What Kinds of Stockings 1920s Flappers Really Wore

Holeproof Hosiery ad

You’ve seen it dozens of times at costume parties and maybe even wore them yourself for a 1920s costume.  I know I have. But the real flappers of the Roaring Twenties did not wear black fishnet stockings with their dresses.  Nor did any other women back then. As a matter of fact, the only women in the 20s who wore black fishnets were stage performers and women of quite questionable reputations.

Hollywood of the 1950s and 60s is responsible for the current perception of what a 1920s outfit looks like. Costume designers weren’t looking for authenticity when they created outfits for Jazz era themed musicals like Singin’ in the Rain. They were looking to visually stimulate their audience and create clothing that was easy for dancers to perform in.  And the flashier the better, which included rows and rows of fringe, fishnet stockings and bright colors. The costume stores ran with it.

There is no doubt that dressing the leg was of the utmost importance in the 20s, as hemlines got shorter and bare legs in public were not yet acceptable.  The stocking trends of that decade were solid black, solid white,  sheer skin tones and pastels, embroidered, embellished and patterned. But no fishnets!  The fabrics of choice were silk , rayon and wool. Garters were worn to hold them up.

1920s stockings

The sheer hosiery was shiny, so women would powder their legs before going out to tone down the sheen. Stockings also had back seams, though toward the end of the decade seamless styles appeared.

1920s patterned hosiery


1920s decorated stockings

A true trend among flappers was the rolled stocking.  Hosiery back then could be uncomfortably warm when dancing, so the girls started rolling down their stockings. This was also the young women of that era’s rebellious fashion statement.

1920s rolled stockings

These are the type of garters used to hold up the rolled stockings.

Garter 1920s

So next time you get invited to a 1920s themed event or costume party,  ditch the black fishnets because there are so many more fabulous options out there today that will provide a more authentic look.


Decorated hosiery

Left to right-Nude with black scroll, black scroll design, cream with black scrollblack with vine designwhite floral, gray with back design

Striped stockings

Left to right- Chevron stripeivory and black pinstripe, black pinstripe


High gloss tights

High gloss tights

Nude back seam stockings
Nude back seam stockings

Another hosiery trend in the 20s was stockings in pretty colors to match your dress.  Here is an article on how to dye nylons so you can recreate that look.


Garter flask

And, last but not least, don’t forget this very practical leg accessory, the garter flask! A must have during prohibition.

You can find lots of  cute ones on Etsy, like this one.


Till next time……………

By | 2018-07-26T09:08:04-04:00 July 26th, 2018|Fashion|4 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 29, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Yes it is! Would love to get one for the 1920s events I attend.

  2. Avatar
    Suzanne Carillo July 29, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Ha ha! That garter flask is something else!


  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 26, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    I know, Ann. I was surprised myself when I started looking into it. You can see how the 20s influenced the 60s with all the wild tights and stockings they had then. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Avatar
    Ann July 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    What an utterly captivating post, Theresa! I do love 1920s flapper style but, apart from the rolled up stocking thing, I never paid much attention to the hosiery trends back then. I’m amazed at how modern and daring some of the designs were. Thank you for sharing! xxx

Comments are closed.