Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Theme Post: Hosiery


The November 1 theme on Sophistique Noir is Hosiery. This is an easy one for me. I love legwear, especially funky socks and leggings in stripes and prints. :)

My love of funky socks began in Catholic school, where wearing bright red socks beneath my dress code khaki pants helped me feel more like an individual and less like a clone. In my early 20's, I became enamored with striped tights and wore them nearly every day. I’m a little more conservative now, often wearing opaque black or solid color tights.

Though I love the fashion of hosiery, I'll try to keep with the spirit of GIY and make this post more about the practicalities of hosiery, such as organization and laundering. :)

I have an embarrassingly large collection of hosiery. It's shameful, really. Being a neat freak, I keep everything very organized. Three dresser drawers are dedicated to socks – one for ankle socks, one for crew (mid-calf) socks, and one for knee socks. Yes, I separate my socks by style. No, I do not color-code or alphabetize them. (Yet.)

I keep pairs paired by rolling them together. I never thought much about this – it’s what Mom always did – until a couple of college friends laughed at my sock rolling. Clearly it’s not as universal as I’d imagined.

Three drawers in this small chest house tights and leggings. The drawers are the perfect size for tights, and it turns out that the boxes from Converse Chuck Taylors are the perfect size for drawer dividers. I have one drawer for black (leggings on one side, tights on the other), one drawer for colors, and one for stripes and fishnet/open weave patterns.

If left loose in a drawer, tights will inevitably knot themselves together. (Or is it just me that they do this to?) To avoid this problem, I fold/roll my tights. (Except fishnets, which don't fold well.) Seems like overkill even for an organization nut like me, but I prefer spending a few extra seconds when putting the tights away instead of fighting to untangle the mass when I'm short on time in the morning.



Part of the reason my horde is shamefully large is that I buy new items every now and then, but rarely have to throw any away. I've had those white striped tights since 1998. :o The key to longevity is proper laundering.

Loose in a washing machine, tights tend to get wrapped around the agitator, caught on zippers, and/or tangled up with other clothes. Hosiery washed in a mesh bag enjoys a much safer laundering experience. You can get mesh wash bags in a variety of styles and sizes. I prefer small bags with a zipper closure (2 for $1 at the dollar store).  I keep them near the laundry hamper so that when I take off tights/leggings, I can immediately put them into a mesh bag and then into the hamper. That way, I don't need to later sort through the laundry and pull out all the hosiery before it goes in the washing machine.

Heat from a dryer can degrade the elasticity of hosiery. After a few rounds of tumble drying, you might find that your tights have become "looses." Hosiery will last much longer if hung to dry. Drying racks are available in several styles. I have a folding rack similar to this one:
source

Finally, no hosiery post would be complete without mention of my holy grail of tights: stripey tights that fit. Stripey tights are always too short for me. I have to cut off the top, turning them into socks/stockings, or cut through the toe seam, turning them into leggings. It will be a glorious day if I ever find stripey tights that are long enough!

EDIT: Here's a photo of tights-turned-leggings. Sometimes I cut the bottoms straight, along a stripe; sometimes I just snip off the toe seam, retaining as much length as possible. The fabric stays intact, so I don't bother finishing the cut ends. They're hidden under my socks and boots anyway.

30 comments:

  1. You aint jokin about the short stripes, sister.

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  2. I am in awe of your collection! I wish I could find a good variety of coloured hose available in my size, but being plus sized has brought me no end of frustration when it comes to hosiery shopping. I tend to get fun socks and knee-highs to wear under my conservative work-wear (government work has required me to censor my wardrobe in the office).

    I too am a sock roller - my husband laughs at how fussy I am about that, but I like them the way I like them.

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    1. I haven't bought from them myself, but I've heard good things about welovecolors.com. They offer plus sizes in a huge range of colors.

      Sock rollers unite! ;)

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    2. sockdreams.com has a plus size section

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  3. They're so organized! It's awesome. Also totally need to a get a mesh bag for my tights. Thanks for the tip.

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  4. You've got some serious organization talent, my tights and socks drawer always looks like it exploded! Maybe I should try your method of folding/rolling as well?

    BTW I also roll socks and know few people who don't. Maybe it's a European thing?!

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    1. I roll up my socks, never known anyone who hasn't. I'm in Europe so could be something to do with that?

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    2. Folding tights seems a little wacky, but it works for me. When I kept my tights loose in a drawer, I would end up wearing the same ones over and over because they were on top and I didn't want to dig. I find that I wear more variety now that they're folded and easier to see.

