Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Rhode Island School of Design, 1958
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.
Produced by the McCallum Hosiery company of North Hampton, Massachusetts, this pair of stockings has a seductive appeal as well as a sporty look, created by the sheen ribbing at the lower half of the leg and the horizontal bands at the knee.