Nylon and Rayon Stockings

With war, came a “higher” need for nylon and rayon — making the materials for pantyhose scarce. As supplies began to dwindle, rations began to go unfilled, and many young women took to going bare-legged in the summer months. Climates, such as Australia (one layer, or subtropical, according to Siple’s clothing zones) allowed for sun-tanning to improve the color of white legs. Climates such as Britain, a three layer climate zone, had limited possibility for suntanning. The result?     ~Dying/painting legs took place. With walnut juice, tea, iodine, brown shoe polish.
~Some women used eyeliner to draw lines up the backs of their legs to resemble stocking seams.
Soon commercial leg paints appeared on the market — adding to the variety of body modifications that women used to change the color of their legs.


[The Skinny]
Cultural Context
Who? Women from adolescent age on would wear nylons, as the shortages became problematic, adolescent to young women would go barelegged during summer months.
What? Pantyhose were made out of nylon or rayon, with a seam up the back of the leg.
OR dyed/painted legs, often with a line drawn up the back to add to the effect.
Where? Shortages of nylon and rayon affected every country in anyway connected to the war. The more connected, the shorter the supply.
When? As early as 1940, 1941 rationing of pantyhose in Europe became so extreme that drastic action was taken by women — dying their legs instead. America was right behind them in timing, with companies creating products for consumers in Europe… and then American companies doing the same.

Pantyhose, made out of nylon or rayon, is a body supplementation. It’s an ectomorphic somatotype (according to sheldon’s somatotypes.) It’s a tight fitting garment, meant to change the color of ones’ legs and add an element of elegance through a change in the texture. They have a seam up the back of the legs.
The replacement for pantyhose, paints and stains, were a body modification. They literally changed the color of the skin for a period of time.


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