Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 1956
Not on view
Stockings, originally designed for practical purposes, soon transformed into a fashionable accessory with the invention of the knitting frame in 1589 and then the circular-knitting machine in 1816. This technology allowed for a tighter weave and a better fit. Also, it was much easier to produce stockings, making them more affordable and readily available to a larger public. Plain white stockings were in mode for quite some time, until the mid to late-1800s when hemlines rose, and the ankle was revealed. This change in fashion called for colorful and fanciful motifs to decorate the lower leg, a visually appealing effect.
This pair of refined and elegant, yet seductive stockings is an excellent example of the most fashionable legwear of the period. The sheer lace insertion at front is extremely feminine as well as revealing, capturing the spirit of the "Naughty Nineties."