It all started years ago. As reported by Hosiery Technology Center a very first pair of hosiery was discovered about 400-500 A.D. in a tomb in Egypt. It was a couple of red-colored knitted socks. This shows us that since centuries people have been using hosiery for decorative purposes.
In the Renaissance phase a first pair of stockings or leggings was introduced by Barbarians from the North. They were created from animal’s skin held up at the waist by a leather belt or girdle. The barbarians were using leg wear to keep up warmth throughout the cooler periods rather than to beautify their legs.
In 1477 Swiss gained a victory over the Duke of Burgundy. After the battle soldiers fixed their own uniforms with stripes of banners and tents. This inspired German-Swiss nation to make a hose which was purposely cut to reveal contrasting materials beneath, apparently for decorative purposes.
In 1589 English churchman Reverend William Lee created the world’s first knitting machine. He began to make hosiery out of wool, silk and cotton.
For hundreds of years hosiery has been used by both genders and produced from wool to keep warmth, but in the 20th Century hosiery began to be promoted solely for women and not only to keep up temperature. The wool was replaced by cotton and around 1940 by nylon.
Nylon started to be extremely popular in 1942. When the nylon stockings went on sale for the very first time in New York over 72,000 were sold in the first day! It was so popular that US army collected worn out nylon stockings from women and produced parachutes from them for military fliers. Due to popularity of nylon, “nylons” became a term determinative all pantyhose products manufactured in forties.
In 1958 DuPont company created something that has changed hosiery (and not only) world forever – LYCRA®. From the mid 80s, over fifty percent of all women’s hosiery and underwear relied on LYCRA® fiber for a close, comfortable fit.
In the present world hosiery is an element of lifestyle of each woman. Socks, leggings, tights are used to help us keep temperature but also to add some sex appeal to our look. Especially stockings, patterned tights or leggings became a part of a look, and definitely they add that certain something to the modern lady look.