Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cold Feet...

So I'm from Queensland, where at this time of the year, people are wearing shorts and singlets. However, I now live in Melbourne, where it gets COLD!

My question is: How do you girls from cooler climates still wear your vintage best when it's freezing?

Garth and I went out last night and I wore a trenchcoat over my dress and my deadstock nylon stockings, but my legs still got cold! I see lots of girls wearing black tights under their dresses, and while it looks good, I prefer a more traditional "colourless" leg look. Are there some amazingly thick flesh coloured tights that I don't know about? Do tell!


  1. Dancers Stockings! Thicker than the average stocking, sculpting, comfy and do not ladder easily. You can also wear them under your back seamed stockings. Here in NZ I wear alot of coloured tights and boots in the winter with carefully concealed leg warmers, wool socks etc, not vintage authentic but beats having blue toes

  2. Ohohohoho, I'm so glad you asked. I'm a transplant from the northern US and Canada to the UK, and strange as it may sound, staying warm here is HARD by comparison because it's stealth cold, so you can't just bundle up in parkas and long johns and call it a day. I've been doing research about how women of skirt- and stockings-wearing eras stayed warm through British winters, and you can read about it over on my blog:

  3. Oh, and sorry, I should have mentioned -- winter stocking options in the 1940s included wool, lisle and silk as well as nylon and rayon. Silk stockings are surprisingly warm, but I haven't tried lisle.

  4. I wouldn't call nude stockings "traditional" any more than I would call thick wool stockings "traditional". What do you think would have been worn 50, 100 years ago? People froze JUST as easily. I have a pair of black thigh high socks from American Apparel that I frequently wear under skirts and dresses in cooler weather and they are just as period authentic (minus the elastic) as paper thin stockings would be, just less idiotic to wear as they actually provide warmth.
    You can buy nice wool thigh high socks in a variety of colours from SockDreams, including some merino ones from NZ. Optional sock garters as well!

  5. Total meant to add that there are some AMAZING vintage jackets out there that cool weather is fantastic for. Its an entire aspect of the vintage wardrobe that people in Queensland would NEVER get to try out. I've found a bunch this past winter including a bright red 50's wool coat, a navy Gloverall duffel, a big fluffy 50s faux fur coat and a vintage plaid rain coat!

  6. I know what you mean about wanting to keep your look traditional, with nude stockings. Look around Etsy for thick stockings, and if that proves fruitless, take a look at sockdreams. They have some great beige thigh highs, I can't remember which ones, but if you wanted a seam I bet you can just sew one up yourself! I'm going to try that when winter comes this year, I'm not a fan of wearing colored tights.

    Also here's a link showing how to make your own seamed stockings, if you found a nice wool or something:

    As far as the rest goes, I have a bunch of wool coats for winter, and I'm not sure how you feel about vintage fur, but nothing keeps you warmer than a fur collar. I also just bring out my wool sweaters and skirts, and layer them over silk slips and camisoles. And berets through the whole season, they are warm, can be pulled over ears, and aren't as delicate as other vintage hats, so I have them in every color!

    Ok, I've rambled on, hope that helps!


  7. I usually just wear a pair of white or nude opaque tights underneath the other pair, it keeps me warm enough. I guess it would be based on your cold tolerance. But on the super freezing days, I opt for the wool ones.

  8. If your scared of cold thighs under socks, wear a pair of tights under them.

    But basically, you're going to need to learn to layer. I buy lots of thin layers to wear underneath my dresses, like thermals (mmm...toastie). There is also the option of grey tights? Maybe? And boots perhaps? Melbourne does get pretty rainy.

    I know I'm not vintagey, but I hope I still helped.x

  9. Wow, thanks everyone. You have opened my eyes to a whole new universe!

  10. Lots of long underwear! Defintely need a good 4 to 5 layers. I need to wear whatever my outfit is, underclothes (or girdle if going all out), long underwear (cuddleduds), and of course a sweater over everything. At home I even need a robe or housecoat over that. It's still quite cold here in Minnesota, but since the snow is finally starting to melt, maybe I can get down to 3 layers :)

  11. At some pont you have to give up the dresses. I'm going to try some dresses in wools with an A line of wiggle skirt. Full circle skirts won't keep me warm I think. Also I know it sounds dumb but vintage dresses/made from vintage patterns with SLEEVES!! I know lots of the patterns look mumsie but I am going to give them a try. And also jumpers, by which I mean dresses with tailored shirts under them a la many a vintage pattern.


  12. I always layer my stockings in the winter. I find that layering two pairs normally helps quite a bit. A long coat and a thick wool scarf are also pretty mandatory in the colder months. I don't live in a extremely cold area of Canada but it does get pretty darn chilly in the dead of winter. I can't wait for spring!

  13. Here in Finland, where I live, it can get as cold as -30 degrees in winter. So it´s all about layering thick wool stockings. One way to keep it authentic is to wear thick thigh high socks under a pair of wool undergarmentshorts. It´s not very sexy, but it keeps you from catching a cold. :D

    With those I wear wool everything: skirts, sweaters, coats.. And lots of fur: collars, muffs, hats.. It´s better to get old clothing from 50s and 40s, because they are made from natural fibers and not from synthetic ones. They are much warmer.


  14. I thought of you when I was watching The Edge of Love today - the girls in the film move to Wales during the war, where it was quite obviously miserable and cold. They spent a lot of time in boots/wellies with knee high socks on underneath, and thigh high socks (I didn't see any garters holding them up, and they looked rather thick, so I'm assuming that's what they were, but it was a brief glimpse). I guess it's just to reassure you that maybe our idea of 'period accurate' is skewed by looking at glamorous actresses and models, or people dressing in their sunday best for a photograph - surely people were practical too!

    One other thing about Melbourne - the temperature is really variable so layering is -really- important. The day might start out freezing, but by midday the sun has come out and all of a sudden it's warm again! It's important to be able to adjust to those fluctuations in temperature.

  15. Hi! If you want to be authentic you can knit thigh-high socks and wear some knitted bloomers with that. And if you dont like that idea you can try to find vintage cotton or wool stockings. I have some and they are really comfy, have the seam and all so you will look authentic and still be warm.

    Here you can see some pictures from a vintage knitting magasin I have

  16. Everyone has given you some great vintage alternatives here. Being a Melbourne gal myself I'll tell you my cheap and cheerful secret. Even though I do have some vintage knit stockings and Lisle, I am concerned about them being ruined in the course of my day (dogs, children etc..)So I had to come up with another alternative.
    I wear the "Sheer Relief" compression pantyhose (urgh, generallynot a fan) that are sold in supermarkets for air stweards. They are nice and thick, regular pale skin colour and have a reinforced heel that lend them an ever so slightly vintage look.
    They are about $7 a pair, last forever, save tired legs and keep you quite warm due to the denier.
    Hope that helps.


Thanks for your comments!