Return of nylon stockings? Femininity rebirth ?

When the modeuse becomes a woman

Having approved for a long time an androgynous look tinged with grungy touches, the creators recently operated a 180-degree turn. Indeed a fashion a stalk bourgeois (???), openly retro and while celebrating an almost obsolete sophistication which was imperative during the last parades. Introduced by the success of the series Mad Men, this fifties tendency, chic and ultra-woman, widely relieved since the summer by magazines and gives a good place to elegance more “lady” than rockabilly. It remains to be seen whether this change of course will be perceived as a backward-looking proposition feeling the naphthalene or as the coronation of an again assumed femininity …

The comeback of a cloakroom giving a good place to supposed parts to sublimate grown-up morphologies could also return to the women the right to assume as some, while removing from them the envy to copy their daughters’ unsheathes. Ardent supporters of the duet slim-ballerinas, the schoolgirls and high school students would see then again their elderly as at once attractive, demanding models of femininity and inspirants. All this should incite some to take up with a more distinguished cloakroom, more in agreement with their status as ”real” women. Then, the return of nylon stockings?...

The dark side of the bottoms

Podia, magazines, movies, books, bus shelters, blogs … stockings are everywhere. No single day without their imperative leading, gently but with constantly, in the environment and the media. Previously, they knew the worship, the everyday acceptance, and then the banishment before reappearing in wardrobes at the end of the seventies. But this already thirty-years old return was not made of a single moose : of manifesto of a found femininity, stockings were perceived as the old-fashioned track of a concession in the male chauvinism to become finally the revelations of new sensual codes at the same time as the signs of an identical maturity at the current young women, more sure of themselves than were her their elderly. The road was thus sinuous to exceed the passions and forget the connotations. Stockings are not any more the banner of suffragettes, the privilege of loose women, or that of the pretty. They are on all the lips, in all the glances, in all the desires and should thus dress all the legs… should.

Because, in reality, their silky brightness illuminates only those of a minority of enlightened women who decided to deceive the unisex, the pants and the tights. A strange paradox confirmed by the deficit of skirts on the square and by the projections of the professionals of the well-fitting for the French market of the lingerie in 2008.  million pairs of tights for nine million stockings. Among these last 7.5 million pairs of stocking - garters “stay up” and 1.5 million pairs of classic stockings, requiring the use of a garter belt, among which nylon pure 20 000 and in sewing, made according to the tradition of “trendy fully”.

A relative absence which could explain by the vibrations of women's professional life, besides mothers, wives or mistresses, a worship to the comfort, the standardization of the ready-to-wear clothing but what takes place under our eyes is less the mystery of a usage than the reality of a fantasy.

Neither naked, nor dressed

Basque and set apart garter belt because they are the corollaries, why is the stocking , in the inventory of the contemporary lingerie, the only part which is not so naturally worn as are the bra, the G-string, the panties, the long line bra, the bodysuit, the camisole and the other bottoms? To those who denounce the impractical side, the others answer that a “push-up” bra is not less uncomfortable than as a stocking - garter or even as a well-adapted garter belt. If it is a question of modesty, the followers of stockings can advance that the ostentatious exhibition of a G-string in the small of the back or a bra in the hollow of bosoms is as harmful as the fortuitous exhibition of the border of a stocking on a thigh.

If there is an inhibition to wear stockings today, it is because what is at stake with them is nothing less than the essence of the sexual differentiation. The morphological and physiological specificities established the male and feminine principles. To the men the closed system, to the women the opened system for so elementary reasons as the bodily needs or the biological cycles. The history of the western costume is only demonstrating that pants and dresses have been making, for a long time, the distinction between genders. Still today, these symbols continue in certain pictograms : two legs / pants for a man, a triangle / skirt for the woman.

During centuries the woman remained “opened”, accessible by the mediation of her bottoms and it until the arrival of tights in the middle of the sixties. This clothing novelty is a revolution which is well beyond the feminism, beyond the emancipation of the women, the sexual freedom (May 68 is not far) and from movements of fashion (the miniskirt). The tights represent a “principle to incarcerate” whose radicalism has no equivalent in the history of the feminine costume, at the time of corsets. For the first time the woman is “closed” by her bottoms.

