One of the more fun and fashionable trends you'll see these days is that of high high socks and stockings being worn by all kinds of women for all kinds of occasions. From the convenience and warmth they offer to the fun, playful options available, above the knee socks and hose have come a long way. But just how far have they come? Let's take a brief look at the history of socks and stockings.
While the first socks were quite a bit different than what you think of today, they actually date all the way back to the stone ages. At that time they were simple animal skins that were gathered around the foot and tied around the ankles. And there is evidence that the ancient Egyptians had some form of knitted sock already (really not too surprising when you consider how advanced they were in so many ways that they had knitted socks just fits in with the rest of the story of these amazing people).
By the 8th century BC the Greeks started using a form of socks that were made from the matted hair of animals. While it is not clear if these were worn by the general public, it seems that despite they were limited to use in theatrical plays, and more specifically in comedies. I guess matted animal hair socks are pretty funny looking if you think about it.
Much later, by the late 1400's, pants and socks became a single unit which later became known as 'tights'. Most often they were made from fine silks, wool and / or velvet of many different colors. In fact, it was not unusual to have each leg of the tights being a separate color.
Up to this point in time, these kinds of tights or 'hose' were worn primarily by the wealthy. But a hundred years later, by the late 1500s, the invention of knitting machines allowed for more mass production of the garments, making them more accessible to more people.
By the 19th century in the United States, we began to see the creation of full on knitting mills, pushing production levels even higher and accessibility to even more common folk. At the same time, fashion was leading to men's pants to become longer and longer which caused stockings to become shorter and shoreer. In fact, as the stockings continued to get shorter, the name was soon shortened as well to simply 'socks'.