Perhaps, it is difficult to find a second similar piece of clothing that would not only accompany a person for more than 8 centuries, but also constantly change its gender, like stockings. First appearing as a truly feminine item of clothing, later stockings became an attribute of a predominantly male wardrobe, and then again migrated to women's wardrobes, where they became a rare attribute of seductresses from an obligatory item. And it was nylon stockings that became a bomb, an incredible commercial success and a symbol of the new time. This glory was not repeated by either lycra products, or tights, or their more modern counterparts.
History of Appearance
Stockings were known in ancient Greece, and only women wore them. They rather resembled thin knitted socks for the entire length of the leg. Also, the similarity of knitted stockings was found in ancient Coptic tombs, in burials dated to the 5th century BC. However, in the future, mankind lost the art of such fine knitting, and stockings were sewn from thin linen or leather. Again, knitted stockings appeared in a person's wardrobe only in the 16th century in Spain. Warriors during the Reconquistawithout fail, they knew how to repair their stockings, since they were an essential item in an equestrian campaign. However, such skill was rare. So, King Louis VIII was even presented with a gift of knitted stockings from the Spanish king.
The French king and his courtiers at that time wore analogues made of silk and velvet. They were considered an indispensable element of a man's costume, since, firstly, they hid the imperfect hairiness of men's legs, and secondly, they hid the lining on the calves (the calves of the man had to be developed, and the absence of pronounced calf muscles made the man effeminate). From thin elastic snow-white stockings, knitted from silk thread, the French king was delighted. In 1589, an English priest invented a knitting machine, which began to knit thin stockings.
Contrary to popular belief, stockings were not only men's clothing, women also wore them. The difference was that for men it was precisely the clothes on display. For women, it was more like underwear, which was embarrassing to show, and they hid legs in stockings under layered skirts. In the 16th century, Elizabeth "took away" stockings from men, and they became only women's, but they were still hidden from the eyes of strangers. But the women of that era began to realize how much a man can give for one look at the leg, covered with a stocking, flashed between the skirts when the lady gets out of the carriage. Therefore, stockings are decorated with embroidery, precious stones and ribbons.
In the 18th century, the Marquise de Pompadour introduced a new fashion fora shortened dress that opened the ankle, and here the stockings became the very piquant detail of the costume that incredibly attracted men. In the 19th century, with the era of general emancipation and the advent of cabaret, bright stockings of various colors came into fashion. And already at the beginning of the 20th century, more practical shades were in fashion - flesh, peach. The tan trend led to the popularity of brown stockings.
The advent of nylon stockings
October 24, 1939 made history thanks to the American chemical company DuPont. Chemist Wallace Carothers, who worked in the company's research laboratory, first synthesized this polymer. It was called nylon, and it is not entirely known why, but there are several versions:
- This is a derivative of the names of the cities of New York and London.
- This is an abbreviation of the name of the New York laboratory.
- This is a word coined by DuPont, taken from the arbitrary beginning and ending -lon, which is often used in the names of other synthetic fibers.
Whatever the name, nylon made a splash, and DuPont launched a small batch of stockings made from an innovative material. It was in this in a small department store in the city of Wilmington. The excitement was unthinkable, even though the price of the novelty was very high - nylon stockings cost twice as much as silk ones! This batch sold out in a matter of days, happy customers even pulled on a freshly bought pair right on the street.
Six months later, a new batch arrived in other cities. Where they were sold, women traveled from neighboring settlements. In early 1940, 5 million pairs were sold in New York in just 1 day. Women lined up in long lines for the novelty.
The manufacturer fueled the hype with an advertisement stating that nylon is as thin as cobwebs. and as strong as steel. The photo of nylon stockings on the advertisement literally screamed that this is a basic necessity for modern ladies. Of course, women, after decades of struggling with tight, uncomfortable knitted stockings, wanted this lightness and strength. Here's another DuPont slogan: "Choosing silk stockings over nylons is like choosing a horse over a car."
World War II and stockings
However, the joy of the ladies from owning such thin and elastic stockings was short-lived. Shortly after their appearance on the shelves, the Second World War began and nylon was recognized as a strategic material for the American army. All its production was used for military purposes, machines for the production of stockings were reformatted into the production of ropes and parachutes. Across the country, they even organized collection points for torn pairs, which were recycled.
American girls in nylon stockings, accustomed to comfort, did not want to show each other that they had lost this important item, and imitated stockings on their legs by drawing seams directly on the skin and covering their legs with a brown spray.
10years of post-war triumph of nylon stockings
As the end of the war approached, in 1944, nylon was no longer needed by the US defense industry in the same volume, and stockings began to be produced again. Then they were brought to Europe.
Nylon stockings lost popularity to new technologies only in 1959, when the same concern DuPont received lycra - synthetic polyurethane threads, even more elastic and durable than nylon. And most importantly, they did not slip off the leg thanks to the elastic band, now there was no need to wear a special belt. And soon they begin mass production of tights, which were so comfortable in everyday wear that stockings are slowly but surely becoming more of a luxury than a necessity. This is facilitated by the fashion for miniskirts, which is rapidly capturing the world. And you can’t wear stockings with a radical mini stockings, only tights will help here.
Nylon stockings in the USSR
In the Soviet Union, with everything that in Europe and America has long made a woman's life more comfortable, it has always been bad. This also applies to personal hygiene items, and cosmetics, and underwear, and stockings. In the USSR, of course, they were, but in a severe shortage, and women in nylon stockings seemed unattainably beautiful.
Copies of domestic production were not distinguished by special beauty and femininity. Therefore, they hunted for those brought from the GDR or Czechoslovakia. But only very we althy women, or rather, wives, could buy them.diplomats or party elite. What tricks did Soviet women not go to in order to prolong the life of their "caprons"! Rabotnitsa magazine gave rather extreme advice for this, answering questions about whether it is possible to iron nylon stockings, store stockings in the refrigerator, darn with your hair, which is less visible than threads. The completely worn ones were used in the household - a hand simply did not raise a hand to throw out a pair of precious, even tattered nylon stockings.
Seam on stockings as an element of seduction
Modern stockings can be anything, including those with a back seam. This seam, like a clear vertical, makes the legs of the woman wearing them almost endless, especially when combined with high heels.
Originally seamed nylon stockings were the first models produced. Such was the peculiarity of the first machines for their manufacture: they sewed the finished nylon fabric. Later, one-piece stockings appeared, but decades later, the seam returned to fashionistas.
True, it soon became an attribute of a rather vulgar image, few decent women in the early 2000s would dare to wear retro nylon stockings. But everything is changing, and today the seamed stockings have lost their frivolous color and have become associated only with retro style. And although you can’t wear seamed stockings to the office today, they are quite appropriate for an evening look.