They conjure up images of flapper girls, you’ve seen them in ‘80s music videos, and they have a vixen allure. Fishnet tights, the knitted, diamond-shaped hosiery that come in dense or large gauged styles have eased their way back into the spotlight. Designer labels such as Max Mara, Jeremy Scott, Antonio Marras, and Moschino focused on legs throughout their Fall 2016 collections by styling models in the seductive accessory. Meanwhile, at Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld coupled the netted material with sock boots in an opaque aesthetic.
When did the bold legwear get its start? Following the end of the Victorian era in 1901, hemlines rose. However, women didn’t go bare-legged and wore stockings that were held up by garter belts. Then, in the ‘20s flapper girls – specifically showgirls – slipped on fishnet stockings under their straight-cut dresses. By the ’50s, pin-up girls such as Bettie Page wiggled their way into the seductive apparel. However, by the ‘60s, women liberated themselves from stockings and garter belts and opted for body-sheathing tights. It was not until the ‘70s that fishnet tights took on a different tone and were associated with punk subculture. Along with latex, chains, and ripped clothes, fishnet tights were a fashion focal point in the rebellious movement that went against mainstream norms. During this period, they were often worn torn and distressed.
When the ‘80s arrived, the mesh material evolved from tights and took shape in the form of gloves, tops, and bodysuits. A decade later, it became popular to wear fishnet tights under ripped jeans and shifted from an unorthodox piece of clothing to acceptable legwear. Today, fishnet tights have found their way back into the sock drawer in a range of designs that seesaw from large loose, web-like tights, to micro-knit styles that can be worn with a plethora of sartorial looks.
In the gallery above, Vogue Arabia tracks the street style trend with five ways to work the bold hosiery into your outfit.