this thing's incredible

My Most Versatile Item of Clothing Is a Fishnet Body Stocking

Three different fishnet-bodystocking-accented outfits. Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Buschardt

When hot girl summer came to a close last year, I couldn’t stop thinking about those fishnet crop tops I kept spotting on my weekends at the beach. All summer long, I noticed beautiful fishnet-clad bodies of all shapes and sizes along the Jacob Riis boardwalk. In their neon fishnet tops stretched over Chromat swimsuits, they looked electrifying doing the most mundane tasks — waiting in line for a hotdog at Two Dudes, slathering one another with sunscreen. I wanted to find a way to work fishnets into my everyday wardrobe, but found it a challenge. Wearing a fishnet top on its own clashed with my understated aesthetic, while fishnet tights, even when paired with a simple skirt and top, felt too busy.

One day while cruising Amazon for a cheap pair of leopard-print leggings (a last-minute purchase for a friend’s leopard-themed birthday party), I discovered the answer to my fishnet quandary: a fishnet body stocking. It may not immediately scream versatile basic — especially when shown on a model wearing it with nothing other than a pair of stilettos — but bear with me: When layered beneath a polished work dress, peeking out below the sleeves and continuing the party down below, it makes for an unexpectedly elegant look.

Aside from adding intrigue to otherwise unexciting officewear, it also happens to look great layered under a T-shirt and skirt or shorts for more casual occasions. I’m in a punk band, and constantly struggle to look cooler than I actually am. But when I wear the fishnet body stocking under, say, a tee and miniskirt, I feel untouchable. The look is a tad louche; just enough to convey that the person wearing it is at least a little bit — possibly even outrageously — fun. And while the crotchless-bottom area is obviously intended for other nighttime activities, it’s actually quite practical when you find yourself needing to use the restroom in a too-small stall.

I’ve never once worn my fishnet suit without someone asking where I got it. Most recently, I tucked it under a belted COS dress for a MoMA opening — the look elicited cries of approval from every single one of my friends, plus a charmingly bespectacled man carrying a chihuahua in his sweater.

A note: When wearing a full-body fishnet, snags will undoubtedly occur. Fortunately, the price tag means it’s possible to procure a few backups.

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My Most Versatile Clothing Item Is a Fishnet Body Stocking