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Stocking Filler

"I can't believe there was once a time when women wore garter belts all the time, not just to be sexy, then some guy invented panty hose. That guy's a dick! What was he thinking?!"
Stand up comedian Mitch Fatel

We all know what Ms. Fanservice wears to accentuate certain assets: the corset. But what if she wants to show She's Got Legs as well?

Well, that's where Stocking Filler comes in. We have fishnet stockings, knee high stockings, and, of course, the ever popular garter.

For works prior to the 1950s, this was something of an Enforced Trope, as American and European women simply wore stockings every day as part of their regular underwear.note  However, due to the strict moral standards of the day (of which The Hays Code is exemplar), scenes depicting the full ensemble with garters and all were uncommon in American movies (though more frequent in European films); however, there were exceptions to the rule for using the trope for comedic purposes, and things started loosening up in Hollywood movies during the 1950's. These days, they're considered inconvenient for daily wear (much like the corset was decades before), due to factors such as the widespread popularity of short skirts since the 1960's and the introduction of pantyhose during the same decade, but still frequently encountered for fanservice purposes or as a throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Expect the Femme Fatale to be dressed this way, and very likely to use the garters as a hiding place for money, concealed weapons or a flask.

When you see a Stocking Filler scene in a Period Piece, check what kind of garter the actress is wearing to see if the costume department has been doing their research work properly. Before the late 19th century, stockings were customarily held up by round garters, ribbons of various materials, or even simply rolled up at or above the knee. Garter straps (also often called suspender straps) were introduced as attachments to corsets during the Victorian Era, and garter belts in the modern sense came along during The Roaring Twenties as skirts got shorter and corsets fell out of fashion. Along with pantyhose, stockings with special elastic bands at the thighs were introduced during the 1960's. Also, thigh-length stockings were fairly uncommon before the late 19th century; most stockings were knee-length or extended just a couple of inches above the knee.

Most often revealed in a Lingerie Scene. Part of Stock Underwear. Not to be confused with Silk Stalkings, an early '90s TV show (though there were several Stocking Filler scenes in that show), nor Filler, which may or may not include stockings.

See also: Zettai Ryouiki - this is when Stocking Filler goes higher than the knee, and worn with a shorter skirt. See also also: Playboy Bunny, for whom stockings or hose are an essential element of the outfit. Compare Victoria's Secret Compartment for another use of underwear to conceal objects.


Examples

Garters

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Film
  • James Bond film Never Say Never Again. The Vamp Fatima Blush has a victim hooked on heroin to force him to obey her. She carries a hypo filled with the drug in a garter belt (under a nurse's uniform no less), and exposes it while taking out the hypo. On YouTube starting at 1:05.
  • Both Silk Spectres get variations of this in the Watchmen movie, although in Sally's case it's justified by the fact that pantyhose weren't yet common in the 1950s.
    • The original Silk Spectre does wear stockings and suspenders in the comic.
  • The senior girls in the St. Trinian's movies (as part of their Sexy Schoolwoman uniforms).
  • In The Graduate, the older seductress Mrs. Robinson is seen wearing garters. (The still of Anne Bancroft removing her stockings while Dustin Hoffman watches is iconic.)
  • In the 1932 film Red-Headed Woman, when Lil (Jean Harlow) is seducing her boss, she shows him that he put a small picture of him to her garter. Later, when he wants to break up with her, she shows her stockings again to prove that she's removed the picture.
  • Extremely briefly appears in Scary Movie 2, when the girls attempt to parody Charlie's Angels and screw it up.
  • Layer Cake. Before sleeping with the protagonist, a girl slips off her normal underwear in the bathroom and changes into black stockings and suspenders.
  • Silk Stockings has an extended transformation scene showing Cyd Charisse donning the titular garments.
    • Actually, we don't see any garters/garter belts; this was during the Hays Code era where lingerie was considered highly risque (it was even mentioned by name as a no-no in the Code).
  • Sean Young, during her character's limousine sex scene with Kevin Costner's character in No Way Out.
  • Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau in Viva Maria!.
  • Gina Lollobrigida in La Donna Piu' Bella Del Mondo (Beautiful But Dangerous).
  • Catherine Deneuve, in her sex scene with Gerard Depardieu in The Last Metro.
  • Daniela Bianchi, in From Russia with Love (to be precise, she wasn't wearing garters, but black silk stockings rolled above the knees; this isn't clearly seen in the scene as released, but an alternate version was shot - there are several promotional photos from that version - which clearly show her exposed, stockinged legs).
    • The "alternate version" of the above scene from which those photos come was actually a screen-test of Bianchi. According to 007 film lore, this scene has been used ever since to screen-test potential "Bond girls".
  • Jayne Mansfield, in It Happened in Athens.
  • Sophia Loren, in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, one of her most iconic scenes (and reprising the scene in Pret-a-Porter (Ready to Wear)).
  • Loren again in The Millionairess, combining this trope with Of Corsets Sexy to try to seduce Peter Sellers.
  • Jeannette MacDonald (!) in the Ernst Lubitsch version of The Merry Widow.
  • Joan Collins in The Stud and The Bitch.
  • Jennifer Connelly in The Rocketeer.
  • Helen Mirren in The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover.
  • Olga Georges-Picot in the Woody Allen film Love and Death.
  • Sylvia Kristel in Lady Chatterley's Lover.
  • Ursula Andress in The Fifth Musketeer and The Sensuous Nurse.
  • The Jean Renoir movie French Cancan.
  • Ornella Muti in Swann in Love.
  • Laura Antonelli in Till Marriage Do Us Part.
  • Many of the low-budget "erotic thrillers" of the early 1990's; actresses such as Shannon Whirry and Shannon Tweed often had Stocking Filler scenes in those movies.
  • While actual Stocking Filler scenes were few and far between in the Production Code era, there were numerous "cheesecake" pinup photographs of starlets wearing garters.
  • Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood) in The Great Race shows her legs in a silk stocking to her editor to get him to allow her to cover the titular race.
  • The 1958 film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof shows Maggie Pollitt (Elizabeth Taylor) changing her stockings at the beginning.
  • In the 1958 Jerry Lewis movie "The Geisha Boy", Marie McDonald plays this trope for comedy when she suffers a "wardrobe malfunction" at the hands of the klutzy Lewis and bounces down a flight of airplane boarding/debarkation stairs on her shapely rump, clad in black satin girdle with attached garters, black nylons and high heels.
  • Nancy Allen in black stockings and garters in Dressed to Kill. Holy crap.
  • Needless to say, the Carry On franchise made frequent use of the stocking filler during the early 60s, although the trope fell out of fashion as the miniskirt grew in popularity.
  • Sweet Pea in Sucker Punch.
  • Lily (Mila Kunis) in Black Swan is shown wearing black garters in her sex scene with Nina (Natalie Portman).
  • In the 1986 The Fly, Seth asks for a personal item of Veronica's, like a piece of jewelry, to demonstrate his teleporter. She peels off a stocking and hands it to him, saying "I don't wear jewelry."

