>After a day of tech woes, I get to bring you what I wanted to bring you yesterday! While leafing through this catalog from Winter of 1939-1940 I was really struck by the vast array of novelty hosiery!
Click on the image for a hi res version
“Shorter Dresses Call for Glamorous Hosiery”, and they really mean it, too.
The late 30s were really interesting in terms of fashion inspiration. In terms of some trends for this example, on one hand you’ve got Vogue and the posh high fashion magazines trumpeting the return of the “Victorian” with bustle dresses and little bonnet like perch hats, and full skirts, puffed sleeves, waist cinchers, etc. You’ve also got mainstream American popular culture that’s caught onto the swing craze so you see in younger everyday America shorter and fuller skirts for more “swish and sway” on the dance floor. And then there’s somewhere in the middle that mashed the two together, and I think these little stockings are probably a result of that! You’ve got almost Victorian hosiery with clocked backs and stripes and patterns that you would think of more likely on a Gay Nineties miss than on the gams of a late thirties pigeon.
I personally would never have thought these styles were popular in these years! I think the big misconception we’ve got is that vintage stockings were prim and proper and fully fashioned with seams up the backs and the only versions there were were the pointed back, Cuban heel, or squared off heel in silk, rayon, or cotton, and in varying shades of nude. I knew that fishnet and mesh were popular, but look at the huge scale of fishnet on the one on the far right of the image above! It reminds me of the craze for large fishnets in the early 2000’s. But these might be even MORE wild as it says they were available in black with pink top, tan with black top, or wine with black top.
And just look at the gorgeous tops of the stockings! I especially love the top of the stockings with the large chevrons.
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