Growing up, I hated stockings. They were the enemy, something my mom would make me wear when I insisted on wearing a miniskirt in the middle of December. I would tear them up on purpose, much to her annoyance. Because they felt like such an afterthought—something I had to wear—I was convinced they made the rest of my outfit look weird.
I never saw them as anything but a nuisance until last September. At the spring 2019 Prada show, models wore sheer black stockings with mod skirts, A-line dresses, and bodysuits. And while everyone was obsessing over the thick padded headbands, I couldn’t stop thinking about those socks: They made the hyperfeminine prints and accessories feel tough, almost subversive. These stockings didn’t feel like an afterthought—they felt essential.
Prada’s take on the stocking reminded me of the cheap ones my mom would buy for me from the drugstore—except much more luxe. Naturally, the price tag would be much higher: The exact designer socks I fell in love with retail for $100.
Of course, they say “Prada” on the side, which adds both sophistication and zeros to the price tag. But still, I couldn’t stomach spending $100 on the see-through stocking socks I used to basically destroy in my youth. Not to mention: My mom would be so pissed.
I moved on to indulge in other over-the-top runway trends, like padded velvet headbands (also Prada inspired), flower-shaped hair barrettes, and nail polish in every color of the rainbow—all of which I could easily find affordable dupes for. And I almost forgot about my brief infatuation with black stockings until the following Fashion Week.
At the fall 2019 shows, sheer socks were once again on the runway—this time at Self-Portrait, where all the models wore them with pointy black loafers.
As soon as I saw that collection, I realized I couldn’t wait any longer. It was time to buy stockings.
Instead of trying to track down the exact pair from the runway, I started my search for the hosiery of my dreams on Amazon. And there they were: the very type of sheer black socks I had been planning outfits around in my head, for just $13.99. And because this is Amazon, they came in a pack of 12.
In the weeks since I’ve begun reacquainting myself with stockings, I’ve realized a few things. One, you can wear them with any kind of shoe: They dress up my white platform sneakers but also make my sleek loafers feel less buttoned-up. They’re also great for the weird not-quite-winter-not-yet-spring weather that dominates mid-March, when you don’t want to wear tights but aren’t necessarily ready to break out the open-toe footwear yet. (Oh, by the way: These sheer socks look amazing with sandals too.)
Part of me loves wearing stockings now, as an adult, because it reminds me of my earliest fashion rebellion, arguing with my mom about whether my midwinter skirts required them. (Answer: Yes. Mom was right.) The return of this kind of sheer sock feels in line with all the other nostalgic trends dominating in 2019, which have been suggested to be a form of reassurance and comfort for millennials. They might not be as obvious as a sparkly hair clip or a prairie dress, but these stockings achieve the same effect. Plus, they make me feel like a Prada model—and I’m definitely not mad about that.
Buy Now: Manzi 12 Pairs Lady’s Sheer Knee-High Stockings, $13.99, Amazon
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