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.