Stockings and sexy pantyhose are so universally alluring, we rarely stop to consider why they have such a spellbinding effect. Is it because simply pulling on a pair of sexy stockings can feel like a delicious prelude of things to come? Is it the fact that silky, lacy, or netted hosiery can instantly make you feel elegant and effortlessly seductive? Maybe it's because thigh high stockings, garters, and all that goes along with lovely legwear can play a huge role in the divine art of the tease. After all, delicate lace, nylon, net and silky lycra materials reveal just enough shapeliness without exposing the blinding beauty of naked flesh. Of course, tights, thigh high stockings, fishnets and nylons are also incredibly fashionable and can enhance the look of almost any outfit - sexy or otherwise. Maybe stockings are so damn exciting because they can be removed...slowly, or in a quick fit of ecstasy and used to bind the wrists of one’s partner?
As you can see, there are many reasons for wearers and admirers of hosiery to find it all so enticing, but there’s also a universally appealing aspect of stockings hiding in plain sight…these garments straddle the line between lingerie and clothing. Because stockings hold their own special place as both a stylish accessory or worn as a “sex-essory,” it is helpful to know more about their styles and functionality when deciding which sexy stockings to buy.
Types of Hosiery
While any type of legwear has the potential to be incredibly stylish and sexy, you may be drawn more to one style over another for certain looks or specific occasions. Here are some top hosiery types plus tips on how to wear them.
According to Cora Harrington, author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Love and Wear Lingerie, “stockings are a type of hosiery that extend to the upper thigh. If the stockings end at the knee, they are called knee highs.” So technically speaking, there would only be thigh high stockings and knee high stockings, but many people consider stockings to be synonymous with hosiery. We will delineate the definitions as we go along, but now you know both the industry standards and the parlance of our times.
Let’s explore the two classic styles of stockings in greater detail…
Types of Thigh High Stockings
As the name implies, thigh high stockings go to the thigh and within this category, there are two unique types. Traditional stockings require a garterbelt or leg garters to keep them up whereas “thigh highs' stay up via elastic or silicone bands at the top and work to grip the leg enough to keep them from sliding down. These thigh high stockings are also known as stay-up stockings or hold-ups. Both traditional and stay-up styles are incredibly sexy and switching to thigh highs can become downright addictive. Not only do you feel like a sexpot, glamorous starlet when you wear them, they are sometimes much more comfortable and easier for daily wear. thigh high stockings may look like an exotic choice for an ordinary day, but if you happen to hate the feeling of your tummy being tightened by the binds of fabric, then thigh highs are the way to go. In a loose fitting skirt, traditional stockings with a garter belt are secure and flattering. If you choose a ruffled garter, a looser dress or skirt will help hide the fact that you’re rocking some sexy lingerie but many garter belts fit flush against the body enough to where only a very tight ensemble would show the lace or other details.
This is a classic look for any person, however, if you happen to be petite, traditional stockings may not work best for you all around because the circumference of the stay-ups can sometimes fit too loosely on the upper leg or be so long that the thigh high is more like mid-bum by the time you reach your meatier areas for the elastic to grip to. Traditional stockings are designed with a garter option in mind, so usually, the leg length is more versatile for less leggy wearers. Even better, most garter belts are adjustable so all shapes and sizes look super sexy in them. Look for petite sizing in these styles.
With a tighter item, such as a pencil skirt, you may want to opt for holdups, specifically styles sans lace or bows that might look bulking or bunched beneath your dress or skirt. Don’t worry about a sleek fit lacking in fashion or sex appeal… styles like the Choked Up 3pc Hoisery Set, Sheer Thigh Highs Stockings, or the Black Fishnet Thigh Highs (with seams up the back!) are all ideal options when you’re looking for that low-profile silhouette with high-impact details.
Pantyhose and Tights
Pantyhose and tights both go from hips to toes. It is the full-length style that distinguishes them from stockings. These styles are sometimes referred to as full-length stockings, though technically that term is a bit of an oxymoron as stockings are not full-length. Saying “full-length pantyhose” is a slight redundancy, but again, a very common way to describe the style of hosiery that comes up to the waist.
