Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Found: Paint-on Stockings ca. 1940s

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | December 02, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: nylon shortage, stockings, women, World War II

Found some lovely gems from the 1940s when the nylon shortage made women find creative solutions. Some just drew on seams; others went for full leg-painting plus seams. More after the jump.



Also, an excerpt from an interview with a woman who was there..

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.

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I actually remember my mother telling me about doing this during the war. She and her best friend Rita used to draw on each others "seams".

However I'm also old enough to remember when all women's stockings had seams and having my mother ask if her seams were straight before she left the house.

My mom used to talk about drawing the stocking seams on during the war as well. And her name is Rita........

I worked on the movie, "New York New York" in 1977. I do factual and historical research that goes into the making of movies. There was a scene where Francine Evans (Liza Minnelli)gets her seams painted. Since the movie started in 1945 with the war over it was a quick anachronism and had to be cut from the film even though many women probably still did it in the years following the war. But because she was a rising musical star in the film it is unlikely she would have to do that.

The lengths people will go to for nylon...