Hosiery History – 1940’s Fashion


The first nylon stockings appeared in New York stores on May 15, 1940 and over 780,000 pairs were sold in the first day alone.

In the first year, 64 million pairs were sold in the US, and nylons soon became the generic name for all hosiery products containing nylon.

However once the USA joined World War II all production of nylon went into the war effort and nylon stockings became very hard to obtain – during this time women painted seams on the back of their legs instead so it appeared as if they were wearing stockings.

At the time that nylon was invented only stockings existed. These traditional stockings were known as “Fully Fashioned” in that they were fashioned to the shape of the leg as nylon did not stretch. For this reason they came in a large number of sizes. These traditional stockings were knitted flat and then the two sides were joined manually by hand with a fine seam up the back.

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3 thoughts on “Hosiery History – 1940’s Fashion”

  1. It's kind of funny that nylons became rare because all women in the UK and Aus talk about the American GIs bringing them nylons because it was so easy for them to get them – maybe that was when the US just joined the war, though.
    Anyway, great post!
    -Andi x

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