Women sacrificed many things during World War II, including their nylon stockings! DuPont began producing the popular hosiery in 1939, and by the end of 1940, more than 64 million pairs of nylons had been sold. When war began in 1941, DuPont had to switch to making nylon parachutes and B-29 bomber tires instead.
The women of the time were resourceful. Some painted lines that looked like stocking seams down the backs of their legs. Others bought their nylons on the black market for as much as $20 a pair! The best way for the women to get their nylons, however, was through a boyfriend stationed overseas. Nylons were often sold to U.S. troops at their post exchanges and were a popular gift to be sent back home.
Nylon truly helped win the war. Not only was the material used to make many war essential products, but actress Betty Grable herself auctioned off her personal stockings in 1943 to help win the war!
“Look here,” he said, placing another page of the newspaper in her hands. “Betty Grable is auctioning off her stockings for the war effort. How much do you think we could get for your mother’s?”
Songbird, Chapter 40