Tag Archives: nylons

“Leg Paint On His Back!?”

“Women want men, career, money, children, friends, luxury, comfort, independence, freedom, respect, love and cheap stockings that don’t run.” –Phyllis Diller

On October 27, 1938, Charles Stine, a vice president of E. I. du Pont de Nemours, Inc., announced that nylon had been invented, the name of ‘nylon’, the ‘ny’ part of the name literally standing for the initials of New York. He unveiled the world’s first synthetic fiber not to a scientific society but to three thousand women’s club members gathered at the site of the 1939 New York World’s Fair for the New York Herald Tribune’s Eighth Annual Forum on Current Problems. He spoke in a session entitled “We Enter the World of Tomorrow” which was keyed to the theme of the forthcoming fair, the World of Tomorrow.

After the New York World Fair when nylon stockings hit the market on May 14th 1940, women rushed out to buy them, not in their thousands, but in their millions! Over 72,000 pairs of nylons were sold on the first day of release in America and 64 million by the time a year had passed. The allure of wrinkle free, bunching free, inexpensive leg wear proved extremely popular putting a colossal dent into all preceding forms of established hosiery manufacture.

From the time of their original inception back in 1940, stockings had changed little. At that time they were “fully fashioned”, created in a wide variety of sizes to fit the leg exactly and knitted together down the back showing a seam. During the time when nylon stockings were hard to come by, women had become quite skillful at drawing a line down the backs of their legs to give the appearance of stockings by mimicking this seam line. However, that changed in the late 60’s when manufacturers found they could make nylon stretchy by crimping it under heat and then when Lycra was invented by DuPont in 1959, there was no longer a need for fully fashioned stockings. Later, the seams too were to disappear as manufacturers moved away from knitting flat to circular knitting machines, which eliminated the need to join the material.

Q: What’s a wife more afraid of finding on her man than lipstick on his collar?

A: Leg paint on his back.

During World War II, many women had no stockings and so they ‘penciled in’ seams, using eyeliner or eyebrow pencil to draw lines up the backs of their legs to create the look of stockings. This was not the only cosmetic approach to hiding one’s bare legs. In a copy of The Professional Beautician 1942, there was an ad for beauty shop owners to stock Curley Colortone Cosmetic Stockings. The vintage wholesale advertisement for professionals promises that each unit of Curley Colortone Cosmetic Stockings includes a jar of Colortone and a jar of Curley Foundation Creme and clearly shows that salon product was also available.

A 1938 issue of Popular Science boasted “Cream Replaces Silk Stockings,” a new cosmetic “boon to the outdoor girl,”.  In fact, the Smithsonian, showing us Leg Silque Liquid Stockings by the Langlors Company, says that such leg makeup had been available since the 1920s — but “it wasn’t until rationing was introduced during the World War II that the product became an essential commodity for many American women.”


“Legs Made Sexy – How To Wear Stockings”

“Johnny, I mean, if the sound of a woman’s nylon stockings swishing together, swish… swish, makes a sound that drives men crazy… why hide it? All a woman has to do is rub her thighs together to produce an exquisite friction.” (Helen Gurley Brown talking to Johnny Carson)

To properly wear stockings, you need a garter belt, or suspender as they are called in Europe. Good garter belts are comfortable and don’t cost much more than the little lacy ones that are not practical for long wear. Worn on top of the hip, garter belts are usually 4 to 6 inches in length; measured from top to bottom (this measurement does not include the straps). The 8-inch garter belt has recently become popular. Wider garter belts, called full or girdlette (10 to 12 inches), can offer support for the waistline. Girdles, corsets and waist cinchers are other articles of lingerie that can have straps for stockings. You can easily incorporate stockings with different lingerie.

The straps from the garter belt attach to the stocking by clasps. The more straps, the better. The more straps used, the smoother the stocking will look and on that rare occasion a clasp breaks, there would be no sag in your stocking. Metal clasps are better than plastic ones. Be sure the straps are adjustable so you can custom fit the amount of tension on the stocking. Most stockings have a top area that is thicker than the stocking itself. This is called the Welt and the clasps are attached to the welt. Don’t substitute thigh highs for stockings because the thick rubber can bend the clasps. Stretch stocking wearers can use a four-strap garter belt but non-stretch stockings work better with at least six straps.

A good starting point for strap adjustment is to make the back straps 2 inches longer than the front straps and 1 inch longer than the side straps. Some garter belts are cut / shaped longer in the back than in the front to help in this area because when you sit down there is a farther distance to go on your back side to reach the stocking. When standing, there should be a slight pull on the stockings but the word here is slight (over pull will either damage the stocking or cause the garter belt to slide down). If you are wearing stretch stockings, you can keep the straps tighter, letting the stocking do some of the give.

The first few times you wear stockings, wear them around the house for a while before you leave to be sure you have everything adjusted properly. If you are wearing a short skirt, be sure to sit down and see if the stockings are long enough.

The most important rule is: don’t look at the pictures. If you wear panties, put them on LAST. Think about going to the bathroom. If you have your stockings and garter belt over your panties, then you have to remove everything to go to the bathroom.

Rules for stockings are the same as for pantyhose: No jagged finger nails and toe nails. Remove rings if they are not smooth. Hands should be smooth or wear hosiery gloves. Roll the stocking down into an O-shape, place your thumbs inside, and then start unrolling it over the foot and up the leg (pointing toes, foot forward helps). Hand wash them by gently swishing and squeezing the stockings (don’t rub or twist) in lukewarm water using a product like Woolite (another great product is Hosiery Mate, and you don’t need to rinse). Rinse in clean water, gently squeezing. Then lay it out flat on a towel to dry (room temperature, away from direct heat). You can also use a drying tree.

To keep your stockings from twisting, attach the straps straight down from the garter belt and attach the back straps first. This helps to keep the stocking straight (even ones without a seam). If you are wearing seamed stockings, place the back strap in line with the seam (seamed stockings are best worn with 6 or more straps which will keep the seam straight). Try sitting down, which makes it easier to attach the back straps. Another trick is not to pull the garter belt all the way up until you have attached the straps to the stockings. Better yet, have a “friend,”spouse/partner attach the back strap for you. If you are wearing Full Fashion stockings, do not put the clasp in the finishing hole (this is a weak area of the stocking).

Most Internet sites that sell stockings give very good information about their stockings and sizing but you may have to try different brands/styles to get the perfect fit. So don’t buy six pairs because you get a price break until you know they fit properly. Also, if you go to any quality vintage store, most of the sales people are very knowledgeable and can offer you some great advice on how to properly select your stocking size.

Oak Tree Vintage hopes you enjoyed the second in a series of many posts to come on “Legs Made Sexy.”  Be sure you visit our online store at http://www.TheOakTreeVintage.com and doll up with some of our products.

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