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Entries in socks (21)


Stocking Stuff

Recently I found a stack of 1960s vintage stockings in a thrift store, which was a fun and thrilling find that had more to do with the packaging than the actual contents. This is partly because I am a graphic designer, and mostly because I can’t be bothered with donning garters on a regular basis, especially as I am always dressing in a hurry. In my early 20s I often did wear stockings, and cursed when I had failed to button garters properly. There is nothing like the horror and mortification of a stocking coming down at the most inopportune moment due to failed garters!

Vintage Stockings

There is a set of three pairs of nylon stockings by Bouquet, in a beige skin tone, size 8½; one packet had already been opened and the contents examined – whether by the original owner or someone else I don’t know, but they haven’t been worn.

The wonderful second package – illustrated with a poodle! – contains Kolotex Clings stockings, in the colour ‘Flame’, size 8½–9. If the poodle on the box is not enough to delight you, the interior packaging is priceless. It includes instructions for how to put pantyhose on (I would add to them: file your nails, or else wear cotton gloves when pulling on fine hosiery), and also a promotional pamphlet disguised as a fashion quiz, the cover design of which is in an early psychedelic style. This pamphlet is full of everything you wanted to know about Trikolon, a 2-way nylon: ‘so fine a spider couldn’t spin it’.

While Kolotex was already producing full pantyhose at this point, the owner of these clearly had not yet made the shift – or perhaps they had in fact, which is why the contents of these packages remained unworn relics.

Click for larger version

A Bit of History

Nylon was introduced in 1939 by chemical company DuPont, but WWII interrupted the manufacture of stockings, leading to global shortages and a black market that did not abate until the end of the war. Even after production was reinstated, DuPont could not keep up with the immediate demand, and that lead to nylon riots in America!

Pantyhose were introduced in 1959 and quickly became popular, eventually superseding stockings in sales, especially with the Sixties craze for minidresses. It was not until 1987 that sales declined – though only a little – with the newly invented stay-up stockings. These are my favourite: there is no bother of pulling them up and down whenever one goes to the bathroom, and there is no tiresome fiddling with garters.

The copy in the Kolotex fashion quiz is quite entertaining; click through to the gallery to see all twelve pages.

Photos: March 2017


What I Actually Wore #129

Serial #: 0129
Date: 01/07/2013
Weather: 18°C / 64°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

This is a very cute outfit! While there are a lot of quirky items, the minimal colour palette of tan, gold, grey and white keeps it from looking too over-the-top, especially when you remember in the office I would have shed the coat, hat and bag. Nearly all of the items are still in my closet too. The socks wore out, and the skirt I gave away to a friend, and only now that I look at it fondly again do I wonder if I should have kept it.

Because the skirt is quite wild, I deliberately chose to wear a neutral grey jumper, and picked out the pompom bandeau to match the circle print on the skirt. I continued the circular theme with my silver bauble earrings and a pearl ring.

The vintage 70s suede and rabbit fur trimmed coat is a beloved favourite. I’ve told the story before, but years ago I learned from a random stranger on a tram that this particular coat was inspired by the 70s film Dr Zhivago. Apparently it was very expensive, and that stranger had it in red. She was so impressed to see that I had found one in such good condition, and urged me to take good care of it.

The truth was that the coat was in terrible condition when I bought it: the original lining was completely shredded, the fur trim was coming away from the suede panels, and some of the buttons were detaching; I paid only $40 for it.

I persuaded my oldest sister Blossom to remake the lining for me as a birthday present (she has been a seamstress since way back). That turned out to be a labour of pure sisterly love as it was a huge job. I managed to fix the buttons myself, and also the detaching trims (that occurred some time after the coat left my sister’s loving hands) by gluing scrap leather on the reverse to reinforce the weak seams. Fortunately my sister had left the bottom of the lining open, so I was able to access the inside easily.

Now I wear the coat only occasionally in order to preserve its life as long as possible – I just have to wait for the weather to cool down and autumn to finally begin!


Jumper: ink
Philippe Matignon
vintage 50s
Stephen Dattner, vintage 70s
Elise Carrel

Photos: October 2013


What I Actually Wore #128

Serial #: 0128
Date: 24/06/2013
Weather: 12°C / 53°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

This outfit amuses me, nearly four years on. I was still on my Ballet Russes kick, but I remember the sheer number of colours in this outfit was a rebellion against my own edict of not wearing more than 2–3 hues at once, as well as being inspired by a life drawing I did twenty years before in art college.

I remember somewhat quixotically selecting two fluorescent soft pastels that were amongst a 12-pack I had bought cheap. (Reduced probably because no one else had wanted to buy it.) I chose hot pink and lemon yellow. As a testament of my drawing teacher’s trust, she did not comment until I was close to resolving the drawing, after the additional introduction of cobalt and neutral shades. Then she told me that she had been very dubious at the outset, but admitted I had successfully pulled the drawing together. It was even framed and exhibited at the end of the year.

