Do Women Realize The Difference Between Plain Knit And Mesh Nylon Stockings?
One of our members submitted this to us…
I was curious, especially for those ladies who are old enough to have grown up wearing gartered nylon stockings. Originally, all nylon stockings were flat (plain) knit and seamed and then even with circular knitting machines the stockings were still plain knit. That is the variety that makes the stockings shine and feel so slippery and make that “shick-shick-shick” sound under a tight skirt and a zipping sound when a lady sits and crosses her legs. Sadly only around two of the original “Reading” machines exist today that are capable of making such hosiery, one machine is in England, the other in France! A real shame when there were once nearly 600 stocking manufacturers!
Mesh stockings made of a rougher nylon came about in the early 70’s and these did not shine and felt pebbly or rough to the touch, like sandpaper! They made the popular Hanes sheers until 1992 but sadly the market dried up when stockings went out of fashion. The only stockings you can get today, many are mesh, others though nicely knit contain lycra which isn’t as good as the old fashioned vintage sheers.
When you ladies bought nylon stockings did you seek out the smooth plain knit stockings or just grab anything in your size off the rack? Did you realize the difference between those shiny, silky, zippy nylons and the scratchy ones or didn’t it matter? I would think silky beats scratchy any day, but time after time I’ve had girlfriends who more often than not bought the cheap scratchy ones! Why is that??
Some of our members respond…
Susan’s memory of the boys in high school waiting at the bottom of the stairs sure brings back memories for me! What innocent fun we all had back in the mid to late 60s. And for you guys who were standing there, we girls knew very well why you were there…and we loved it! Well, at least most of us did!
Regarding plain knit and mesh nylons, it’s all in the knitting method, as someone else pointed out. Mesh nylons were introduced in the early to mid 1950s and became popular due to their ability to resist runs better than plain knit nylons. Sometimes they were called “kant-runs”. Classic mesh and micromesh stockings don’t run when snagged (like plain knits do), they develop a hole. Micromesh stockings quickly became popular with teenagers because they were far more durable than plain knits, particularly given the abuse a teen gives to her stockings.
When I first started wearing nylons in 1961, my Mom bought me teenage stretch stockings which were always mesh knit. When my legs filled out enough to wear adult stockings, she bought me only 15 denier micromesh for school as I was pretty hard on nylons. But around 1966, I convinced her that flat knit 20 denier Hanes Walking Sheers were even more durable than the micromesh 15s so she got me those. The 20 denier walking sheers became the staple of my hosiery wardrobe for the rest of high school. Being “premium” nylons, they also came in graduated lengths. I was always a tall kid, and as hemlines rose, my Mom felt it was worth spending a bit more on long length stockings for me to keep the tops out of view.
Believe me, most of us girls knew the difference between plain knits and micromesh. Cheap micromesh stockings felt like sandpaper on your legs and they made an even louder rasping sound when you crossed your legs than plain knits did. As someone mentioned, Triumph, and other premium stocking manufacturers made mesh stockings that were silky to the touch. I have some of these now and they are quite nice. But we girls had no knowledge of these in the 1960s.
Before I was allowed to wear nylons, I used to sneak runny old pairs of my Mom’s plain knit FFs and wear them in bed. When I received my first pair of teen stretch seamless for my 10th birthday, I hated the rough scratchy feel they had and the fact that they didn’t have that glossy sheen. To me, they were “baby nylons” and I was quite disappointed in them. By the time I was 13, and had filled out enough to wear adult nylons, I coaxed my Mom into buying me some flat knit RH&Ts, but I was only allowed to wear them to church. For school, it was strictly micromesh. Even my Mom saved her flat knits for dress once she switched to seamless hose around 1960…she wore micromesh for every day.
One other point…mesh and plain knit nylons were the same price during the 1960s. Cheap plain knits were available alongside cheap micromesh…both sometimes selling for as little as 29 cents a pair. As a comparison, Hanes stockings retailed at $1.50 a pair and were “fair traded” meaning it was not allowed to discount them. So whether a gal bought cheap, intermediate or premium priced stockings in the 1960s, they were all available as either plain knit or mesh. But most chose the mesh due to their hard-wearing characteristics.
I remember going to buy nylons in Filene’s Basement in Boston with my Mom back then. The spiel from the hosiery saleslady was always the same…size? seams or seamless? Mesh or plain knit? Color? Then she would grab a box of three or four pairs and put her hand in one stocking to show you the color.
Oh to go back then…
I remember way back when I was in high school, as I’ve stated before, loved to admire the girls covered legs. And if I was very fortunate, catch a peek of the pettipants, or welt, or both. At the time, I never really analyzed it too much. But I knew that I liked the girls wearing the more linear, or flat knit, hosiery, than the more crisscross, or mesh, pattern of hosiery. I also noted that the more ‘affluent’ girls tended to wear the flat knit hosiery. So I suppose that the flat knit was more expensive. But I remember treasuring the flat knit hosiery over the mesh type.
It’s interesting that my memory can be jogged in this way by reading the forum posts. It brings back so many memories I lived through during my adolescent years. And it’s truly amazing that are so many kindred spirits out there that have experienced, or are able to relate to, the same feelings I have during these ‘growing up’ years.
Even now, after all these years, and all the admiring of the diaphaneous covering on women’s legs, I still can’t totally understand Why? Is it a sexual thing? Is it a fetish aimed at the shine and sheen appearance of the hosiery? In my case, it isn’t that, because I always imagine the items on the woman’s leg and thigh.
I’m going off on a tangent, but as I was typing my post, so many thoughts and images were traveling through my pea brain.
There’s a key out there somewhere, to this lock of the reasons for the origin and methodology for these thoughts and feelings a person has inside. But I’ll be damned if I can find it! Maybe it’s for the best!
I think part of that allure you are talking about Rowlf is whatever the physical leg type of a female had the eye catching ability was increased ten fold when those same legs were covered in sheer stockings. Bobby socks or knee high socks sure as hell did nothing for a high school guy as far a female leg appeal went. Put a real wall flower that would normally wear socks into a pair of glassine RH&T stockings and show her how to toe dangle a penny loafer and a goddess has been created. Bare skin is flat and has and shows no dimension,depth or muscle structure. Look at body builders that color and oil their skin to bring out the muscular structure and cuts. This makes the body appear in high definition with three dimensions. When that wall flower slips into a leg covering that has color, especially a darker color and that covering shines it brings out the physical detail of the legs. It makes those God given curves just “POP”! Every visual muscle becomes alive! Close your eyes and remember a girl with great calves in stockings. What did you see when walking behind her? Watching those muscles flex under her stockings was like watching a three d movie and it was poetry in motion. The stockings made the legs a show piece of depth and visual movement. How hot did a slim ankle appear adorned in a shiny stocking. An eye catcher, right? Regardless of shape or size because every man had different taste but back in our days a doll in sexy glassine stockings could melt a heart with that new found way to show off her legs. Just like an a hot paint job on a car it brings out the structure and curves. Bare legs and primer coat need help to sell what they naturally hold so hosiery and glossy paint were invented. This make any sense?
You learn something new everyday. I never quite new why some of the vintage stockings I bought Mrs Ratrob were silky and shiny and some felt so rough. I had noticed that I didn’t care for the mesh stockings and now I can understand why. I once bought her a couple pair of RHT’s in a wonderful hot pink color but was so disappointed at how rough they felt. I loved the color but hated the feel.
What a wonderful resource here for us nylon freaks