Fashion and shopping, Melbourne style

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Thursday
Apr202017

Stocking Stuff

Recently I found a stack of 1960s vintage stockings in a thrift store, which was a fun and thrilling find that had more to do with the packaging than the actual contents. This is partly because I am a graphic designer, and mostly because I can’t be bothered with donning garters on a regular basis, especially as I am always dressing in a hurry. In my early 20s I often did wear stockings, and cursed when I had failed to button garters properly. There is nothing like the horror and mortification of a stocking coming down at the most inopportune moment due to failed garters!

Vintage Stockings

There is a set of three pairs of nylon stockings by Bouquet, in a beige skin tone, size 8½; one packet had already been opened and the contents examined – whether by the original owner or someone else I don’t know, but they haven’t been worn.

The wonderful second package – illustrated with a poodle! – contains Kolotex Clings stockings, in the colour ‘Flame’, size 8½–9. If the poodle on the box is not enough to delight you, the interior packaging is priceless. It includes instructions for how to put pantyhose on (I would add to them: file your nails, or else wear cotton gloves when pulling on fine hosiery), and also a promotional pamphlet disguised as a fashion quiz, the cover design of which is in an early psychedelic style. This pamphlet is full of everything you wanted to know about Trikolon, a 2-way nylon: ‘so fine a spider couldn’t spin it’.

While Kolotex was already producing full pantyhose at this point, the owner of these clearly had not yet made the shift – or perhaps they had in fact, which is why the contents of these packages remained unworn relics.

Click for larger version

A Bit of History

Nylon was introduced in 1939 by chemical company DuPont, but WWII interrupted the manufacture of stockings, leading to global shortages and a black market that did not abate until the end of the war. Even after production was reinstated, DuPont could not keep up with the immediate demand, and that lead to nylon riots in America!

Pantyhose were introduced in 1959 and quickly became popular, eventually superseding stockings in sales, especially with the Sixties craze for minidresses. It was not until 1987 that sales declined – though only a little – with the newly invented stay-up stockings. These are my favourite: there is no bother of pulling them up and down whenever one goes to the bathroom, and there is no tiresome fiddling with garters.

The copy in the Kolotex fashion quiz is quite entertaining; click through to the gallery to see all twelve pages.

Photos: March 2017

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