I was out with the ladies one night, and the conversation somehow turned to work wardrobe. We were discussing how we used to dress for the office versus today’s business attire. More specifically, stockings—and how it seems they’ve become a thing of the past. When I was forced to squeeze myself into a pair of those nylon torture tubes, I always imagined that a man must have invented them. I often daydreamed about how he should be wrapped in a dozen pairs and danced upon by hundreds of pointy stiletto heels.
I hated those things. The control-top variety was like a nylon vice for your midsection. Even the non-control-top pairs were wildly uncomfortable. When I had to wear them, my favorite moment of the day was getting home and stripping those things off. Heaven forbid you also had even the slightest amount of gas brewing in your intestinal tract.
Any attempt to release that gas (once safely in the privacy of your vehicle, of course) while wearing the dreaded hose would create something likened to an over-inflated mylar balloon. There just wasn’t any real relief until that moment of bliss when you were finally free of the now stretched-out heap of wrinkled nylon on the floor.
At least mine were always pasty.
If you used clear nail polish to stop the run, it would remove a quarter-sized patch of skin when you finally were able to peel off the hose at the end of the day. Straight in the garbage they would go, and straight for the Bandaids you’d head.
What, you ask, became of that damaged leg? Oh, the side with the run lived on in colorful ways.
One year, my mom planted a hedgerow along the front of our property. Since the plants were young and easily damaged, she figured they could use some protection in the form of a fence. She thought to herself, “Why go to the hardware store up the street and buy a fence when I have all these fab supplies?” She pounded in some wooden stakes and joined them together with old stockings.
I was quite relieved when the shrubs were finally sturdy enough to shed the fence.
We soon needed leashes for our new puppies. I’m sure they sold many sizes and styles at the Agway store that was walking distance from our house.
Didn’t buy one.
I think she used three or four pairs of defunct hose to fashion a leash. It was disconcerting enough to walk with these on our street, but obedience class at the local veterinary clinic was a whole new level of embarrassment.
They had us form two circles in which to practice heeling. So they would be less distracted, they put one of our pups in one circle and the other in a different circle. They didn’t want to be separated. Keeping them in their respective circles was a bit of a challenge with a “leash” that had the elasticity of a rubberband you’d find at the end of a punch balloon.
Which also happened to be a former article of clothing.
And probably had some kind of breathable cotton crotch still attached to it.
I don’t think they ever learned to heel. I’m pretty sure we kept those walks to a minimum as well.
My mom’s mom had lots of extra stockings stashed around her house. When grandma passed away, we were the recipients of things that had been deemed useful. Guess what mom saved for me? Yep. Grandma’s old knee-high stockings. These had never been worn, which was a plus. I’ll admit it—I did find uses for them. Some became lint traps for the washing machine. Others secured my tomato plants to their stakes.
I guess once you’ve lived with a thrifty mom, it’s kind of in your blood. I do my reusing discreetly, though. The only kind of hose that gets near Sophie is the kind that sprays water. Oh—and she has a leather leash on which she heels quite nicely, thanks.
Got old tights and hose filling dresser drawers? The nice folks at treehugger.com have plenty of ideas for recycling them: