Spick actually began publication around the same time as Playboy in the United States. They were extraordinarily successful magazines and much-beloved for their photos of pretty girls in lingerie and nylon stockings. As time went on, the publisher’s commitment to not publish photos depicting full-frontal nudity lead to a declining readership, as they couldn’t compete against the more explicit images emerging in reaction to changes in British censorship law. By 1976, Beautiful Britons, Spick and Span magazine had, unfortunately, ceased publication, though many collectors, like Gerard, make sure the images from the magazines live on.
These three magazines, published by Town and Country Publications, or ToCo, were the most successful girly/pin-up magazines of their time in the United Kingdom, yet I found it stunningly difficult to find textual information online about Beautiful Britons, Spick or Span for this post. In some of the images preserved online, I was able to find some charming snippets of text which give a sense of the light-heartedness found inside.
Thank you, again, Gerard for generously sharing your photos with us and for giving me the opportunity to learn about Beautiful Britons, Spick and Span.
Since there is so little information online, I would be thrilled and grateful if people reading this who have fond memories of these magazines would post what they remember in the comments section. Really no detail is too small, because, although there are quite a few photos out there, there is a dearth of text about Beautiful Britons or Spick or Span, themselves.
(Since I first wrote this page, Gerard generously provided me with scans of an entire issue of Spick. He also sent me some magazines to scan and share with everyone. I would LOVE to get my hands on a copy of Beautiful Britons.)
A Stocking Vixen reader sent me the link for the YouTube video above which brought the very sexy and legtacular actress and singer Joi Lansing to my attention.
Even though she appeared in Easter Parade with Judy Garland, Orson Welles's Touch of Evil, I Love Lucy, and The Beverly Hillbillies, all films and televisions shows I've seen, I'd never heard of her, possibly because it seems more of her high-profile work was on television shows like Love that Bob that weren't still in syndication when I was was a little girl. She also, sadly, died of breast cancer at the very young age of 44, and stopped working in about 1970.
I'm very glad for places like YouTube where people can still discover performers they haven't seen before or I would never have heard her wonderful singing or enjoyed the happy burlesque sexiness of the Silencer video. I wonder if the backup dancers had pruney fingers and toes by the end of that shoot, though.
Sigh...I already feel calmer.
The Beyonce concert tour kicked off last night and photos from opening night in Edmonton are showing up around the Internet and, as promised, I'm posting some new photos this morning of Beyonce's pantyhose and her costumes. The photos were surprisingly difficult to find. I had assumed that Flickr would be loaded with fan photos from the concert last night, but I couldn't find anything. Thankfully, Brown Sista is on the case and has fans sending in photos of the Beyonce concert opening show and will be updating their blog all day long with new Beyonce pantyhose photos as they come in. They have more photos than I'm showing here, as well as several fan videos of live performances from the I Am... concert including Beyonce performing Diva which she performed live for the first time last night. There was a "no-media" rule in force at the concert last night and Sony has already pulled the fan videos from YouTube; the Brown Sista videos at Vimeo may survive a little longer being as they are hosted elsewhere, but that's not guaranteed.
I like the costumes, especially the really weird ones where the backup dancers look like life-size Academy Awards because one of my hobbies is handicapping the Oscars. Most of the costumes are really evocative of fetish wear, which is a lot of fun. I like seeing Beyonce's naughty side. I have always liked how Beyonce looks in shiny pantyhose, and that she wears it so often. I've heard from many of my readers that nude or suntan pantyhose is their favorite and that they love Beyonce especially because she wears that style of pantyhose almost exclusively. She gets a lot of guff for it, too, but I give kudos to anyone who wears stockings or pantyhose on a regular basis.
Clicking on any of the Beyonce photos will take you to a larger version, but I especially recommend it with the wedding dress photo.
Hello Beautiful has more photos, including the one above, and video of Beyonce performing a cover of "You Oughta Know."
I don't actually think the Justin Timberlake portion of the video is particularly funny, except I do enjoy stupid dancing every now and again. However, I can certainly get behind the sheer amount of hosiery and heels on display in this video, especially during the cross cuts between the parody and the actual video for Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).
Beyonce videos are usually very good for some glimpses of hosiery and one fantastic video for that is Green Light, which, really she should be given a medal for having made. (The Golden Leg?) It is a parade of gorgeous hosiery along with some beautiful outfits. Beyonce in a garter belt and latex stockings set my stocking button a-tingle. I was just awash in heels, pantyhose and stockings. She and her dancers wear ballet boots in one sequence and they look amazing on their legs, if incredibly torturous. I've watched video in the past of women on You Tube trying to walk in ballet boots and I find it amazing how well Beyonce and her back up dancers do with them.
As a general precaution, I believe you should probably sit down before you peruse this post. It may cause palpitations or dizziness and Stocking Vixen and her subsidiaries (aka my beagle, Poppy) are not responsible for anyone who falls and hits his or her head while viewing these videos.
Beyonce was on my mind today because Thierry Mugler released some drawings of the costumes he designed for her world tour which starts tonight with a show in Edmonton. It's no surprise that her glorious legs are on display. Since the show kicks off tonight, I'll wait until tomorrow to see if I can find actual photographs of the show rather than post the drawings here.
I posted some new photos of hosiery at Flickr tonight including this experiment in loose stockings over fleur de lis pantyhose with knee boots. I think the photograph doesn't do it justice and I liked it much more in real life. The stox are the infamous DIY thigh highs and once they'd rolled down to their happy place, they were content to stay in place. I like it that the black stocking extends the length of the boot. I'm just not 100% sold on the look. Experimenting is fun, however, and sharing with all of you is even more fun.
When I can't handle reading anymore and I just want to people watch and marvel at the creativity and delight some people show in getting dressed, I meander over to Face Hunter, a blog described as "a man out and about in london and beyond: eye candy for the style hungry." It's a wordless document of beautiful people found on the streets of London and the interesting things they wear. It's quite a wonderful and colorful parade at times, and a great place to get ideas for breaking out of your wardrobe doldrums based on things real people are actually wearing on the street.
As readers of Stocking Vixen know, I'm not averse to the idea of taking things into your own hands and making an article of clothing better-suited to your own purposes. I believe the sequined opaque tights in the photo are a "real" product, in fact, I know I've seen them before, but I look at so much hosiery every day, that I can't always shake information loose when I need to remember it (I hope someone will help me in the comments if they recognize these). However, making yourself a pair of these, or something similar shouldn't be too difficult. Sequins are often sold attached to sheets of fabric, as well as loose and it's not really necessary to commit to a fully-sequined leg to do some interesting embellishing on a pair of tights. It's an idea I hadn't thought of before, that I may play with this spring. Even a few sequins at the ankle could be fun.
Is it just me, or is she wearing shorts with tights?
Okay, the title of this blog post isn't the most creative in the world, but my brain is pure mush, having spent the last hour or so perusing COED magazine's 49 Sexy Stocking Stunners.
As they put it:
There’s just something about how this ingenious garment looks on the legs that can make a man lose his damn mind. So to push you one step closer to the loony bin, we’ve put together this tribute to stockings that’s so hot, you might have to take a break to get all the way through.
I thought that being a straight woman, I didn't have to take a break, but apparently these photos are SO HOT that they can also damage the brain function of a female stocking junkie. There's a bit more airbrushing than I care for in some of the shots, but many are just incredibly sexy and I highly recommend hoofing it over to take a look at this collection. Not only are there 49 sexy women in stockings in the article, but each photo links back to a separate gallery (many with somewhat NSFW images or ads, so be forewarned) with many more images of these models often from the same photoshoot. So, I probably just spent the last hour looking at something like 250 photos of incredibly gorgeous women in spectacular hosiery. The things I do for all of you, it's amazing I'm still alive, quite frankly.
Want to see me in stockings? Please visit Stocking Vixen on Clippette. You'll get a warm fuzzy feeling, plus some sexy stuff!
I love the silver spiderweb pin on the lavender stockings and the Eiffel Tower pin on the rosy garters. The whole idea adds a touch of whimsy and glamor that's really original and, I think, very pretty. This is obviously an idea that would be very easy to copy at home and I've even wondered why more garter belts aren't sold with embellishment on the garter strap. Some of it has to do with not wanting the strap to show through clothing, but it seems that designers are losing an opportunity to have some fun with fabrics or decorations once in a while and I know I'd be interested in something quite outside the norm every now and again, even if it were just for the boudoir.
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Some photos just make me feel happy, like this one of red and white striped tights inside a pair of cute black Mary Janes against some gorgeous green grass. Greta and Donato's photostream is well worth heading over to Flickr to check out, though it's something to view at home rather than work. There are some stunning, incredibly sensuous images and Greta is a really beautiful woman. They are both terrific photographers, as well.
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I think many readers of Stocking Vixen are going to find themselves heading as quickly as possible to Belgian hospitals after seeing this humorous advertisement featuring a very sexy nurse in white nylon stockings going to work on a "dying" man.
No time to set things up properly tonight; for some reason I couldn't shoot in focus while I was standing, so I'll need to set up the tripod, but I shot some pantyhose crossed legs photos in my my new black high heels, since they arrived today and I love them! Thank you to everyone who sent me a vote at Twitter and helped me pick. The balloting went overwhelmingly in favor of this pair, though there were many from which to choose, so I guess you guys were on to something. More photos to come, but I wanted to share something today.
I've been interested in getting some latex hose for a while, and she was kind/evil enough to pass on some links for great places to buy latex hosiery and lingerie. As I perused, I absolutely fell in love with Atsuko Kudo Couture Latex Design and needed to post the photos above in an attempt to get the lust out of my system, since I've been able to think of little else since I laid eyes on their website. I'm looking forward to thoroughly exploring my options for buying some latex hosiery (Atsuko Kudo Couture will have to remain a fantasy item at their price point until I know how I like latex) and reporting back on my adventures in latex stockings.
Awesome article about making homemade gradient tights by Jennine at The Coveted. It's so ridiculously simple and requires only pantyhose, Rit Dye, salt and somewhere to do the dyeing. (If you're dyeing wool tights, you could even use Kool-Aid to do the dyeing.) I used to be a knitter and loved dyeing my own yarn and making interesting combinations. I could see myself going really crazy with the whole idea of dyeing hosiery.
(Btw, I discovered this story through Hosiery Advocate's blog at MySpace. He's out there advocating for hosiery equality, so swing by and say hi to him if you support the cause).
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Recently, the Stockingirl blog has made quite a few mentions of one of my favorite trends from my teenage years: tights worn under a pair of shorts. I know it will come as a major shock to everyone who reads my blog, but I really enjoy showing off my legwear. What might be more of a surprise is that I'm not a huge fan of wearing very short skirts. I just have a very difficult time tuning out the idea that I might be showing off the lady parts unknowingly, so it's hard for me to relax if my skirt is more than a couple of inches above the knee. Wearing a pair of shorts takes care of that anxiety and lets me show off a few more inches of the hosiery.
Now, as someone who, in the 80's, owned a pair of red and white polka-dotted rayon shorts that she often wore with white tights and a pair of red suede flats that had a gold medallion on them, I can attest that it is a look that is really easy to get wrong. Even then, I knew I felt best wearing a pair of denim shorts with black tights. I think I'm going to go on record now and say that I still think this is the gold standard of the shorts with tights look. A monochromatic look is a very close second.
Let me re-iterate. This is a danger-zone kind of look. You can very easily dip into "My EYES!" territory and injure others if you get this wrong, as captured by malingering at Flickr.
There are issues other than the shorts and tights going on with this ensemble, starting with the poor fit of the shirt and jacket. However, keeping our focus on the shorts and tights, if The Busy™ is happening on the legs, the rest of the outfit needs to be simple as all get out. These tights are way too busy to wear with tweed shorts (which are not even in the same color family as the tights) and a jacket that is possibly made from yak and seems to have ripped up toilet paper glued on it. She seems to have also made the shorts herself by scissoring up a pair of her former tweed trousers and leaving them unhemmed. Obviously, there is a long tradition of cut-off shorts. These, however, look like what would happen were Martha Stewart to decide to get herself a pair of Daisy Dukes.
Keeping it simple and as classic as possible with the shorts with tights look is really important because it's already a little different than what people are used to seeing and it is surprisingly easy to confuse the general public.
Style Du Monde shows Sarah Rutson, the fashion director of a very popular chain of Hong Kong department stores, rocking the ever living daylights out of the shorts with tights look. The length of these shorts is perfect for her, the little distressed details are fun (notice her perfectly trimmed hem, though) and she has kept her accessories and other clothing really classic and perfectly put together. Although she is wearing a lot of different things, the coordination is so tight that the impression is just holy cow and fabulous. One thing she's doing that's a fave for me with shorts and tights is wearing a tailored blazer, which helps the tights make sense again and dresses up the shorts.
However, even someone as stylish as Ms. Rutson can make me question the shorts with tights look. It's that fraught with peril.
There's something that's not right about these shorts with this outfit. I think it's the shape and the length most of all, but the distressing seems to be too much here, too. It's one of those times where I can't say exactly what's bugging me, but putting my thumb over the shorts improves the outfit a hundredfold. I think this would have looked fabulous with black wool shorts.
All in all, the shorts with tights look can be a really fun way to show a few more inches of legs than you might be comfortable showing in a skirt. It's not the time to get crazy with the rest of the outfit, in fact it's probably the time to dip into the more classic areas of your wardrobe. I am guilty of high crimes against fashion while wearing shorts with tights, but I hope this year I'll be making up for what I did 20 years ago.
I'm adding some photos of some longer shorts with tights in response to the comments on this post. It's definitely possible to wear the look with a longer short as long as the shape is right. I've thought about it and I think the thing that bothers me the most about the third Sarah Rutson photo is that the shorts are baggy through the thigh and then pull in at the cuff, so they look almost like bloomers. The length is also not exactly right on her, but it's definitely possible to venture out of short short territory with tights and look fabulous, as evidenced by the photos below I've borrowed from a Stockingirl post on the shorts with tights trend at New York and London fashion week. (photos from style.com)
What do you guys think of shorts with tights? Are they serving up the hotness or do they make you want to escape to your special place?