Fishnets – a vintage style history lesson

Fishnets - a vintage style history lesson

Vintage fashion: Fishnets have gone from vintage vamp to goth & punk style and now enter new territories. A style guide to an ice-cool vamp’s best friend.

I was getting ready to go out last night. Now what, I thought, would make the perfect finishing touch to my killer outfit? Why, a pair fishnet tights of course. Fishnet tights – so perfect for creating a deliciously naughty, yet stylish allure. A girl simply can’t go wrong with fishnet tights if she is dressing to impress.

Dressed to the nines and ready to go, a thought struck me. When did your average pair of trusty tights become their vamped up counterpart, fishnets? Fishnets have always been to me, tights’ naughty little sister.

How did fishnet tights happen?

After doing a little research a la google, it became clear that their exact origins are hard to pinpoint, just as it’s difficult to pinpoint whether fishnets – more hole than thread – make you look more clothed or unclothed. But back to the history lesson… fishnet tights were intially worn by exotic dancers and proastitutes before being popularised for the mainstream by Hollywood starlets around the 1940’s/50’s period. Ah, yes – back to vintage fashion again, that mooky favourite! The Second World War had finally ended and there was a new, more liberated attitude which was becoming increasingly evident, especially where women’s fashion was concerned. People wanted to enjoy life, have fun and revel in sexiness rather than follow the puritanical dress and behaviour that came with poverty and uncertainty. Fishnets certainly suited this new ideal!

As the decades progressed and fashions evolved, fishnets became heavily associated with the punk and gothic movements of the 1970/80’s. They were also embraced as a style statement by the alternative community and to this day remain popular and ever present in these subcultures, as well as in mainstream fashion.

What I love about fishnets is their versatility. You can dress them down for a day at the office and then head off out into the night like a transformed butterfly.

I have many pairs of fishnets. Vibrantly coloured, large diamond shaped netting, seamed at the back, unseamed… the list is endless! There are many good outlets on the highstreet to pick up a pair. I like to go to Primark for fishnets which are cost effective and ideal for a night out – which can be spent in a state of nocturnal glee without fretting over whether you are going to snag your tights!

How to shop for varied / cheap fishnets

For a more varied selection of fishnets, I would recommend scouring eBay (or if London-based, head down to punk / goth style paradise Camden Market for a truly unique pair of fishnets).