Hosiery has been worn for hundreds of years, and has always had its place in the wardrobe. The earlier versions of hosiery were made of natural fibers like silk and were even worn by men. This form of hosiery was stockings which was all that was available at the time and would most likely have been considered a luxury item not every person could afford.
Modern hosiery came about in the 20th Century, and came about with the seamed stockings which are very classic and the look is even considered trendy today. Most people would be apt to wear seamed pantyhose or tights today instead, but the look still stems from the vintage seams! These early Modern stockings were made of nylon.
During WWII all of the nylon was used to support the war efforts so woman had to resort to having the seam painted on the back of their legs, or wear the stockings they still had left! It wasn't till about 1960 that pantyhose were invented by taking two stockings and attaching them to a panty brief so they could be worn as one. The early forms of pantyhose might not be very comfortable compared to the types of pantyhose/tights available today. Over the years yarn technology has improved greatly and a lot of the pantyhose made by European companies are some of the best feeling, wearing and most reasonable in price. They have pairs which are great for summer weather, and help to keep the legs cool. There are some with aloe in the yarn so they moisturize while you wear them. The European brands seem to be more advanced with their yarns and hosiery, which makes them more of a pleasure to wear. Today most are made with some sort of composition of Nylon, and Lycra. In tights it is still not uncommon to them made with natural fibers like cotton. They also use Cashmere and Silk if you are willing to splurge a little bit.