Supporting Role: Alluring Stocking Sales Are Up

Thigh-high stockings and garter belts are sizzling.

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Special Issue
WWD Intimates issue 01/25/2010

These days, stockings are sizzling — and not just as a fantasy item.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


Credit the frequently unsnapped garter on AMC’s “Mad Men,” the Forties’ fashions of “Inglourious Basterds” and the blatantly sexy lingerie in “Nine.”


Just as significantly, credit the wealth of silk-stockinged looks on the spring runways, inspired by John Galliano’s glorious fall couture collection for Dior back in July.


Retailers and hosiery firms report healthy nationwide sales increases of stockings, garter belts and garter skirts. At e-tailer StockinGirl. com, sales are up 30 percent over last year, and not just in basic black and beige. Flirtatious pink and gray sheers are also finding consumer favor; so, too, believe it or not, are opaques in orange, fuchsia and turquoise.


At Seattle-based Nancy Meyer, stockings sales increased 50 percent in 2009 over 2008, with Wolford leading the way. The store’s customers prefer stay-up styles to garters, and appreciate alluring thigh embellishments like lace banding.


At Intimacy, which opened its ninth store in Manhattan in December, Falke’s lace-border stay-ups, $36, have been especially strong, along with garter belts — top items include Grenier’s black lace retro garter belt, called Seranade, for $40, and Chantelle’s boudoir collection.


Felina Lingerie, which sells under the Felina, Jezebel and Paramour labels, will target juniors with Body Jewels, a line of bras, panties, boyshorts, camis and baby dolls launching for fall. For Felina’s established brands that target customers 25 and up, the pinup-girl appeal of garters has boosted sales, and prompted the company to design skirts, hipsters, waist cinchers and retro baby dolls with garter attachments. Says vice president of sales John Adams, “These items resonate with the customer because they make a woman feel sexy.”

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