If it's an economy to buy your hosiery at an expensive shop, why does he later state? ... Wouldn't that suggest that cheaper socks from a less expensive store were a bargain? Or was he not referring to socks when he mentioned hosiery? Surely hosiery meant the same thing in Waugh's day as it does now?. My best guess is that there was a semantic distinction between "socks" and "hose" in his day. Hose were probably dress stockings of some sort, while socks were closer to what we currently think of as socks/hosiery.