Literature

Live-Action TV

Video Games
  • Tear Grants from Tales of the Abyss owns garters that not only hold her red stockings up, but also holster throwing knives under her dress.
  • Excellen Browning of Super Robot Wars sports barely visible garters for her casual wear. While it seems like an aesthetic design, it makes sense when you realize she's the series' Ms. Fanservice.
  • Belle of Crystal Bearers.
  • The Sims 3 always had stockings available (pantyhose, thigh-high and knee-high) but the Late Night expansion pack additionally introduced "sleepwear" with garters.
  • Grim Fandango makes a point of Meche taking a damaged stocking off in one puzzle.
  • Bianca wears orange pantyhose under her skirt in Pokémon Black and White. In the sequel games, she loses them in favor of pants.
    • Mega Lopunny's dark legs are intended to resemble fishnets, a tie-in to its usual Playboy Bunny inspired appearance.

Western Animation

Fishnets

Comic Books
  • Both Zatanna and Black Canary have fishnets as part of their regular uniform (though Canary has changed a bit, going back and forth to having regular stockings/spandex and back to fishnets).
  • Orgasm Lass from XXXenophile.
  • X-23 often pairs fishnets and miniskirts when she's in civilian garb. Especially the outfit she wore her first day to school with her cousin in Target: X, and during her prostitute days as seen in NYX.

Film
  • Every major character at the end of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Alicia Witt, in one scene in Cecil B. Demented, wears torn fishnets, and has "Andy Warhol" tattooed on her thigh.
  • Too many classic-era Hollywood musicals and comedies to list. Some examples:
    • Jane Russell in Son of Paleface.
    • Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop.
    • Kay Kendall, Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg in Les Girls.
    • For that matter, Mitzi Gaynor, Cyd Charisse or just about any other dancer in a movie in which they danced.
  • Amber in Sucker Punch.

Video Games
  • Fishnet stockings commonly appear as accessories for female characters in the Dragon Quest series, along with garters.
    • Female jesters in Dragon Quest III are bunny girls, complete with fishnets.
    • Jessica Albert from Dragon Quest VIII can look like a bunny girl, as well, with the right equipment.
    • Dragon Quest IX is the first game where all equipment is visible on characters, and naturally the fishnet stockings appear.

Western Animation
Note: Fishnets are rarely seen in cartoons because they're difficult to animate without the Unmoving Plaid problem, though a few examples do exist.
  • In The Simpsons season 5 episode "Bart After Dark", Belle, the owner of the burlesque house, wears fishnets, along with spike-heeled shoes. At one point, she pulls up her skirt and crosses her legs, showing her sharply-clad legs.
    • In a later episode "The Cartridge Family", one of the hookers at the SLeep EAZY motel.
  • ReBoot: Hexadecimal, again; with fishnets peeking out from above her boots in her post-Season 2 Virus form.
  • Saffi on Jimmy Two-Shoes
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Green Arrow is convinced to join the team when he sees Black Canary put on her fishnet stockings.
  • Sedusa from The Powerpuff Girls.
  • In The Cleveland Show episode "Escape from Goochland", Donna wears a prostitute costume that includes fishnets. When she got arrested for being mistaken for a real prostitute, she was thrown to the police van with three real prostitutes, two of them wear fishnets as well.

Knee-Highs

Anime and Manga

Music
  • Thigh High Nylons, by Mustard Plug, is all about this.
  • Stockings, by Suzanne Vega


Smoldering ShoesThese Tropes Are Made For WalkingTrampled Underfoot
SideboobPartial Nudity TropesTheiss Titillation Theory
Spy CatsuitFanservice CostumesStripperiffic
SarashiUnmentionablesStock Underwear
Shakespeare in FictionImageSource/ArtThreshold Guardians
Stock UnderwearCostume TropesStoic Spectacles

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