Though hardly anything shocks us any more, stockings have retained a specifically erotic meaning. Needless to say, by stockings I mean the kind of hose a woman wears with a garter belt, not those horrible things purveyed at the supermarket. Be warned: this article presents an entirely subjective and typically male view of its subject.
Stockings make a woman look more revealed than if she were simply naked. Instead of being covered, her most sexual part is accentuated. Nakedness is not of itself erotic. In fact, habitual nudity is positively anti-erotic, since it divorces nakedness from desire. Nakedness is arousing only so long as it remains an extraordinary state. Stockings emphasise that a woman is not fully dressed, just as other underwear does. It's as though she is caught between nakedness and respectability - both 'normal' states, ie she is caught dressing. A state of being half undressed is the divine medium or meeting point between the opposites of propriety and unabashed nakedness.
A woman showing her stocking tops is breaking a taboo. She offers the delight of the forbidden peek. In so doing, she is being naughty in a very nice way indeed.
Erotic effects rely on simultaneously revealing and concealing. The tension is in the contrast between the two. Likewise, a semi-transparent brassiere is tantalising in a way that a topless woman on Bondi Beach is not. Uncertainty is the essence of excitement. Stockings and lingerie accentuate, or create a woman's mystery.
Stockings cover a woman near to, but not at, her most exciting part. In fact the dark stocking tops are like a climax to the eye's ascent, with the greatest contrast between covered and bare at the top of the thighs, an area of great interest to a man. Stockings are the ideal frame for a woman's charms. It is like setting a beautiful jewel in the perfect setting. The stocking tops also function as place markers, emphasising just how much leg is being revealed.
A woman wearing stockings panders to male fantasies, especially if she is daring enough to give a glimpse of the tops. She is saying to her man: "I want to excite and please you. To hell with convention and propriety!" Since stockings have been out of fashion for decades, a woman wears them expressly to sexually excite a man. Or maybe that's just a male fantasy! A woman in stockings defies convention: instead of dressing to please other women or for convenience, as most do, she is dressing for men. Needless to say, such a woman is worth her weight in precious metals.
If a woman wants to make a big impression on a man, there can hardly be a better way than to appear in black fishnet stockings, matching garter belt, high heels, pearls... and nothing else.
Such an outfit is rendered more sexy by the fact that it is not functional but is worn just for show. It caters specifically to a widespread male turn-on, the origins of which are not clear.
Stockings are rendered more erotic by their association with prostitutes, pornography and pin-up girls. More than just about any other item of apparel, they signify that a woman is to be regarded in a sexual way. Thus a woman who wears them is defying convention and risks being thought of as a 'tart' - perish the thought!
Stockings also conjure up old-fashioned classiness, are feminine and frilly, especially with a fancy garter belt, and make a woman's legs more shapely. Unlike pantihose, they neither conceal any of a woman's charms, nor impede sexual activity. Stockings and lingerie offer delicacy, flair, imagination, sensuousness. By comparison, pantihose envelop a woman in an unappealing way.
Colour is an important factor. Black is the traditional hue of desire, being the most dramatic. For some reason I find dark blue to be the most exciting colour. White also has a special appeal and silver looks just terrific. Red, violet, soft pink and pale blue all have their particular charm. The least exciting colour is brown, though it may appeal to those who appreciate subtle effects. Net stockings and other patterns also do much to captivate the male eye. Good for a giggle is the wearing of different colours eg one red, one blue stocking with a dress that features both colours.
Garter belts offer tremendous scope for frills and thrills. There are some wonderfully colourful ones in fine lace. They decorate a woman to look precious, gorgeous and utterly feminine. Stockings are best worn long, going well past mid-thigh - knee socks are for kids.
As well as these important but impractical advantages over pantihose, stockings do have some practical virtues. Apparently they are healthier because they allow ventilation. For the same reason they are more suitable for warm weather. On a sticky, hot day a woman might dress up for a special occasion such as a wedding, using knee socks as part of her outfit. Should an errant gust of wind reveal this deception, the illusion of classiness would be painfully crushed. Whereas a glimpse of a garter strap has the opposite effect, at least on a man. Stockings are also less bother than pantihose when going to the toilet. If you ladder one stocking you still have the other one to use, so that two pairs of stockings will potentially last twice as long as two pairs of pantihose.
Lacy black underwear has much of the appeal of stockings, yet it lacks their unique appeal. This is partially because stockings conceal all but the sexiest part of a woman, and partially due to specific male erotic conditioning.