Of course, both language and fashion are meant to evolve as we do, so terms like full-length stockings may become so in vogue, that the word pantyhose will seem like an old fashioned word. More and more, the word “stockings” is dominating all styles of hosiery because it’s so sexy and fun to say.
Pantyhose are usually sheer whereas tights are typically opaque or thicker material, however, that is not always the case. This can get a little confusing because often, you may find the terms can be used interchangeably. For example in the U.K. “tights” is used for both sheer pantyhose and more opaque styles. Fishnet tights and fishnet pantyhose are the same thing. And yet, it is much more likely that any crotchless style will be referred to as pantyhose, regardless of whether or not they are sheer.
When it comes to a sexier look or style, pantyhose are what you’re more likely to find. No offence to tights, but as they are more opaque and made of thicker materials, they simply don’t have the same sexy silhouette. They also don’t slide off with the same ease. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a spot in your date night looks. Consider wearing a posh black tight with a cute dress on an outing that you want to feel available but not attainable. Tights will show off your leg shape but feel fitted and secure on your body, making it easier to remember not to get carried away.
Pantyhose and full-length stockings, on the other hand, are much more conducive to being seen, felt, and slipped off. Control top pantyhose are thicker around the waist, low belly and upper thigh to give a supportive, added structure to the fit but still have a sheer leg. This style is perfect for work or going out, but would be a mid-level choice for a sexy occasion. If you want the shaping effect of a control top for while you’re out but want the freedom to get wild when you’re home (without the awkwardness of unleashing flesh that was held in tight for the last few hours) then you have two easy options. You can either choose a gorgeous body shaping undergarments like a bustier or strapless boned corset. Pair them with crotchless pantyhose for a look that is polished and put together whether the rest of your clothes are on your body or your floor. The crotchless pantyhose in general are the absolute hottest way to wear full-length stockings, but in a pinch regular pantyhose can be torn open for the right reasons and also be incredibly erotic… you just probably won’t be able to wear them again.
Even the most simple style of thigh high stockings are the height of sex appeal and glamor, but a little embellishment here or there has a tremendous effect. When choosing stockings, it is important to note how even the tiniest embellishment can drive your partner wild and completely change your look overall.
In terms of fashion, thigh highs are an easy way to amplify your stylistic daring. For example wearing seams up the back can have a classic, vintage look, but their sexiness will not go unnoticed. Just as fishnets or an exciting pop of red might seem like small shifts in style, they can be total game-changers to your whole ensemble. Choosing to balance your daring hosiery with a few tempered looks is not about hiding your natural sexuality, it’s more about keeping your fiery sexy side from dominating your look to the point you wonder if you’re in an outfit or a costume. Textures, patterns and colourful styles can be kept in check by choosing simple patterns or more conservative cuts in other garments. Juxtaposing your stockings with a totally different style can create a more high-fashioned look as well, like a floral dress with fishnets, a combat boot with elegant sheer stockings, or an oversized blazer thrown on top of your thigh skimming skirt that gives quick glimpses of the lace at the top of your thigh highs when you walk. For a very trendy winter outfit, try wet look stockings with a conservative skirt and chunky sweater with a dark matte lip. Allow your stockings be that little something extra that adds to your overall look rather than a distraction that detracts from your style.
When it comes to wearing sexy stockings paired with lingerie, the regular rules of fashion do not apply. The sexiest pushup bra, naughtiest corset, and crotchless pantyhose, worn with no panties and your highest heels is perfect! However, dressing for sex can be a bit like bondage, where a little restraint can make things all the more erotic. Consider having a theme or archetype in mind. Are you a prim princess in pink or a badass diva? Go all the way with it! Wigs, shoes, accessories and makeup enhance the fantasy. Some stockings are so unique that you may find yourself building an entire sexy scenario around them! White Lace Fishnets, for instance, might just have you speaking in a French accent and offering to polish some knobs around the house.
Remember that your stockings are universally alluring, but will reflect your individual taste as a fashionista and unique sexual expression. Have fun shopping for a mix of styles that will help you tap into your creative nature and sensual imagination. Stock up on a full variety of the sexiest stockings here at PinkCherry!