“We have all seen the beautiful fully-fashioned ‘opera’ stockings worn by dancers in the typical early 1950s movie musicals. This was before the days of stretch yarns and pantyhose so they must have been stockings. Does anyone know how these were worn, how they were made and where they came from? I vaguely recall an advertisement from one of the major manufacturers (Mojud, I think) that referenced a movie indicating its stars had danced through the movie in Mojud stockings.’
“Opera hose were the very, very long stockings worn by professional dancers before the advent of pantyhose. They had a very narrow welt and were held up with garterbelts at the waist with very short garters or, probably most often, hand stitched to an elastic brief after being donned. Watch an early 1950s movie musical and you will see dancers wearing opera hose.
“I suspect true opera hose have not been made for many years. Wiley of Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, made opera hose for the motion picture industry and was still in business in the mid-1960s. Today, opera length seems to have come to mean simply hose that are longer than typical. In no way do they approach the length of the original opera stockings.’
“I have had opera stockings. They were seamless, mesh knit, very long and with a narrow top welt. There was garter belt that sat very high with six garters that was intended for wear with these stockings. But they were in no way like the ones we see in the movies – even had they been fully-fashioned. The garter and the welt would have shown. I think there was something very different about those stockings and where they came from.’
“Opera length stockings were pinned to the inside of the panty. I watched an interview with Ann Miller and she talked in length about how they had to pin their stockings to the inside of their panties to keep the tops from showing. They were also so sheer that when the ladies danced they stretched and runs were very frequent. They had to make many changes in their stockings during the shooting of the dance scenes.”
“Opera Hose can be purchased online at Michael Salem’s Boutique. They cater to both women and men and men who enjoy dressing like women. Should you desire the extra-extra-long fitted full fashion hosiery you can visit their web site. It’s a bit of a strange place but hey, what the heck, whatever blows your boat through the water! Should you be the type of a person that does not shock easily then give it a go.”