool enough for the summer, dressy enough for cooler times too.
Finish: Here, the little details shine. The double dark reinforced toe and heel socket are a lovely departure from the everyday. The leg provides light, subtle, matte cosmetic coverage, invisible and noticeable all at the same time. The graduation from sheer leg to darkened band just below welt may whisper (but not shout) from beneath a short hem. The leg is seamed to a gorgeously heathered welt that is sturdy enough to stand the strain of your garter clasp. And on top of it all, the signature ring of fire, a pale picot strip, an oh-so-pretty detail, and a trick of knitting that lends durability to even the frailest of fibers.
Make some time for yourself. Take your time preparing to dress. Take your time dressing. Choose an outfit that will help you savor time too, the pencil skirt, the fitted sheath dress. Wear the heels you can’t hurry in. Walk a little more slowly, a little more possessed. Expect that the world will slow down for you, and for moments and hours at a time, it will. This feeling is, to me, today, here as I wear my new StockinGirl’s, and write these words for you, is the best feeling, and absolutely justifies this luxurious little spree.