I'd use a tubular cast on. This removes the visibility of the cast on edge by folding it. It's very stretchy. I think it pulls in a little, but it looks clean. This is my favorite edge ever. It is a little frustrating to get started and the first time I did it, I folded the knitting purl side out, but it looks so nice when you get it right that it's totally worth it. Marnie MacLean has instructions for the tubular cast on in the Lake Park Gloves
pattern. Someone else might know a better place for instructions. I don't recall seeing a video for it here.
My other choice still involves a provisional cast on. Just do a provisional CO, knit the stocking, then pick up the CO stitches and knit upwards for the cuff.