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