National Nylon Stocking Day

Break out the hosiery and grab your garter belt! It is National Nylon Stocking Day on May 15. It’s the day we celebrate the invention of nylon stockings, that much is obvious. Today, mostly we wear panty hose, but what did women do before nylon was invented?
Many may not remember ever hearing the term “nylon stockings”. Varying in color, design and transparency, nylon stockings (also known as hosiery) are close-fitting, knitted garments worn the same as socks. Some knitted socks are plain, but some are very interesting like these ones. Knitting socks can be fun, but can you imagine having to knit stockings?
 socks on the line 2
Back to stocking! Stockings are longer than socks, ending well above the knee on the thigh and held up by means of a garter belt. Today, they have stay up stockings that grip the thigh, but back in the day, a garter belt was an essential piece of your wardrobe.
garter belt black
A bit of stocking history – Prior to the 1920’s, stockings were made of woven cloth such as cotton, linen, wool or silk and were worn for warmth. As hemlines of women’s dresses rose in the 1920’s, women began to wear stockings over their exposed legs. These “new” stockings were sheer with a seam in the back. Shame on any woman whose seams weren’t perfectly straight!
 stockings with seam2
During World War 2, we needed the nylon for parachutes, so women at that time painted their bare legs with eyeliner to make it appear as though they were wearing stockings! An enterprising young man could almost ensure a young lady’s affections if he presented her with a gift of stockings. Even though it was highly improper, the gifts were almost always accepted – you didn’t want to appear ungrateful for the effort it took to get them.
 painting the seam on nylons2
In the next post, I will share with you how to draft a garter belt to your own body measurements, so you can celebrate Nylon Stocking Day in vintage style!
11 replies
  1. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    On May 15, 2021 I celebrated National Stocking Day by wearing pantyhose for the whole day. Mainly because I didn’t have any stockings and because I though pantyhose are stockings with the pantie built in. I had a great time wearing pantyhose the whole day and can’t wait for May 15, 2022. I hope to have stockings by then.

  2. Beverly Johnson
    Beverly Johnson says:

    Dayglow orange Fishnet stockings…I had forgotten them. My cousin and I were Soooo cool wearing those with our mini skirts. lol
    My motto is…if you wore a mini skirt in the 60s, you shouldn't be wearing them now!

  3. Kristis TeaRoom
    Kristis TeaRoom says:

    HA I remember wearing bright orange Fishnet stockings to school. I thought it was so grand. And yes- I actually got sent home for wearing pants to school one day. Man we have been alive a long time. Here's to longevity girl. Wha's like us?!

  4. Beverly Johnson
    Beverly Johnson says:

    I am 5 years older than you and I had to wear garter belts (there was no other option) when I graduated from junior school (grade 8) I felt so grown up! That's the only time I was allowed to wear stockings! then in high school, I wore them once again when I got to the "city school" for grade 11 onward. We weren't allowed to wear pants to school (you were sent home if you did) so garters were an everyday thing for me. Once I get into university, along came panty hose. But I still love the idea of stockings (yes, with the seam up the back!) and garters!

    • tracy
      tracy says:

      Whoever invented pantyhose … curses! Must have been a man. Stockings are so much more comfortable and customizable as far as a person’s shape and size. I’ve had a pattern for a 1920’s style ‘garter dress/corset’ that, of course, I’ll make in the most wonderful rayon. Hasn’t happened yet, but when I do and need supplies, … I know where I’m coming! 🙂

  5. Beverly Johnson
    Beverly Johnson says:

    I know – it's so great being able to make all the things we see in the high end shops! And I agree, elastic has come a loooooong way! Now we have latex-free elastics. I remember the old elastic and when it dies, it stretched out and never came back!

  6. Kristis TeaRoom
    Kristis TeaRoom says:

    I'll be 58 this year. I remember when I was in my late 20s I decided to go back to wearing stockings and garter belts because I remember having felt so elegant in them as a young girl. I searched PLENTY and was told frequently that if I wanted such garments I must go to a "naughty" store hahahaha my Gosh! I blushed- but I went and guess what- they were still elegant and romantic and sexy and by gosh I put them to good use. sigh

  7. Darlene O'Donnell
    Darlene O'Donnell says:

    I love the new garter belts! beautiful new fabrics and gorgeous colours. the belts for pads were so awful – they rolled and rolled – everyone could see them. Thank goodness elastic has come a LONG way!!! and no one needs to use them for pads, ever again! And now we make our own bras, panties, corsets, garter belts – the works – all gorgeous!

  8. Donna DeCourcy
    Donna DeCourcy says:

    I am enjoying all your informative posts, Beverly! I also like the format for finding all the pages. Oh, dear–I do remember those utilitarian garter belts used to hold up stockings under my elementary school tunic.


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