There’s a particular feeling that surges when we wear certain pieces of clothing or accessories. We don’t even have to wear them out to feel like a star. Old school lacy underwear can feel more comfortable and classy than your fanciest dress, but there’s a middle ground. There's one piece you can wear under or expose for the world to see when you walk out the door: your trusty pair of fishnets.
What began as an option for showgirls and other femme fatales at the turn of the twentieth century is now a staple in every modern woman’s closet. They were comfier and easier to move in compared to pre-nylon stockings. To this day some dancers still prefer to wear fishnets because they’re breathable and don’t shift as much.
But this is an accessory we can thank the flappers for. Even as they were circling the market, most people were unaware of the existence of fishnets or believed they were only meant for a certain kind of women. With their hems growing shorter, the party girls of the roaring twenties brought out these loosely woven stockings that allowed them to dance all night while showing off some skin. They became their own form of rebellion.
After nylon stockings were presented at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, the whole globe went crazy over these new options that looked more presentable and socially acceptable. Pantyhose became the new thing for women during the Second World War when they had to take over male-dominated jobs.
During the forties and fifties, starlets on the silver screen would often make their big appearances in fishnets, like Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot. However, for the everyday woman it appeared that this racy accessory would have to be kept strictly for the bedroom. It would not be until the late seventies with the surge of punk culture that this statement piece would have a huge comeback that would last to this day.
During the eighties and nineties, fishnets stopped being strictly stockings and tights. Madonna and other artists wore shirts, socks, and gloves made out of that fisherman’s material. Slowly, the material started to show up at the mall and department stores as a trend. Yet it never really went away.
Walk into your favorite fast fashion or upscale brand store and you’re likely to see a mannequin wearing fishnets. Gone are the days when this item was only part of a night-out ensemble. It can be made as casual, sporty, or high-end as you want. You’ll see It Girls wearing them under their jeans on social media or fashion blogs.
Nobody knows exactly where did the original fishnet tights came from. Some claim it was first mentioned in a fable. It's also believed they were makeshift tights from actual fisherman’s nets. Whatever the actual story is, we can’t deny that they’ve become part of our culture and our wardrobes. What will you wear your fishnets with?