Dear VienneMilano,
When shopping for hosiery, I often see the letters "RHT". What does "RHT" stand for, and why is it important to hosiery?

- Karen C.
Thanks for your question, Karen! We are happy to explain what RHT means and its relevance. RHT stands for reinforced heels and toes, a vintage style of stockings that features a darkened heel and toe and a back seam.

To understand the importance of this style of hosiery, one must understand how hosiery was historically made. The first manufactured hosiery was produced by sewing sheets of nylon fabric together, sewing along the outside. Most modern hosiery designs use a singular piece of fabric turned inside out. This is similar to how many garments are still made. Because of the delicate nature of some hosiery materials, the heels and toes of early singular piece stocking would wear too quickly, and additional material would be sewn into the toes and heels. They would be reinforced with a slightly different type of fabric so that the stockings would stay together. As a result, all stockings had a back seam and darkened heel and toe area at one point in time. This style is still produced for its sophisticated, retro look, but the manufacturing technique is no longer necessary. On our GIULIA stocking, you'll notice the darkened heel beneath the white bows.

This is evidence of the RHT look in modern stockings. For more styles of opaque heels, check out our blog post about Cuban vs. French heels.

Thanks to modern technology, hosiery is no longer made using this method. Instead, stockings are created by circular knitting machines.

Due to modern techniques, the heel and toe area of the stockings doesn't have to be reinforced with a different type of fabric. However, since the stocking is a classic fashion accessory that women of all ages adorn, there are hosiery connoisseurs who admire the vintage style and, therefore, will look for hosiery labeled RHT. These vintage stockings may feature a seam up the back and different materials around the heel and toe. In a nutshell, today, RHT simply means that the heel and toe section of the stockings are darkened. To learn more about this subject, and the history of hosiery, check out our article on fully fashion stockings. For more vintage hosiery styles, check out our Permanent Collection which features iconic designs including back seams and fishnets.

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