Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Day 40: The Least Sexy Item of Clothing Ever

... but the most practical.  Yes, it's the popsock!  (This one may be for the ladies.)

If we were to rank items of nylon hosiery in order of attractiveness, then clearly the stocking would come out at the top by a very very long margin.  The other two main possibilities are huddled pretty closely together at the bottom.  But as even a prison has its hierarchy, so too can we say with confidence that the order goes thusly: firstly tights/pantyhose, and then finally, occupying the position usually held by the thug who beat up his own granny, the knee high popsock.

This Is Not Real Life, Chaps
There was indeed a time in my youth when I wore stockings.  But, sorry as I am to destroy a myriad of fantasies, the suspender belt (garter belt) you need for most stockings is not the attractive item it purports to be.  You know these lingerie models?  They have only just put the thing on!  Wear it to actually walk anywhere, and as the stockings slip down, the darned belt gets pulled down below your tummy.  This is particularly unattractive if you have anything other than washboard abs, for even a little tummy poking out over the top of a suspender belt is Not a Good Look. The  'hold-up' kind of stocking is no solution, but is even worse.  They either fail to work completely, often at a very inconvenient moment, or they grip your leg so tightly as to cut off the circulation and introduce a livid red indentation to your upper thigh.  And then the bulge above the hold-up makes for particularly nasty chaffing. 

Hence the general preference for tights/pantyhose.  Much more practical and comfortable, but - and this is crucial - particularly useless under trousers.  The trousers pull them down, and they are far too hot.  All of which leaves the popsock.  A horrid garment on its own, but practical and comfortable under trousers, and in that context indistinguishable from the other two options. Only close inspection of the kind that most people do not get to make, would reveal it for what it is.  Ladies in relationships just have to manage this as best they can.

A creditable attempt by M&S
here to make them look sexy

In my work, I have to maintain a professional appearance, so it is usually the popsock-and-trousers combo for me.  (Never, never, never wear popsocks with a skirt, even a long one!)  This can work out surprisingly expensive, as my big toes have a habit of poking through.  If laddering does occur, then it is well to keep a bottle of clear nail varnish to hand.  Also, my mother is happy to darn the toes of her tights, and the Frugalist ought to do so too.  But sometimes the damage even after just one wearing is too great for salvage.

Obviously, keeping the toenails trimmed is one important frugality procedure.  The other is simply to locate the cheapest kneehighs available.  So far, the best deal I have found on the high street is in Marks and Spencer, where you can get a packet of 5 for £2.50.  This is a lot of money for what is essentially a disposable item, but considering that you can easily spend £4 on a pack of three, this isn't bad going.  But if anyone has spotted any cheaper ones, then do let me know.

Here endeth the hosiery lesson.  I hope it has not been too traumatic.  ;)

Total Daily Expenditure: £6.10


Jackie (Jack the Lass from SoF) said...

Oh my goodness that was horribly traumatic! Totally agree with you about stockings/suspenders, which always made me look like something from a Beryl Cook painting.

These days I'm afraid I have just bitten the bullet and sacrificed smartness on the altar of comfort - socks all the way for me (though to be fair, I can get away with wearing trousers to work).

Alison said...

I bought a vast quantity of brightly coloured nylon pop-socks in a sale, dirt cheap, in 1983. I still have some of them. I am going to take your advice, in reverse, to see if I can finally ladder them. Because I just can't bring myself to bin them till they're laddered.

Fran said...
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Fran said...

I must also report from Friend Claire, a true field-researcher, that Sainsburys Basics range does 5 kneehighs for £1. Surely the best out there.

Fran said...

Haha - you must have more shapely feet that I do, Alison. You could just grow your toenails, and that ought to do the trick. Oh, and when you say, 'brightly coloured', are we talking 1980s flurescent here?

Jackie, how nice to hear from you. Sorry to traumatise you. ;)

Fran said...
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Fran said...
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