History of Fishnets

The history of fishnets is both fascinating and astonishing. It’s just one of those fabrics that keep coming back, it never ages or becomes unfashionable. It’s a material that flatters and reveals which makes for a very alluring appearance.

Here, we take you through the decades as we reveal the origins of fishnet hosiery. We look at when it was first worn and why it just keeps creeping back into the limelight.

When Were Fishnets First Worn?

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date for fishnets being first worn. It’s believed to date back to the early 1880s (yep, really!) but of course, Victorian women kept their legs covered up.

black fishnets

If you’ve ever read the book “The Peasant’s Wise Daughter”, a German fairytale, you’ll know the woman wrapped herself in a fishing net to win the King’s hand in marriage.

The consensus for fishnet stockings first being worn can be placed in the 1920s . During this time, fishnets were worn during burlesque performances and other shows. However, they were likely worn even before this time – but under other garments.

1880s – Worn But Never Seen

Although there wasn’t much evidence of women wearing them during this time, our timeline has to start here. The word fishnet, which was described as loosely woven, was a term thrown around all the way back here. However, as things progressed fishnets became something to reveal, not hide away.

1920s – Flappers and Showgirls

Although the Oxford dictionary pens 1933 as the date fishnet was first worn, it does appear before then. Flappers and Showgirls quickly realised how flattering they were as skirts and dresses became shorter. From a distance, they looked just like tights, but with the right lighting, the woven fabric was revealed.

1930s – Oxford Dictionary Official Date

The Oxford Dictionary gives this date as the emergence of fishnet hosiery, which makes sense as people wore sexier, more revealing outfits by this time.

1950s – Pin Up Girls

The 1950s saw fishnets becoming increasingly linked to “looser” women who were part of a more modern class. Pin ups and porn both ascribed to the fishnet popularity during this time.

1960s – A Splash Of Colour

During the 1960s women became more elaborate and experimental with their fishnet hosiery. More colours were added as outfits became sexier and shorter.

1970s – All About The Punks And Goths

Doubling up with denim and holey clothes, fishnets were hugely popular among the punk and goth crowds. They were different, they were bold, and they made a very loud fashion statement that became iconic.

1980s – Madonna Loves Fishnet

Even today, aged 62, Madonna loves to be seen in fishnet clothing. The 1980s, in particular, were dominated by Madonna’s fashion trends as she made fishnet iconic. Her style set the fashion world alight.

1990s – Fishnet Designers

During the 1990s fashion designers were busy making fishnet clothing in a whole host of styles. They were about to emerge into something fascinating despite already being around for years.

2017 – Celebrity Fashion

The likes of Kate Moss and Kendall Jenner latched on to the virtues of fishnet and quite frankly wore it amazingly well.

When you look at all the names that have been associated with fishnet, through history and to this very day, it’s fair to say fishnet is a fashion that’s never gotten old. With the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee, Madonna, Rita Ora, Gwen Stafani, Lady GAGA, and Cardi B all loving fishnet it’s not likely to disappear any time soon.

So, enjoy those fishnet stockings and tights ladies, they will be around forever it seems and never at risk of becoming a tired fashion choice.

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