In this article, we’re going to discuss the etiquette, norms and psychology of wearing stockings and suspenders when rock and roll dancing, or jiving in the 2020s.
If you are one of a couple who goes rock and roll dancing or jiving, this is something that couples often want to discuss. Women often like to dress up in period or vintage-style costumes when going jiving, and that can often include stockings, hold-ups or tights. But ladies, do you want to flash your stocking tops when dancing? Some do, and some don’t. Some maybe just a little bit. Some men will encourage it, and some will think it too exhibitionist. Some think visible stocking tops are a bit taboo. Let’s delve into this a little.
A point of language clarity for US and non British readers: in British English when we refer to stockings and suspenders, we mean stockings that are held up with a garter (suspender) belt. Hold up stockings are what are often called thigh highs or stay ups overseas. Many in the US incorrectly refer to ‘stockings’ as a catch all term that includes tights. Tights cover the legs, hips, and bottom as a single garment and are often called pantyhose overseas. The term ‘nylons’ tends to be used to refer to both sheer tights and stockings depending on the writer.
We men often fall into two distinct camps on this subject. If you are a stockings enthusiast that enjoys your lady showing off, and she is happy to do so, you may both get a kick out of her flashing her stocking tops when dancing. You’ve both probably enjoyed her wearing stockings in pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels and various nights out already. However, some men are more conservative or reserved than others, and some guys are jealous or insecure. Those men are likely to be less keen on the idea.
However enthusiastic you might be about the idea as a man in the couple, it’s not you wearing them. And if your woman is going to indulge you in this, she’s going to want to feel secure and confident about it. She isn’t going to want to feel cheap or slutty (but if she does, that’s OK too but a different article altogether). For that reason, you want to have a conversation with her about what her boundaries are and how she will feel most comfortable and enjoy it too.
For women, there is a spectrum of feelings on the subject. For some, it’s as simple as wanting to dress period, as women did in the 50s and 60s, and back then, a stocking top was no more taboo than a visible bra strap might be today.
Thought of in that context, wearing a pair of stockings when dancing is simply part of the costume. A bit of theatre. A bit of harmless fun.
Look at this video of some professional dancers. That girl’s black seamed stockings and suspenders are just a fun part of her costume.
Societies differ a bit across the world as to how taboo visible stocking tops are. In China, Japan, Russia, and many eastern European countries, a stocking top is still an unremarkable sight. Occasionally a fashion statement in itself. In Italy, you will see it more than you might in the UK. In the US, less so as women there tend to dress less feminine than in Europe and attitudes tend to be more puritanical.
Women who may be considering going dancing in stockings often worry less about flashing their stocking tops and more about if they are going to stay up. Nobody wants a stocking falling down, and the idea of having one crumpled down by her ankle puts many women off.
The simple answer to that is not to wear cheap stockings or suspender belts. It pays off to pay more for quality. Avoid the cheap stuff you’ll find on places like Boohoo, Amazon, eBay, Primark or the local supermarket. Supermarket own brand stockings or cheap online ones are usually not that great. Similarly, much of the stuff you will buy at places like Ann Summers will also be of inferior quality and only good for bedroom fun and games, not for a night of dancing.
Cheap suspender belts will have four straps as standard and plastic clips. They aren’t much use for dancing in. Many women prefer a six-strap suspender belt for more security and comfort. Six straps will usually be enough, but some sites sell eight or ten-strap ones. They are designed more for the stockings fetish market but some people like them.
Good suspender belts have metal clips and adjustors, not plastic. Avoid cheap suspender belts with plastic clips. This suspender belt on Amazon (not an affiliate link – a genuine recommendation) is quite decent for the price. It has six straps, metal clips, isn’t going to fall down, and has a panel to smooth out the tummy a little which most ladies appreciate.
When buying stockings or hold-ups, stick to good brands. That means brands like Dim, Pretty Polly, Charnos, Falke, Gabriella, Gio, Trasparenze, Veneziana, Oroblu and Aristoc. In general terms, French and Italian stockings tend to be good quality. Many Polish ones are good quality and quite affordable too as lots of girls wear stockings there. Celebrity-endorsed brands like What Katie Did can be a bit hit-and-miss, read the reviews. Some of it is great, some less so.
In short, be prepared to spend a few quid on the good stuff for your lady, guys. £10-25 isn’t unreasonable for a good pair of stockings. If you go down the rabbit hole, you can spend a lot of money on this stuff. Especially if you want genuine vintage stuff as many do. Make sure she has a spare pair in her bag in case she ladders one too.
Are Hold-Ups or Proper Stockings and Suspenders Better for Rock and Roll Dancing?
Proper stockings and suspenders are certainly more traditional. If you want the proper vintage look, go for proper stockings and suspenders with a back seam and a bit of heel detail.
However, lots of women who wear stockings like hold-ups too. If a lady wears hold-ups on a day-to-day basis anyway, she knows what works for her and what won’t fall down. If she is new to stockings, or only considering them to go rock and roll dancing in, I’d suggest buying some with a lace top as the sticky band tends to be a bit wider making them more secure.
Women with larger thighs often suffer from hold-ups rolling down or being too tight. Slimmer women have fewer issues with them. If a lady has slimmer thighs, she can wear hold-ups a little higher than regular stockings which she may prefer if she is a bit cautious and doesn’t want to flash too much stocking top. It’s a personal preference. Everyone has a different comfort level.