Wearing stockings today it is in a way to restore the duality man / woman, it is to assert in a more or less aware way the sexual identity by some square centimeters of a secret, but always free skin. For a woman, it is to make the confession of an approachable intimacy, by the glance or the touch. It is the zero degree of the nudity : less than naked because adorned, more than naked because revealed.

Nostalgic nylon stockings

For the women of the senior category, the passage of the adolescence in the adulthood was marked by an almost solemn dubbing where the barter of bobby socks for nylon stockings, for a long time dreamed, finally received mom's blessing. Approval and initiation, mom explaining gladly to her offspring the art to be a woman up to the end of garters. Know-how passed on from mother to girl for ages to wear stockings in their simplest expression that is without the alternative of the tights.

“My mother wore only seamed stockings and it was at the age of fourteen that I received mine. When I put them the first time to go to the high school, the boys mimed in front of me the gesture to thread them and to fix them. In a wink of eye we had become collusive : it made me blush a lot.” Dany, age 63.

These women adopted so naturally the newcomer, the tights, by finding them at first the advantage to be simpler to wear. In the sixties, stockings and tights still live peacefully according to the habits and fashion.

Feminism in stern, the women of the generation 70s’ took sometimes virulent positions against the stocking : not being utilitarian any more, it became at once archaic, binding and fiendish, because loaded with salacious allusions. Symbol of the woman as a sex object or the easy girl, it disappears almost from the landscape. After a decade of underground, it fell however in favor with women, more consensual and more sensual, as it was rehabilitated by trailblazing stylists as Chantal Thomas, or Poupie Cadolle. These women wear stockings by finding the gesture of their mothers, but with other motivations : to feel feminine and be seductive.

The women born in the eighties, in their great majority, could not therefore refer to the direct experience of their elder. But on the other hand, they did not have to demand an already acquired emancipation, or to judge a property become banal among others and liberated from pejorative connotations. They are the ones who carry bottoms without complexes, according to their desires, for themselves or their companion today. If they remain influenced by fashion (mind vintage and tendency rear-view mirror - chic confirmed during the last International Living room of the Underwear) or the show business (“ludicrous” vogue of striptease and shows, with their neo pine-up sheathed by nylon), it is in their soul and conscience that they take or discover the erotic power of these some grams of precious nylon. They are these women of the generation “Dim up” (1986), these “girls in low nylons” dear to Julian Clerk (1984) who desecrated the bottom by putting it within the reach of looks and caresses.

“I discovered bottoms very recently (dim-up), because I am mostly in pants. But at the moment that gives me ideas and why not with garter belt. It is a first for me, because I always liked the lingerie, but that could become the continuation of a whole game of seduction which I have with the boys. Those of my age are rather indifferent, but I note that towards around thirty things are quite other.” Emilie, age 23.

Return to the start? Surely not since even by making stockings come back up to the rays of big distribution (90 % of the market) this relating infatuation is the sign of a deep change of mentalities. Until the sixties, a woman carried bottoms as required more than by wish. Today, the same woman will choose to carry them to like herself and to seduce, by playing with codes of a sublimated womanhood, or at least to distance herself from her peers by the particular choice of more defecated bottoms. Intention succeeded function, for the happiness of the smart and the lovers, so that the “textile games of private seduction continue”.

Return announced of Glamour

For any merged generations, it is necessary to differentiate two categories at the holders of bottom : those who thread “the bottoms which hold alone” and those who hang their bottoms on a suspender belt. These are still minority, but their audacious attitude finds more and more resonance and encouragement with the wave of the sexy – chic.
At numerous producers of bottom, they are delighted with the return of the glamour. A sensual revolution is in motion, inevitably. The volume of sales of the traditional bottom is on the way to joining that of low - garter, and to answer the demand, ranges became rich of very simple suspender belts, but in the evocative names of “temptation” and “feeling” newly intended to make forget under the skirts of the neophytes. Because these women, often very young, and it is a novelty, want to hit true bottoms in other circumstances than in parties or on dates. They want to feel feminine, in daily life, on the benches of the amphitheatre or in the office. Marks offer besides more thick bottoms, in Lycra or cotton, to favor this return to the functional. So parried, the woman will give only few outside signs likely to betray her underwear. Because the suspender belt is not insignificant.

