By CYN LoPINTO
Nylon stockings first appeared in New York in the early 1940s and became popular with American women because of improved durability and less shrinkage than silk hose. It was socially unacceptable for a woman to show bare legs during this time and the industry was growing fast. Then the U.S. entered World War II. Since nylon is produced using chemicals that were important to the war effort, American factories producing nylons now had to use these materials to help out. This shortage of nylons forced women to save the few pairs they had for special occasions and many applied makeup to bare legs for effect. Some even drew lines with an eyebrow pencil down the back of their calves to mimic the look of seam stockings.
While individual-style stockings today are still available, most women that want to wear hosiery buy pantyhose. These are much more practical since garters are not needed and easily slip right on. But most women, and especially younger women, don’t wear any type of stockings at all. They just go bare legged. It is no longer a social crime to wear dresses or skirts without hose and you see this both around town and in the corporate world. The natural leg is now fashionable.