There is another option too which is a bit of a halfway house between tights and the look of stockings. And they are tights that are made to look like stockings. Generally called mock suspender tights. Often disliked by stockings enthusiasts and purists, but they do have a place.
For women who fancy the look of stockings but aren’t quite ready to wear them when jiving or rock and roll dancing, they can be an option that gives the look without feeling too exposed.
My wife tends to wear these to brightly lit dance classes or small dances in provincial locations to stop the pensioners clutching their pearls and gasping. The rest of the time she wears proper stockings when dancing and enjoys the odd cheeky flash. Mock suspender tights are very inexpensive, come in a myriad of designs and you can buy them almost anywhere in the UK. Even places like Boohoo stock these.
Stockings and Suspenders When Rock and Roll Jive Dancing – How Much Stocking Tops to Flash?
So you are off for a night of rock and roll dancing or jiving. The lady is wearing stockings. She’s going to be twirling a lot. She is going to flash her stocking tops a little. How much is too much?
Again, it’s a personal preference. Everyone has a different comfort level. Much will depend on her dress and how far it flares up when she twirls. Dress fabrics differ in weight, cuts differ, and some dresses behave differently from others. Some flick up occasionally, and some become a waist-height horizontal disc. Try different combinations at home before you go. Try a few twirls in front of the mirror at home. It’s important to get the twirl-to-stocking-tops ratio just right so she feels totally comfortable.
Let’s look at two different ways of doing this. In the video below, the lady Olga is quite relaxed about her black stocking tops being frequently on show. The couple both look like they are enjoying themselves.
Now here’s a slightly more subtle version. In the video below, Olga (her Instagram is here if you want to give her a follow), chose grey vintage stockings and her dress is a heavier fabric.
That combination means you only ever get the slightest peek of her stocking tops during a twirl. And paler stockings mean they are less noticeable as the grey-to-skin tone contrast is less than with black stockings. Most people are not going to even notice she is wearing stockings at all. Blink and you missed it (look again at 48 seconds in if you did miss it).
That’s quite an elegant and low-key way to do it while still being a bit cheeky and sexy. Only if you’re eagle-eyed will you notice the stockings there. That’s way less overt than the first video.
There is more of her jiving in black hold-ups in this 12-minute video from her Youtube Channel below (there’s also – quite by chance – a second woman in stockings and suspenders in that video too).
Those videos demonstrate both ends of the spectrum. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. And as every woman has her own comfort level, it’s not hard to tweak an outfit so you are both happy.
Rock and Roll Dancing: Who is Enjoying the Stocking Tops?
For the lady who chooses to wear stockings to go rock and roll dancing or jiving, flashing her stocking tops to the odd guy who might notice is a bit of cheeky and harmless fun. A little bit of showing off in a safe environment. It’s good for her confidence and affirms her sexuality. And after all, she’s in period costume, right? What’s not to like?
Now, here’s a reason why this whole subject isn’t for jealous or insecure men. Your lady is looking fabulous in her floaty dress, dancing with you, twirling and flashing her stocking tops. Except you can’t see them as you are dancing with her. That means if you want to enjoy looking at her stocking tops yourself, you need to let her dance with other guys occasionally so you can sit on the sidelines and enjoy the view from the chairs.
Feeling jealous? Don’t be. Remember, you’re the guy going home with her. Are you bothered if a few guys enjoy looking at her? Of course, you’re not. It’s part of the fun. They are probably jealous of you. You’re the guy with the hot lady in the stockings!
On the dance floor, you can’t see her stockings. Other guys dancing can’t see them as they are concentrating on their own moves and ladies. Only people sitting on the sidelines can see them if you are near the edge of the dance floor. Half the crowd are women anyway and most of them will be talking to their friends and won’t be watching the dance floor. As the dance floor is usually quite dark, the actual captive audience will be very small. That should go some way to assuring a self-conscious lady that she won’t be making an inappropriate show of herself to all and sundry. If you feel there are too many eyes, just move more toward the centre of the dance floor to block the view.
Some women may imagine that the sidelines of the dance floor are stuffed with pervy old blokes hunting for a view of stocking tops. Guys love girls in stockings, who knew? There will always be the odd weird creepy bloke but they are few and far between.
People sometimes film the dancing on their phones for all sorts of reasons (usually harmless Facebook rock and roll dancing groups) so don’t be put off if you see that. But by and large, the people on the rock and roll scene are all quite decent and friendly people. Most of them are old enough to remember when a stocking top was an everyday sighting anyway.
A woman may think she is going to really stand out in stockings and be gawped at like an exhibit in a zoo. In reality, she really isn’t. It’s nothing everyone hasn’t seen before. She’s not the only one who does this. Guys will still enjoy it if they notice of course (because we love stockings – duh!), but it’s nothing too radical or new, believe me. Women have been doing this for decades – she’s not the first or the last. All our mothers did the same in dance halls. The odd appreciative glance is all she will get. She isn’t reinventing the wheel.
But that doesn’t stop it from being fun! And once you’ve tried it, you’ll probably find your lady actually enjoyed it more than she has let on. Maybe she is a bit shy to tell you she liked a bit of attention – all women do. It’s a very healthy thing.
It will become something cheeky and fun you both enjoy in the context of your healthy relationship. It affirms her sexuality, femininity and desirability and you will reap the benefits of that in bed – especially if you encourage her to talk about what she likes about it. Before you know it, she’ll be flashing her stocking welts in Costa pretending she didn’t notice. Enjoy. 😉
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