Go Fish!

To be completely honest, this outfit was 100% inspired by Carine Roitfeld’s feature from the September Issue of Harper’s Bazaar, “Unmistakable, Unforgettable, Always in Fashion: Icons.”  The spread featured Roitfeld’s styling of 16 fashion icons including Lady Gaga, Linda Evangelista, Lauren Hutton, Monica Bellucci, and many others.  Each woman is shot wearing a different designer, but they all having one thing in common—all 16 icons are wearing fishnets.

History of Fishnet Stockings

I’ve always been a big fan of both fishnet stockings and Carine Roitfeld, thus I was enthralled when I heard about the feature.  (Especially the image of Stephanie Seymour in an Azzedine Alaia bodysuit and corset belt.  That was everything.)  For the past month I’ve been inspired to actually try out fishnets in a “normal” look to see if I could pull them off.  However, I thought it would be rather ridiculous to wear them in 90 degree heat so I waited until it cooled down a bit.

I also began thinking about the significance of Roitfeld’s use of fishnets as “the link” tying her feature together.  Fishnets have had a strange social significance, appropriating different meanings throughout the decades, but always carrying an inherent sex appeal.

History of Fishnet Stockings

Similar to eyeliner, no one knows for sure the origins of fishnet stockings.  However, we do know that they arrived to America via Parisian can-can dancers in the early 1900s.  Consequently, up until the 1960’s fishnets were mainly worn by burlesque performers, prostitutes, flappers and other “loose women.”  Some fashion forward screen sirens of the ‘40s and ‘50s wore fishnet stockings, but they were few and far between.

However, in the ‘60s, fishnets stockings gained mass appeal and were worn by women of all ages, with varying skirt lengths and shoe styles.  Almost everyone wore fishnets at some point in the ‘60s—they were as common as our present day opaque black tights.

Women in the ‘70s punk counterculture adopted fishnets as an ironic statement about trends and mainstream conventions of beauty.  It was in the late 1980s that we saw my favorite incarnation of the fishnet, with the likes of trendsetters such as Madonna donning tights, gloves, tops, and everything else imaginable made out of fishnet.  Then, in the mid-90s the “goth” look began influencing mainstream designers, and somehow since then, they have been sold in department stores nationwide.


Although fishnet stockings are no longer considered “immoral” or “deviant” in Western fashion, they still aren’t deemed appropriate for most daytime events.  For instance, most women wouldn’t wear fishnets to the office or church because they wouldn’t want to look “too sexy.”

In my opinion, it is the power of suggestion that makes fishnets so intriguing.  They are subtle, and in some ways mysterious—making them somehow modern, yet timeless for the past 50 years.

This all being said, I love Roitfeld’s choice of fishnets as a consistent motif within her portrayals of each fashion icon.  Fishnets have stood the test of time, spanning many decades and trends but always remaining edgy and sophisticated— just like the icons wearing them.

History of Fishnet Stockings



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  1. October 17, 2014 / 8:03 pm

    I’ve been meaning to buy fishnet stocking for the past few years! I have no idea why I haven’t already, used to wear them all the time when I was a teenager. I hadn’t ever considered the history of fishnets before, though. Very interesting.

  2. October 13, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    Great post! I love your fashion “analysis” of the timelessness of fishnets in relation to the style icons featured in Harper’s Bazaar. This was a fun read! I’ve always been intrigued with fishnets. In high school, I went through this phase of wearing vintage party dresses with definite influence from old movie stars and pin-up girls. I remember wearing fishnets and hearing comments about how it wasn’t appropriate or that I was “trying” to look sexy. Really I was just trying to play the part of these different characters and historic figures I’d come to admire. So I agree that they’re these loaded symbols with all of these connotations, but I too find them alluring and mysterious. That’s what makes them fun!

    <3 Liz

  3. October 13, 2014 / 7:30 am

    Just found you through the Links a la Mode on IFB. Wowza, you are so cool! Really glad I found you!


    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

    • October 11, 2014 / 6:01 pm

      Thank you so much Lorietta! So nice to hear from you! xx

  4. October 10, 2014 / 4:28 pm

    Beautiful outfit! I don’t own a pair of fishnets because I don’t know if I pull them off as well as you did! You look so lovely!

    • October 11, 2014 / 6:02 pm

      Hi Katherine Lou! Thank you so much — I hope to hear from you again, soon!

  5. elb743
    October 9, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    Wonderful and thoughtful post about the history of fishnets and how they are perceived. You look stunning in them, elevating them by your sophisticated style. I adore the shoes, as well, and your hair is magnificent.
    I think micro fishnets can be worn to work today, so long as there is a jacket, no cleavage, and a skirt that is knee length or longer. If the skirt is midi.. then fishnets, of most varieties, can be worm safely, I think. They are a wonderful way to add texture, too!
    Love this post!
    XX, Elle

    • October 11, 2014 / 6:03 pm

      Thank you so much JuJu! It took many trials to get the color right! Xx

  6. October 8, 2014 / 3:05 pm

    You are rocking those tights and your coat is lovely, I really like the cut of it.

    I’ve never been brave enough to wear fish nets, I just don’t think they would suit me!

    Corinne x

    • October 11, 2014 / 6:05 pm

      Ahhh Penelope Cruz! The most beautiful woman in the world–I don’t think she could ever not look classy. I have to say that I was much more impressed with Bazaar’s September issue than Vogue’s. What do you think?

  7. October 7, 2014 / 8:48 am

    How do I not have a single pair of fishnets? That needs to change stat! You’re rocking them!

    • October 7, 2014 / 8:57 pm

      They’re fun! You should definitely give them a try! Xx

  8. Shybiker
    October 7, 2014 / 6:32 am

    You’re so right — fishnets carry the cultural weight they do because of their history, not their inherent design or aesthetics. I was around in the Sixties and Seventies and your explanation is accurate.

    I’m a lover of all hosiery and am surprised at how fishnets can tie together a look. They are an immediate eye-catcher that transforms the items around them. You look great here!

    • October 7, 2014 / 8:58 pm

      Ah–good to know! Sometimes I second guess myself after writing a post. In my opinion there’s nothing worse than one of those super generalized and misinformed fashion articles that assumes the ’60s were solely dominated by tie dye and peace signs. Xx

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