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Don't Get Hosed!

Among the hardships of wartime is the scarcity of consumer goods.  Members of the "greatest generation" remember the rationing of everything from sugar to shoes -- and, of course, the near-complete unavailability of nylon stockings. 

Today, the fashion flock has decreed bare legs preferable to flesh-toned pantyhose, even in the dead of winter (formal office standards notwithstanding), but the WWII era still valued top-to-toe polish.  Some young women resorted to drawing seams up the back of their bare legs with eyeliner; others searched for stockings on the black market.  As with any illicit trade, however, scams abounded.

This 1940s ad from the New Yorker offered a vision of sheer elegance...

...while the February 1945 Reader's Digest warned against "shifty-eyed, furtive nylon bootleggers" who were likely to be selling either poor-quality stolen goods or rayon masquerading as nylon.  The article concluded on a patriotic note:

After the war there will be nylon hosiery, finer, sheerer, stronger, more beautiful than ever before. Designs for the machines to make it are past the blueprint stage. But until the war is over, the Army and Navy need every pound of nylon. There won't be any for stockings except what is stolen. And there won't be much stolen. So, ladies -- don't be suckers. 

Excellent advice for any age.

Thanks to OrangeCats for posting both the vintage ad and the entire article on Flickr -- and a wonderful Memorial Day weekend to all!