Nylons were common on women when I was growing up. In the workplace, they were often required. For reasons I never understood, bare legs were considered indecent and covering them with ultra-thin, transparent stockings was thought to add modesty. Why is that?
I just read a cool two-part article on nylons at Smithsonian.com. I learned that nylons were invented in 1935. They were immediately and hugely popular, so much so that there were actual riots when shoppers struggled to buy the limited pairs available.
During World War II, the material used to make them was diverted to the war effort and there was a corresponding shortage of stockings. Being resourceful, women turned to pseudo-nylons and had stockings painted onto their legs. Don't believe me? Check out these historical photos. Interesting, isn't it?
I never really understood nylons, I am a huge fan of tights! They keep your legs warm and are colorful. But nylons always snag, they are so thin. I always assumed that women wore them to cover any blemishes on their legs, but then again they do add a bit of modesty.ReplyDelete
I love your historical posts. I'm the opposite though. I can't stand nylons.ReplyDelete
The sign where it says "no more ladders"... did you know a ladder is the old word for getting a run in your stocking?ReplyDelete
I have seen people do tattoos on their legs of seams like stockings.
I personally hate wearing them. Ditto Sara on tights rule.
We say 'ladders' in the UK, not runs. Getting the runs means something quite different! I'll be delicate and won't say... :-)Delete
Haaaahaha! Yeah, that means the same thing here.Delete
I just tend to always get runs in my nylons. It drives me crazy. Patterned tights on the other hand have become my favorite thing ever!ReplyDelete
I remember coming across this when watching a WWar documentary on TV, I was surprised they would paint seam lines on the back of their legs, but I guess many do all sorts of things for the name of fashion back then or even now. :)ReplyDelete
I do wonder what the future generations will think of us and our ways of styling!?
Very true. I suspect they'll look at current platform heels and say, "How did they walk in those things?!"Delete
I have a love/hate relationship w/stockings. I like them for a clean look in the winter when it's too cold for a bare leg, but they are so darn uncomfortable! Also they have the shortest life span. I will spend $5 on a [cheap] pair and they will last a day, if that. Now I prefer nude-colored, open work tights (similar to fishnets). They last longer and I can find some without a control top, which is the most uncomfortable aspect of nylons.ReplyDelete
I think the hose with the line up the back is incredibly sexy. However, I cannot stand to wear nylons. I have sensory issues that makes wearing synthetic fabrics hard for me. Most of my tights are thicker wool or cotton based.ReplyDelete
Aside from my personal feelings about nylon - the history behind them is fascinating.
Stocking are awful! Uck! Pants for opague (sp?) tights are the only way for me to go. Nylons don't cover my veins, bruises, or scars sufficiently. And pantyhose feel awful to wear, but I can't wear thigh-highs b/e my skin chafes *shudder*ReplyDelete
I grew up with nylons - it was a rite of passage for me in the late 70s to get my first pair of nylons. I felt so grown up! They were part of what you wore when you went to church or a school dance - it's just how it was!ReplyDelete
In the 80s, when I first experimented with coloured nylons (which evolved into the coloured tights we love today - tights then were usually thick grey or black only, ugh), I loved being able to play with colour, but they still snagged and laddered. I always had a little bottle of clear nail polish to paint on a run to make it stop! You could really prolong the life of them that way.
My grade 11 History teacher told us about the shortages in the War and about how she and her sister would paint each other's legs, trying to get the "seam" straight up the back!
Now, I wear microfishnet nylons in the cooler months when I want a nude-looking leg. I actually prefer control top, for keeping everything nice and smooth! (The secret is to buy up one size).
I admire people (like you, Ally!) who have the great proportions to carry off super-fancy legwear. I have a hard time with the fragility of nylons / stockings - hate those pulls! - but no difficulty at all with tights. Except for the odd pair where the crotch migrates downwards. :( I feel so sorry for anyone who had / has to wear nylons in the heat - grotty! - and totally ridiculous.ReplyDelete
During the war shortages, I wonder how women kept their painted-on hose from rubbing off onto everything?
I've also never understood why sheer stockings would be considered more modest than bare legs, but then fashion often doesn't make sense. For me they're often a necessity because I have a difficult time wearing most of my shoes without something between them and my feet. Nylons prevent my feet from getting blisters, and since it rarely gets hot in SF they feel fine. I do hate the pairs that dig in at the waist or roll down though!ReplyDelete
That's so interesting! Nylons used to be so popular, but now we associate them with "frumpy" outfits or old-fashioned looks. I hated wearing nylons when I completed at speech team tournaments in high school (mid 1990s), but it was required. No one I knew wore them. I haven't worn nylons in about 15 years. I do like colored tights, but those are thicker and less likely to rip.ReplyDelete
Wow! what an interesting tidbit of historical info.ReplyDelete
I personally like bare legs, but will put on a pair of hose for an interview or very special occasion. What I really seem to be into thought is tights. Weird huh? they're not all that different from pantyhose.
Its kind of funny but where i live they were used a lot before - even though because of the hot climate its inhuman! now, mostly women in corporate offices and banks use them.ReplyDelete
I have not worn a pair in quite some time.
I find it soooo interesting that women would pain this on... i am going to ask my grandmother..
I really enjoy wearing leg wear, it' funReplyDelete
Very interesting post, this is making me do some research of myself. Loving the pictures too :)