Keeping Warm in the 1930’s- Socks and Stockings

I’m so glad that so many of you loved the theme of “keeping warm” for upcoming posts!  I admit there was a lot more response on the last post than I expected.  I guess there’s lots of us who like keeping warm and toasty!

Next up, since we’re on the subject of what goes on underneath, we’ve got stockings.

Most people think of stockings of the 1930s and 1940s in terms of the “cuban heeled” or “fully fashioned” stockings that were sheer and made of rayon, nylon, or silk.  Some even think of fishnet stockings, which were less common than we might think but certainly were still around.  And when we get to the 1940s we think of leg paint to help out with looking like there were stockings when in reality they were mostly given up for the war effort!

For everyday wear, around the house, or for cool weather there were, thankfully, more options than those sheer stockings we usually think of.  Here’s two pages of legwear options from Fall & Winter 1937-1938 with images of legwear to keep you warm.

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

The socks (or anklets) at upper left were advertised to be worn in addition to your hoisery.  Ladies wore these not only with flats and “saddle shoes”, but they were often worn with heels!  It was a cute, sporty look, and it kept your feet warm.  It wasn’t as common to wear with heels as it was to wear stockings alone, but you do see it in catalog images for footwear and in real life photos.

“Remember- Wool is Warmer”- the ad on the right reminds us.  You could select your stockings by wool content.  The ultimate luxury were 100% wool or a wool/silk blend.

Below this ad, we’ve got invisible “under hose”.  These would be an extra layer underneath your sheerer stockings, and apparently, the idea was to have these under hose look like it was actually your skin but it provided an extra layer of warmth.

And below that we’ve got stocking lined in fleece!  Don’t those sound cosy?

National Bellas Hess- Fall and Winter 1937-1938

On the page above we’ve got cotton stockings in various styles.  These would keep your warmer than sheer rayon or silk and would would be more sturdy for everyday wear.

And on the left we’ve got the “outsize” stockings, which were made for “stout” women.  You can see the standard range that most stockings, in regular or outsizes, were available in.

I usually skip over the stocking pages in old catalogs, but I found these cool weather options rather enlightening!  Are they what you would expect?  What sort of legwear do you wear to keep warm in cool weather?

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8 thoughts on “Keeping Warm in the 1930’s- Socks and Stockings”

  1. Lovely pictures. Since I live in Sweden cold weather is no news to me ;) Usually I wear wool tights, my favourites are rather expensive (but worth every penny) merino wool tights from Wolford, but occasionally I wear wool stockings with suspender belt and then a pair of wool pantied that reach to mid thigh (on top of my cotton ones of course. A pure silk petticoat is also good and of course wool skirts. When it’s really cold I add wool legwarmers.

  2. The pair of woolen stockings it what I need right now :)
    In general, I don’t wear stockings at winter, because I prefer to keep my “lower parts” warm to prevent infections and that’s why I choose pantyhoses. They are less retro, but better for my health, I think. I’ve recently bought a pair of 200 den pantyhose – they are so cozy and warm :) And when it’s extre cold I wear two pairs of pantyhoses one upon another or – when the temperature is about -15 to -20 C – I wear leggings onto pantyhose.

  3. I so wish I could find fleece-lined stockings today! I almost wonder why a brand like What Katie Did doesn’t try and create something for those of us vintage gals who need to be warm? I -have- found fleece-lined black tights, and I resort to them in these coldest months when stockings just unfortunately won’t do, but I kind of hate having to wear them (or black tights period) sometimes. I love seeing examples of socks from the 30s and 40s and I love the idea of the under hose. If I had more patience I’d knit tan-colored thigh highs and attach them with garters! Except it sounds rather hideously boring to knit. lol

    1. I’m with you, Tasha.
      I think the reason companies don’t bother is because most people want “sexy” lingerie. I’d rather have practical, everyday stuff that’s pretty and functional, personally ;)

        1. What I like to do with tights (since I refuse to wear them, and would rather wear a garter belt) is cut the legs off at the “panty” bit, and hem down the tops with a stretch stitch.
          Voila, instant vintage stockings!

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