RHT Stockings, Hold Ups, Fishnets and Affordable Alternatives
Over the last two weeks we talked about everything to do with fully fashioned back seamed stockings in Part 1, and garter belts and more in Part 2. Now to complete our 3 part series, we move on from the iconic mid-century pin up to subtle sophistication, chic modern comfort and affordability.
Reinforced Heel and Toe (RHT) Stockings
Reinforced Heel and Toe stockings—or RHT as they’re called for short—became popular in the early 1960s. They’re made in much the same way as fully fashioned stockings, but instead of being knit flat and then sewn together creating a back seam, RHT stockings are knit directly into a three dimensional tube, eliminating the need for a seam.
Women in the 1940s and 50s would have greatly desired such stockings with no seam. Today a darker contrasting back seam against a lighter stocking is a very popular and glamorous vintage look, but ladies back then would have preferred the seam to blend into the leg.
Traditionally RHT stockings are made from 100% non-stretch nylon like fully fashioned stockings, so garters with a belt are still required to hold them up. RHT stockings are also fragile so they’re reinforced with a double layer of nylon at the heel and toe, hence their name. They also have a double layer of nylon folded over the top to reinforce the weft where the garter grips attach.
Sometimes you’ll find RHT stockings made from stretch nylon fabric that boast a back seam down the leg, but please note this seam has been added afterwards and is purely decorative. You can tell a stocking that is not fully fashioned by its lack of finishing loop in the weft discussed in Part 1.
An attractive feature of RHT stockings is that they are less expensive. Fewer steps are involved to create them, so more of them can be made quickly. That’s a good thing because fully fashioned stockings (while the ultimate in luxury) are expensive! 100% nylon RHT stockings can be a great way to dip your toe into rewards of becoming a stocking connoisseur. Both types of 100% non-stretch nylon stockings offer pieces of history that are undeniably authentic.
Hold ups have a special place in my heart—not just because they are beautiful—but because they are easy to wear. I call them The Gateway Stocking because they offer the largest amount of sex appeal for the least amount of effort. Hold ups—or stay ups—are stockings with stretch attached to an elasticized weft at the top. Silicone or a rubbery material is added to the inside of the weft to aid the stockings in gripping the skin which allows them to stay up.
Although modern, hold ups can provide a most sensual experience. This is because they completely eliminate any compression around the waist caused by wearing a garter belt. As I mentioned in Part 2, as a sensualist I don’t always enjoy prolonged compression around my waist and hips. It’s never been socially required for me to wear a girdle or garter belt daily like my grandmother, and I greatly enjoy having that freedom. High quality hold ups allow me to feel free and agile in my body while still having the ultimate in luxury and sex appeal.
Make sure your hold ups are made from at least eighty percent nylon. The higher the nylon content, the more luxurious the feel. But the added stretch is what makes them easy to wear. There are many brands creating beautifully chic styles of hold ups with a variety of designs on the weft. I prefer the tops to be made from lace for that special romantic touch.
It should also be noted that some women don’t like hold ups because the elasticized tops can pinch in the upper thigh in a way that is unflattering. In that case, non-stretch nylon stockings: either fully fashioned or RHT—with a garter belt would eliminate this problem. It can also help to size up. An astounding variety of sizes and styles are available today.
Fishnets deserve to be mentioned in any article about stockings. Burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee is best known for wearing them during her career in the 1930s and 40s. Originally they were worn by dancers only on the stage. The diamond shaped pattern of the knit provided the stretch needed for dance movement. Fiishnet stockings and tights also had back seams as they were made during the era before stretch fabrics. Personally I no longer wear fishnets in a casual manner to honor their history. But there are no rules when it comes to this iconic knit.
Luxurious stockings are expensive. Once you’ve felt the silky sensation of nylon against your skin, you’ll find yourself saving your pennies for it. But don’t let price deter you from the experience of wearing these most rewarding of undergarments.
If low end stretchy stockings with printed back seams are all you can afford, by all means wear the cheaper versions. Never let price deter you from expressing your sexuality. Stockings can also be a wonderful thing to put on your wish list. You may find that there’s someone in your life more than happy to oblige. I like to gift them to myself for special occasions—like Tuesday.
Stockings are also fragile. Sometimes they’re only good for one or two wears depending on your activities. If you know you’re in for a night of reckless abandon, wearing the cheaper alternatives are sometimes not a bad idea. I’d never want to inhibit myself out of fear of damaging my precious neo-vintage stockings.
Today there are many brands combining quality with affordability. Stick to those made mostly from nylon at a lower price point and you will still reap the benefits of this most sexy and luxurious pastime. For everything you’ll ever need in stockings please visit Stockings HQ. Here you’ll find luxury for everyone at every price point.
(Note: I am not an affiliate, just a fan and customer)
How about you? Do you love sheer RTH stockings or hold ups?