      Maybe sock rolling is a European thing. I should investigate the origins of the practice. :)

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    3. I also roll my socks, and I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't.

      I have purchased from welovecolors.com multiple times, but just in fishnets and solid colors. Their sizing is a little weird. If you have long legs, you should order the larger size, even if your weight falls in the lower category.

      As for snags, I have a bottle of clear nail polish on my desk at work for just such an occasion.

      How do you finish the ends when you turn your tights into leggings?

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    4. Of the college friends who thought sock rolling was odd, one had grown up safety pinning her socks together as a way of keeping hers separate from her sister's (one pinned the tops, the other the toes). The other was a guy who would only wear one specific type of sock; no need to keep pairs together when all the socks are identical, I guess.

      Welovecolors seems to be a good place to find plus sizes. However, tall ladies are once again out of luck - their striped tights are a "one size" up to 5'8". :/

      I don't finish the ends. The fabric stays intact after I snip off the toe seam. I'll post a picture. :)

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  5. I think I need to go organize my sock drawer now ... ;o)

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  6. >Yes, I separate my socks by style

    I do that too XD everyday/striped/fishnet/ruffled/patterned :D
    Your collection is remarkable, I'd never seen so many striped tights together in my entire life XD and I love how you collected any possible shade of purple XD!

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    1. I'm always on a quest for striped tights that fit, so every time I come across a new brand, I buy them. No luck on the fit yet, but I've ended up with several shades of purple :D

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  7. Wonderful collection!! Lots of stripes and purple! I love it. Oh I really need to organise my collection neatly as you do. shoe boxes in the drawer is a good thing I think.
    I never was my hosiery in the washing machine. I wash them by hand and let them dry on a rack.

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    1. The shoe boxes work really well, especially if you can put them in a fairly shallow drawer. Gentle washing and air drying is definitely the way to go with hosiery. :)

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  8. Wow! I just organized my stocking/sock drawers and I thought I was organized. You've given this crazy lady ideas!!!

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    1. I'm taking organization to a whole new level... of insanity! ;)

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  9. My tights never last - my tendency for random acts of gymnastics means I usually split the crotches (apparently cartwheels, doing the splits and high kicks are all not conducive to the longevity of tights), I usually snag one leg on the buckles of my boots of the other, or I forget I'm wearing tights, go somewhere with scrubland and snag them on a twig, or I just get them caught on my nails, or the cat puts holes in them.

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    1. I wear tights/leggings almost every day, so I guess I've developed a protective instinct. ;) I do occasionally snag my tights on my boots.

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    2. I wear mine pretty frequently, but I'm an inveterate (and over-enthusiastic) klutz.

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  10. *shakes fist at those damn short stripy tights!!!!*

    Holy bejeezus! That's a lotta tights! ;)

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    1. Yeah... it's kind of ridiculous. But in a fun, stripey way. :)

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  11. I bow to your hosiery organization skills. Seriously. This appeals greatly to Virgo Me. Mine are organized in drawer dividers by style, but not rolled. Rolling is brilliant. I would have a MUCH better idea of all the different kinds I have if I rolled. I do keep sheer stockings in their original envelopes so I can tell which is which and so the pairs stay together.

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    1. Rolling does make it easier to see all the different kinds. It simplifies finding the desired opacity of black or the right shade of purple (or even remembering that you have that shade of purple). I suppose this kind of "creative organization" could be seen as a manifestation of my Sun and Moon signs - inventive Aquarius and meticulous Virgo. :)

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  12. I'm so glad that someone else rolls tights! I started doing it simply in order to save space; I can get more pairs of tights in the drawer neatly rolled than I can if I just throw them all in, squash and attempt to shut the drawer =P I'm going to make drawer dividers and organise them by pattern now though =]

    I guess I'm lucky to be so short; my stripy tights are all a bit long in the leg! Mostly I wear thick woolly black tights (it's cold here, so often 2 pairs at once!) and I can buy mine from the kids schoolwear department... Apparently the average 14 year old is 4cm taller than me!

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    1. There are advantages to being tall... not a single one related to buying clothes. :P I can buy some things from the men's department - slippers, pajama pants - but there are no striped tights to be found there.

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  13. That nail polish is gorgeous *_*

    --
    Please do check out my style blog as well:
    http://blingyoctopus.blogspot.ca/
    <3

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