And here is the same colour palette rendered in cloth! All the garments are contemporary; only the hat and earrings are vintage, a 1920s cap with feather pom-pom, and woven cane hoops which are possibly 70s or 80s.

The hot pink long sleeved tee is a woollen merino knit, one of Kookaï’s trusty basics; the acid yellow top is by Veronika Maine, a favourite Australian label; and the linen skirt I bought in Spain. My other accessories include a cobalt Italian patent leather belt I bought on sale in David Jones, a local department store, French over-the-knee socks I wore to death, and a pair of wedges I bought from an online sale store.

Unusually for me, I put the outfit together the night before, and even ironed it then! I really liked it then (my notes say), and it still makes me smile, especially because of the inspiration behind it.


Tee: Kookaï
Veronika Maine
Celia Velo, souvenir from Spain
Alta Linea
Philippe Matignon
Merimac Hat Co, vintage 20s from Etsy
souvenir from Vietnam

Photos: September 2013


What I Actually Wore #126

Serial #: 0126
Date: 10/06/2013
Weather: 16°C / 61°F
Time Allowed: 10 minutes

It was a rather chilly day today, and I dressed for the weather. This outfit was built around the cashmere jumper, which reminded me of a cheerleading sweater when I first saw it on eBay. It’s in a favourite shade of robin’s egg blue, and I also love cherries!

The pleated navy and cream houndstooth wool skirt is a vintage (possibly 80s) find from years ago, while the 1940s beret-style platter hat is a purchase from Etsy. The jewellery is a mixture of handmade (silver bauble earrings) and souvenirs from travels (various ‘charms’ collected on a sterling silver chain).

The suede shoes are also favourites; I still wear them, and will continue to do so until they fall apart! They’ve already had their soles repaired once or twice. I used to have a pair of tights that exactly matched the cherry-red of the leather, but after they were ruined I was never able to find another pair that matched so closely. These are over-the-knee socks I am wearing, held up by suspenders as they always sag.

I call this cute look preppy with a vintage cheerleading twist and a cherry on top!


Jumper: vintage
David Jones
Sock Shop
Warners (on Shop Style)
handmade, souvenir, vintage
Kenneth Cole

Photos: October 2013



Recently my niece Bluejay and I decided to have a Twin Peaks marathon, ahead of the new series being released next year, especially because we had done one nearly twenty years ago (Bluejay is only four years younger than me). Yesterday we had our first session, managing to get through the entire first season. It was so much fun!

As far as style goes, Audrey Horne is – as she probably is for many others – my favourite character. Her cute, preppy look has become iconic over time. As Bluejay asked yesterday evening, “How is it that though Audrey wears the same kind of clothes as everyone else, she looks much sexier?” I laughed, and we decided that it’s because her clothes are closer-fitting, and her sweaters are mostly plain, rather than emblazoned with hideous 80s patterns. Any hint of subversiveness lies more in her character than in the demure clothes she wears.

“How is it that though Audrey wears the same kind of clothes as everyone else, she looks much sexier?”

The iconic Audrey Horne of David Lynch's Twin PeaksIt was very entertaining to see the fashions everyone was wearing – so sloppy and dowdy! So many enormous sweaters in earthy, muted tones. And the big hair! I asked Bluejay in astonishment, “Did we think they were dowdy back then?” I couldn’t remember wearing such clothes – I was at art school when Twin Peaks was first aired in Australia. “We didn’t dress like that,” Bluejay answered, “it was weird.” Well of course the whole show was weird! The fashion just gave it an extra dimension of strangeness.

The fashion just gave [Twin Peaks] an extra dimension of strangeness.

I’ve managed to put together an Audrey-esque outfit from existing items in my closet: I actually own a great many plaid pleated skirts, although I wouldn’t say I dress preppy at all! However, I do have a sneaking fondness for the look. Nor do I currently own any brogues or penny loafers – I had to make do with a pair of very high brogue-inspired heels.

Bobbysoxers are just so darned cute! Click the image to find out more about bobbysoxers and their entertaining origins.Interestingly, earlier in the week while researching 1950s daywear, I came across another section in my book Fashion: The Whole Story (Marnie Fogg, Thames & Hudson, 2013) about bobbysoxers of the 1940s, who wore skirts with sweaters, and the eponymous bobby socks with loafers. These rebellious teens were surely the inspiration behind Audrey’s look, along with shades of the 50s and 80s.

I was amused to note the first close-up of Audrey’s penny loafers as she enters her father’s chauffeur-driven car to go to school: black and white, and worn without socks – a saucier rendition of the look.

Her hair and makeup are also reminiscent of the 40s (the lack of bangs and side part) and 50s (the short curls). I pinned up my hair at the back and curled the shorter layers to emulate Audrey’s do, but her hairstyle is giving me some much-needed inspiration.

I can’t wait to see what David Lynch has in store for us – narratively and sartorially – in the new series!

Photos: This week