“I have as an impression of freedom at the foot of the belly which becomes more marked with the “imprisonment” of the rest of my body. Contrary to low - garters which can sometimes be made to forget, the suspender belt always reminds me of its presence, it gets to work me in a sense, to sit me in a sense. It leads to movement. I do not force myself, I change assertion systematically and naturally. I think that the same is true of with girdles. Certain private keepings create my manner of being physically and make me feel that I am sexy, more than a woman, because I am a woman already without this”. Florence 35 years.

Because it requires knowledge - to hit, almost an introduction, to forget, the suspender belt signs a more obvious will to still the position of seductress for the one who adopts it. Less function, more intention. For this reason, it is also recurrent in the wish of the men : for most of them, the vision of tense bottoms by a suspender belt (preferred black) remains an absolute erotic symbol. Having been dethroned by the panty hose, it became “a flag, an oriflamme, a statement of intent a powerful secret link between the man and the woman, a sign of recognition of a brotherhood of initiating”.

The tendency of the sexy - current chic (finally!) Is confirmed by the manufacturers of stockings. Arsoie, a hundred-year-old company of which Cervin is the brand, but which also makes for numerous French or foreign brands, some Agent provocateur or Secrets in Laces, sees in this awakening of another femininity the remedy in the erosion which touches the market of the well-fitting in general. Visionary, Serge Massal, its manager, advances that the increase of sites / blogs on the theme of nylon stockings and sites of meeting via internet is redefining the art of the seduction. The anonymity of the first contact allows certain women to show themselves fatal and to assume it during the meeting. The underwear, the stockings in particular, then come into play to compose the new roles. Web is also inescapable support of distribution, and the bottom a particularly adapted product for the on-line sale : immortal, light and flat once conditioned. Number of sites proposes it, generally with a more or less adapted corsetry of accompaniment.

The followers can confirm that nothing replaces the advice that only people of experience can give. It can turn out disappointing - even crippling - to wear stockings without knowing the We shall quote : adequate length (pay attention to the variations of sizes according to the brands), garter belt of preservation, wide and pressed well on hips (the tendency is in greenhouse-size even more wrapping) and not of decoration (the misdeeds of the image conveyed by girlie magazines and cinema X), fair distribution of garters (in metal and not plastic) on the front and the back of thighs, pair of underpants worn above and not below the garter belt (for an evident reason in the case of a natural need), although the fashion does not conform to it itself, for reasons of aesthetic legibility of the models. In brief a major vade mecum so that the exception can be confirmed by the rule.

The new life of the seamed stocking

“Stockings send back to the golden age of the femmes fatales, in the 50s, to the heroines of Hollywood. Moreover it is generally the beautiful women who wear them best nowadays. There is a whole rite of gestures to wear well stockings, especially those in sewings, the most beautiful, but there is then a kind of mental right to enjoy a secret which nobody can imagine. When I go to a meeting in a suit with seamed stockings, I have some kind of influence on my interlocutors, I feel more in confidence… Keeping stockings to make love is an evidence. And even her shoes, stiletto-heeled of course. Feel the veil which touches legs, rustling, it is also pleasant for the man as for the woman. I cannot imagine that we do not vibrate in the touch of a nylon stocking”. France, 45 years old.

Here we are in the final straight line, in the thickness of the feature. Judas having denied the Christ for 30 deniers, some go here to 7 to renounce definitively to the tights, “these stockings without exit”, idols of the mass consumption finally were knocked down. In this literary set, the admirers and the admirers based their religion on the practice and the proselytism. Stockings, certainly objects of fantasy, suspended from their mythical ribbons, above all have to adorn the legs of the real elegant women. A nylon postulate, a revelation of the veil, a mystic of the sewing, for the celebration of a femininity - idol.  “Lord of the Garter and Prince of Curves”, Yves Riquet, a big amateur, contributed to maintain the flame of the refinement and the French know-how by revitalizing the production of real seamed stocking with decreases, nylon crystal. At the end of the nineties, he allowed the saving of one of the last five knitting machines dishes (Three in France, the other one in Great Britain, the last one in the United States).

As time passed by the fascinated and radical gesture changed into a strength of quiet persuasion which stages of peace-loving persons specialists of the close combat in expectation of an armistice of genders. Love not war. The complementarity not the cleavage. Men and women accepting the stereotypes of the seduction to erotize themselves even more. To feel more alive : I wish, thus I am.