A correspondent to the Stocking Pages writes:
I have recently been in some discussion with a girl friend of mine concerning the ideal length of a pair of nylons. Perhaps your readers can advise or perhaps even one of your own ladies.
I have always taken the view that they should be worn as long as possible and that certainly as much of the thigh as possible should be covered. My friend however is of the view that the important factor is the tightness of the suspender and that a stocking, particularly if fully fashioned should not be so long as to prevent the suspender from being tight. We appreciate that most suspenders are adjustable to take account of the length of the stocking but even so, in practice the amount of adjustment is somewhat limited.
The danger of course with too short a stocking is the obvious one of accidently showing ones nylon tops if the skirt is relatively short.
Talking of skirts, given that PROPER suspenders are metal and
fairly substantial, when they are worn with a tight or pencil
skirt no matter what the length, the suspender and its adjuster
may well show through the skirt material especially when sitting
down. What steps if any should a modern lady trying to regain the
elegence of former times take to avoid the sight of the shape of
her suspender or does etiquette allow such a display.
Thanking you in anticipation of your reply
Stella raises many interesting questions often asked by girls new to the wearing of stockings. Actually there is a great deal of variation in the way girls wear their stockings, all of which is entirely legitimate.
With a short skirt, it is, of course, necessary to wear the longest possible stockings and correspondingly short suspenders. The girl pictured at the head of this page is wearing a short skirt, but it will be noticed that her stockings are so long that, had not the photographer caught her so charmingly in the act of crossing her legs, there would have been not the smallest embarrassing display.
At the other extreme, the girl experiencing problems with the garden spray is wearing very short stockings with (necessarily) very long suspenders. This style is often depicted in pin-up paintings of the 1950s and is considered very attractive.
Our own preference certainly coincides with yours - that stockings should ideally be as long as possible, the largest amount of thigh being covered by nylon film. Aesthetically and for reasons of modesty, this would seem preferable, ensuring that only the most determined gust of wind shall reveal more than a length of elegantly gossamer-sheathed leg. But the other school certainly has its proponents
As to how these effects are to be achieved, a few observations may prove helpful. In the first place, the shortest and highest suspenders, permitting the longest stockings and maximum leg-coverage, are to be found on girdles rather than suspender belts. These will also hold the stockings most firmly in a high position without slipping or dragging. If you look at the girdle illustration on our girdle and suspender belt page, you can readliy see why. Nonetheless an good suspender belt can be adjusted high enough for most purposes.
Different stockings have different fittings, and a girl should know how to deal withj the various diffrent non-stretch stockings she may encounter. Real, 100% nylon stockings will not expand and contract to fit different sized girls like bongo ones but with a little ingenuity, a girl can wear a wide variety of nylons. Short ones, of course, require long suspenders. Nylons that may be a little too long may be suspended not at the top of the welt (stocking-top) but further down its depth (but non on the delicate unreinforced fabric of the sheer stocking itself. This gives a "gathered" effect that is not unattractive (assuming it is seen) and may be observed in many glamour photographs of the 1950s.
Note, for example, the girl holding the tennis racquet in this 1950s photograph. you will observe that her nylons are "caught" by her suspenderst at the very bottom bottom of the true reinforced welt, just above the darker band that separates it from the stocking proper, and the "gathered" or "swagged" effect, is, we feel sure you will agree, very far from unpleasing.
On Stella's second question, we would reply that metal suspenders are certainly a little heavier, but not necessarily mor bulky than plastic ones - indeed, metal being the stronger material it should, in theory be possible to make them less bulky without loss of strength. In practice we should say that both kinds of suspender are of about equal thickness.
Metal suspenders come in two kinds, flat ones cut prom thin metal plate and round ones "wrought" from strong wire. The flat ones are slightly less bulky, but this is probably less significant as the most protruberant part of the suspender is the "button", and this is what is most likely to show as a distinctive "nipple" pressing through the taut cloth of a very tight skirt. This will only show on the very tightest of skirts, and then only to the deliberate observer. We can only say that such an observer will certainly not think the less of you for seeing this subtle evidence of correct dressing.
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