The History Of Nylon Stockings

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The Smithsonian delves into the history of nylon stockings in their recent “Stocking Series.”

Although these accessories may seem everyday and even out of fashion to us, the Smithsonian covers the mayhem surrounding the product’s introduction in the first installment of the series, a mayhem that only intensified as nylon was monopolized for army use during World War II:

“When the war was over and rations were eased, nylon stockings returned to stores and sold quickly. In 1945, ‘nylon riots’ ensued around the country when hundreds, and sometimes even thousands of women, queued up to try to snag a pair. The situation got out of hand in Pittsburgh when 40,000 people lined up for over a mile vying for 13,000 pairs.”

Part two of the series highlights the prominence of “paint on” nylons during the shortage.


Jack Taylor is a Rumpus Intern, gangly fellow, and Steal the Bacon enthusiast. More from this author →