Elegant, luxurious silk stockings – a highly prized type of hosiery adorned by women (and men) for centuries. At VienneMilano, we genuinely enjoy learning (and sharing) about the various aspects of the hosiery industry. That's why we are dedicating this blog post to the luxurious world of silk stockings. So let's start at the beginning.

What is silk?

Silk is a natural protein fiber that is made from silkworms. The key attributes of silk are:

  • Sturdiness
  • Wrinkle, and tear-resistant
  • Smooth surface
  • Dries quickly
  • Hypoallergenic

Developed in ancient China, silk has been for over 5,000 years. By 130 BC (Han Dynasty), China opened its doors for trading with the outside world, thus paving the way for the silk road. Today, the production of silk continues to be fairly complex, which is why silk is an expensive material.


How is silk made?

It all begins with a silkworm. After devouring 200 pounds of mulberry leaves, the female silkworm lays about 400 eggs. Gradually, each egg transforms into a cocoon that's covered by liquid raw silk. Each cocoon is unraveled to obtain a single silk thread. From there, silk is then spun into fabric which are used for items such as hosiery, garment, and home decor.

Silkworm cocoons

What are silk stockings?

Silk stockings are stockings that are made from silk. Historically, the first pair of silk stockings were worn by Queen Elizabeth I in 1560. DuPont later introduced nylon stockings in 1939.

Queen Elizabeth I

Today, most hosiery is made from a blend of spandex and nylon. Since nylon tends to be a stiff material, stockings that are made from nylon are not very comfortable. As a result, most manufacturers blend nylon, spandex, and or cotton to create hosiery that is both durable and comfortable.

How to wash silk stockings?

Silk stockings should be hand-washed with gentle detergent and cool (not hot) water. To dry, place your hosiery on a flat surface. Generally speaking, you do not want to try silk items outside as sunlight may weaken fibers.

For more information regarding the history of hosiery, check out our hosiery timeline.

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