The Home Front
13 of 16

Nebraskans Tighten their Belts:
No More Silk Stockings

giving stockings up for powder bags
"Discarded stockings go to war." 1942 U.S. government photo.
Courtesy Library of Congress, 8b09547

One of the most unusual items affected by the war was women’s stockings. With an embargo on Japanese silk, nylon was promptly drafted to make parachutes — and each chute required the equivalent of 36 pairs of stockings. The fashion and technology of women’s hosiery at the time was to show a dark seam up the back of the leg. With no stockings to be had, some enterprising young women applied leg makeup in place of nylons, using an eyebrow pencil to draw the seam up the back.

By August, 1945, people were looking ahead to the end of the war, and the Sunday Lincoln Journal and Star, reported on the post-war aspirations of some of their readers.

"Nylons, nylons and more nylons — I want to wear ’em and sell ‘em’ " was the post-war dream of Mrs. Alice Thomson of 412 South 27th Street, who works in a downtown ladies’ hosiery department. "I’ve seen and worn about all the sagging rayon hose I can take in one lifetime. I can’t think of anything more pleasant than a whole drawer full of nylons and I’ll bet that every woman in Lincoln wants a whole dresser full," she concluded.

Other Nebraskans were worried about how to protect their feet, let alone their legs.

"You got ration points or coupons for a pair of shoes . . . You could get one pair of shoes, and I had to decide whether to get ordinary shoes like oxfords or saddle shoes or something like that or to get these snow boots, because you didn’t know if you would be able to get overshoes. I took the snow boots, but every once in a while I’d say, ‘I wish I’d taken those other shoes.’ Cold days they were fine, but on warmer days they weren’t so great."
     — Rose Marie Murphy Christensen
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