OnyxPointex

Transition From Seams To Seamless

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Hi All:

One of the nice things about this forum is that members come from all over the world. I have always been curious about when the switch from seamed stockings to seamless occurred in different places.

Here in the northeastern U.S. it was around 1960. At the beginning of 1960, the majority of women were still wearing seams. By mid-1961, most has switched to seamless. Elderly ladies clung to seams as late as 1965, but after that, even they made the switch. With teenage girls, the switch to seamless began earlier...around 1957. By 1959, few teens in this area still wore seams.

What was it like in your country? How about in other parts of the U.S.?

I have the impression that in the UK, for example, the transition occurred later than it did here. Is this correct?

I wanted to wear seams from the time I started wearing stockings in 1961. I have always followed the beat of my own drummer and simply liked the way seamed stockings looked. My mom, who wanted me to fit in, prohibited me from wearing seams until I was 14, but after that, I often bought my own stockings and wore seams occasionally from 1965-69. Much to my mom's dismay!!

So when did the transition occurr where you grew up?

Karen

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Karen,

 

While I sense that you and I are about about the same age, my stockings awareness didn't emerge until I turned 12 in 1962.  By then, the only femmes I remember wearing seams were elder ladies and the tamberine ladies at the Salvation Army. 

 

In my small Western Pennsylvania community, fashions trends took longer to take hold.  Blue collar steel workers were considered "rich" by our economic standards.  Very few people I knew escaped "hand-me-down" fashions from siblings, cousins, and from folks that attended the same church.  Stockings, being throw-away fashion after runs, snags and ladders, didin't get handed down.

 

Most gals in my junior high school wore kneww socks - exccept on Friday's.  No PE classes took place on Friday's, and it always emerged as dress-up day.  I remember donning a v-neck sweater and tie on Friday's from October - March, and wore a blue blazer with a light blue oxford-cloth shirt and club tie during spring Friday's, and on warmer Friday's in September.  Junior high girls in stockings acted more confident and flirtatious than when they wore bobby sox the rest of the week.  The American Legion in the neighboring town sponsored a teen dance on Saturday nights.  Gals going to the "Legion" would never be caught without wearing stockings at the "Legion" dances.

 

The only time I remember a classsmate wearing seamed stockings took place in 1968 when I attended the prom at my high school with a neighbor girl.  She wore point seams - which was the first time I saw point heels.  My all black tux appeared so very ho-hum next to her trend-setting above the knee formal dress and point seams.  I remember asking her if I could touch the seams - on her calf to protect her modesty - because I was curious if the seams were real or an illusion.   I, being an older guy, was too much the gentleman to catch a cheap feel.

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I once saw an old article in a trade magazine that stated the yeart seamless stockings first outsold full-fashioned.  Regrettably, I don't remember that date but I was astonished at the time at how much later it was than I would have expected.  I am going to guess it was in the late 1950's.

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Hi Opera:

I've seen that same article. As I remember, seamless penetration first exceeded FFN here in the states in 1960. Seams dropped off quickly thereafter. Interestingly, FFN penetration reached its peak in 1952 at 92 percent. It fell slowly until around 1956, then accelerated downward. I collect old fashion magazines and am always amused by ads started by the hosiery manufacturers in 1954 advocating the desirability of seamed stockings. They saw the handwriting on the wall and wanted to postpone the purchase of seamless machinery as long as possible.

Seamless stockings were always available, but they were knit like tubes so were ill fitting. When hemlines rose in the 1920s, fully fashioned stockings just about pushed seamless off the market. In 1947, Hanes introduced the first shaped seamless stockings that didn't bag or sag at the ankle. But they were slow to take off. Women felt the bare leg look of seamless hose was too casual. It took teenagers to discover seamless stockings, around 1957, to make them really take off.

The first time I saw seamless stockings was as a kindergardener in 1957. We had a young teachers aide from a local college who wore seamless. I asked her why her stockings didn't have a line up the back. She told me they were the latest thing that all the girls were wearing. I went home and told my mom who said they were fine for young girls but not for grownup ladies. Interestingly, mom bought her first pair of seamless stockings a few months later. But she saved them for best and continued wearing FFNs until she switched to seamless in 1960.

