NerdGlam: Seamed Stockings Are Not Just for ’40s Secretaries

The Cuban heel stocking — with its vertical back seam and dark, reinforced heel leading up to a dagger-like point — can be found on Dita Von Teese and on the ladies of Mad Men, but on few mere mortal women.

Above: backseam stockings by Jonathan Aston. Also try the tonier (possibly NSFW) Dita Von Teese collection.

Why love the Cuban heel stocking? In the Mamet film State and Main, a character memorably warned, “Never trust anybody who wears a bow tie. A cravat is supposed to point down to accentuate the genitals.” The Cuban stocking points up, up, up — from the high heels to however far you’ve decided to allow the viewer’s gaze.

(For any stocking purists who’ve ended up here, some insist that the Cuban heel stocking has a dark heel that ends in a squared-off shape, whereas the French heel stocking has a heel that ends in a point; other sources say that the “Euro heel” stocking ends in a square shape. All fine and good, but any web searching for Cuban heel stockings will tend to get you the pointy-ended ones. The terms seem to be used interchangeably in our stocking-challenged era).

While some may love seamed stockings due to their retro connotations, the stockings are still a swanky accoutrement for those of us who don’t have Joan Holloway’s curves. As a person possessed of a small bone structure and sharp, pointy facial features, I relish seamed stockings because I like everything I wear to be as sleek, tailored, and linear as possible. (Linear! As in, on the XY coordinate plane, these stockings are the line.)

However, there’s one really important thing to keep in mind: how to wear the Cuban heel stocking without looking like you’re in costume or like you’ve put the things on while suffering an attack of vertigo. There is, fortunately, a method to getting the seams dead-straight. To begin, you’ll need a pair of Cuban heel stockings or pantyhose (doesn’t matter which), and a full-length mirror that goes down as close to the floor as possible.

Photo Credit: Eric Walton

How to Get Your Seamed Stockings on Straight:

1. Stand with your back to the mirror, feet a few inches apart.
2. Step into the stockings, but don’t pull them up past your ankles.
3. Bend over. All the way over.
4. Look between your legs into the mirror.
5. Now inch each stocking up so that the seams end up perfectly straight.


If you don’t quite feel confident enough to leave the house (or, nay, go to work!) in seamed stockings, try toning down the look with a classic, midcalf-length black dress. (Of course, if you can pull off a Harajuku girl effect, you can hereby wear seamed stockings with absolutely anything, including Victoriana, cowgirl wear, and Haus of Gaga headpieces).

Now you’re ready to do a little shopping! Most searches for Cuban (or French) heel legwear will get you stockings that require garters. Personally, I think that’s a little too much like walking around with a fetish party under your clothes, but to each her own. A great source for the pantyhose kind is TrashyDiva, where I got the ones I’m wearing for a mere $15.

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    • Sharonica

      Whoa. I have to get some of those. And then bend over to put them on? They should print the instuctions on the package.

      • Alex

        Have you tried seamed stockings yet? Kind regards Alex

    • eEv

      Much as I would want to rock these things, my incredibly dry calves (seriously, I have to moisturize with petroleum jelly) and primary mode of transportation (hiking through often-tall grass) mean that no pair of stockings stands a chance with me for more than one wearing. Thus, I’d be loathe to spend $15 on a pair unless it was for a very special occasion. That said, if such an occasion comes up I may have to buy a pair. :^) Thanks for the tips!

    • Jen Dziura

      eEv, just for you, I am going to invent stockings that come rolled up in a little pot of aloe.

    • dementeddoll

      these are the only stockings i wear! beyond sexy!

    • CurlyComedy

      “Personally, I think that’s a little too much like walking around with a fetish party under your clothes, but to each her own” –> LOL! Hey, when I first saw this, I thought it said something else. Incidentally, could you do another great post on the benefits of wearing, “Steamed stockings”?

    • Jen Dziura

      CurlyComedy, steamed stockings sound like something you’d get at dim sum during the Great Depression.

    • evathegypsy

      I somehow want cuban heel stockings now! LOL! I don’t have use for them, but heck! It seems like fun!

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    • Alex

      Ladies, if you have nice legs they always look so much nicer in fully fashioned nylons and high heeled shoes, just an opinion of a mere man.

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    • T Elizabeth

      The writer of the article is wrong. As you put your stockings on you hold your thumb on the seam and pull them up the back of your leg.