For the A to Z blogging challenge I’ve decided to blog about the 1940′s. And in the spirit of the 1940′s, at the end of the month, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of one of my favorite books, Summer at Tiffany, to one of my newsletter subscribers (sign-up on the sidebar if you are so inclined.) It’s a light-hearted memoir of two college girls let loose in New York City for a summer. What a hoot.
This once staple of women’s fashion has an interesting history, particularly through the 1940’s. Invented in a lab at DuPont, nylon, the first synthetic fiber, filled a void in the silk stocking market when imports from Japan became problematic due to the war (at first boycotted, and then later the imports ceased). Nylon stockings first went on sale in Wilmington, Del in October 1939, nationally in May 1940 and were an instant hit. Unfortunately, as the war continued on, nylon use, like so many other products, was diverted to the war effort. In this case, for parachutes.
So what was a girl to do? Why, fake it. Here is a quote from an interview with Marjorie Hart, the author of Summer at Tiffany (the book I’m giving away to one of my subscribers this month…check the sidebar!)
As for the lack of nylons, the girls made do with rayon stockings (“The minute you sat down, they were baggy,”) or they painted their legs with a product called Stocking Stick. “If you weren’t tan, it made your legs look tan. If you wanted to go farther, you took an eyebrow pencil and made a seam.” But Stocking Stick wasn’t without its issues. “When we went to the beach, we laughed so hard because we saw this gal go into the water in her bathing suit, but the Stocking Stick only went up to right above the knees.” And the girls learned to avoid Stocking Stick if they would be dancing with a guy dressed in Navy whites, as there was a danger of transfer. “They did not appreciate that,” she remembers. –USD Magazine