Karen

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Hi CottonNash:

Yes...we're about the same age as I was 11 in 1962. Your prom date must have been a very sophisticated young lady to be wearing point heel seams in 1968. I never knew point heels existed until my first trip to London in 1985. Seams were making a comeback in London at that time and many younger women were wearing them. I went into Selfridges hosiery department and inquired. I was directed to Aristoc Harmony Points and Charnos Fashion Points... Both fully fashioned. When I tried them on I thought they were the most elegant stockings I had ever worn! Needless to say, I stocked up on them. They became daily wear for me for several years. Fortunately, I made several more trips to London over the next 5 years and built up quite a supply. I still have a few pairs left that I treasure.

Karen

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Hi Cotton:

Another memory jogged by your post. When I started Junior High in Fall 1963, most of us wore stockings everyday...except on days we had gym. On those days we wore knee sox to prevent having to deal with delicate stockings and garters in the changing room.

But soon, the "coolest" girls started wearing stockings even on gym days. So the rest of us had to follow. We had very little time to get dressed after showering so it was always a struggle to get our stockings back on after gym. Most of us only hooked our front garters and it was seldom that we got our stockings on straight in the gym. You could always tell when a girl had gym class the previous period by her disheveled stockings. Bags, sags and crooked heel reinforcements were common. You boys must have enjoyed this! But like everything else in teenage culture, because everyone was doing it, it was ok. Wearing stockings was cool and none of us wanted to be left out!

Karen

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seamless were all anyone wore when i started high school. and that only lasted until pantyhose came along. i never actually wore seams until my husband asked me to.

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     To my best recollection in the Boston area, seamless stockings began to appear in the late fifties.  And it didn't happen all at once.  Younger women more in a hurry than their elders got on the bandwagon earlier because they no longer had to guard against crooked or wrinkled seams.  When you think about it, the era of seamless gartered stockings was really not very long, less than fifteen years.  By the early seventies, pantyhose had taken over.

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i started wearing when i was 12 or 13. i remember my mom sometimes wearing seams but i never did until i was in my 20's and met my husband. by the time i was in high school pretty much all of us were in pantyhose.

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Sorry - complete post to follow.

Edited by Fortiesman
Incomplete post.

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With many stockings topics I can be fairly sure of dates but the demise of fully-fashioned (seamed) stockings and their replacement by seamless (or seamfree) happened (in southern UK) shortly beforee my interest really took off.  I distinctly remembering buying stockings as a Christmas present for my mother and being told to get fully fashioned, size 9.  That, I think, would have been in the early to mid 1950s.  I was ten in 1954 and I think seamed stockings were still predominant then.

It would have been a few years later - perhaps 1956 - that a girl who lived opposite me appeared for the first time (that I had noticed) wearing stockings.  We knew the family quite well and I remember looking at her legs and that the stockings were not very sheer and had a not-very-prominent seam.  I think, by that time, older girls (and my mother) had started to adopt seamless stockings but those made for "juniors" (such as the girl I mentioned) tended to be of more durable nylon (thicker) and still made with seams.  Your suggestion that perhaps older ladies continued to wear seams for quite a long time probably applied here in the UK as well.  Perhaps, at first, seamless nylons were regarded as a new trend, likely to be worn by young, more fashionable women, while older ladies and young girls would continue to buy more durable (heavier denier) stockings and these were still made the old, seamed way.

By the time I was going with my first girlfriend - 1957 or 58? - she and her friends were definitely not wearing seamed stockings.  I remember conversations between girls/women expressing pleasure at not having to worry about straight seams any more whereas, a few years earlier, I was often asked by my mother if her seams were straight.

My sisters were older than me and I can definitely remember them - or perhaps just the older one - wearing seamed stockings and being told on a few occasions to put their seams straight.  All in all I would guess that seamless stockings started to dominate in the UK between 1955 and 1957.

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