Fishnets - The Past 5 Decades
Available from around the early 1900's, fishnet stockings did not really become 'socially acceptable' until the 60's. Although very popular with prostitutes, strippers, burlesque dancers, pinups & certain movie stars such as Barbara Nichols, Marylin Monroe, Bettie Page & Tempest Storm (famous for her burlesque films) in the 50's, they were still associated with fetishism and the average girl/woman did not wear them, probably for fear of being branded as 'cheap'.
In the same decade, it also became popular to sing about hosiery with songs such as Frankie Avalon's Bobby Sox to Stockings, Eddie Cochran's Stockings & Shoes, Dance with a Dolly with a Hole in her Stockings by the fabulous Bill Hayley (originally recorded by the Andrews Sisters), Joe Bennett's Penny Loafers and Bobby Sox or Black Jack Wayne's Red Silk Stockings And The Green Perfume being listened to in coffee bars and at dances by teenagers in both the States and the UK. Hosiery hasn't exactly been a hot topic to sing about since then, apart from The Stray Cats 'Fishnet Stockings' in 1981.
In 1973 the cult play Rocky Horror Show where almost all the characters were wearing them, 'reinvented' fishnets and they were seen worn in clubs, discos and on the gay scene. Following this, we had the anti-establishment Punk Rockers who wore tights, tops, dresses, gloves or skirts in fishnet and favoured some of the early Vivienne Westwood designs which could be bought in 'World Turned Upside Down' / 'Let it Rock' / 'Sex', the shop owned by Malcolm McLaren. London clubs such as The Roxy (formerly Chaguaramas) in Covent Garden where live bands performed, or more 'select' clubs where only members were admitted such as Louise's in Poland St,W1 although primarily a gay club, became very popular with the early punk bands and their black fishnet and leather clad followers. During these times, black fishnet tights or stockings were generally the only colour available.
In the mid seventies there was also a huge teddy boy / rockers revival, another genre where the women also wore fishnet tights and stockings. This revival coming at the same time as the Punks led to many clashes between the two genres in the Kings Road, Chelsea, and on Bank Holidays at resorts such as Margate, Brighton and Southend. Following this in the early 80's a new scene emerged and we had the Goths, a spin-off from the punk era who adopted either a Victorian style of dress or the fishnet and leather of their predecessors but always in black.
It is generally considered to be a sexy item of lingerie or hosiery – whether worn as a fishnet bodystocking, tights, stockings or an all-in-one. This popular diamond shaped knit (now usually made with Lycra content) hugs the figure beautifully and defines curves giving wearers a great silhouette no matter what their size, and although has been popular with various genres throughout the past 5 decades, is now 'socially acceptable' to wear fishnet hosiery & lingerie, and a part of mainstream fashion.
Writing this has turned into a trip down memory lane for me rather than a straightforward article about fishnets :) I am not a prostitute, neither do I have a fetish for them, but I realise writing this that I have been wearing them as I've moved from one genre to another for most of my adult life.