My favorite series of ads for stockings came from the McCullum Company in 1927.
About stockings with bathing suits:
“In the water, or just out, silk hose have the smooth gloss of a wet seal.” Stockings were usually worn with bathing suits in the nineteen teens and early twenties.
However, in this photo from the late twenties, you can clearly see the marks left by my mother’s rolled stockings.
She took them off when she put on her bathing suit. That McCullum “opera length” ad from 1927 seems to be trying to revive a disappearing custom.
Back to more wonderful McCallum illustrations:
I do not know the illustrator — only that these eye-catching drawings are signed H on their left side and M on the right side.
The Onyx Hosiery company also used humor to sell stockings, but the illustrations in this series which referred to classical statues lacked the Art Deco dash of the McCallum ads.
Onyx Pointex stockings had a pointed heel which, their ads claimed, made ankles look slender.
Other stocking ads illustrated the product itself — with elegance, but not many laughs.
As skirts got shorter, stockings got sheerer and more elaborate.
Anther stocking company just used celebrity endorsements. The extraordinary dress in this ad is worn by Mary Astor, best known nowadays for her role in The Maltese Falcon. In the 1920’s, she made five or six films a year.
For me, none of those ads has the 1920’s zest of this one:
“Full-fashioned” means the stockings were shaped like a leg, instead of like a tube. Full-fashioned stockings cost more, but before stretch knit fabrics, stockings that were not full-fashioned tended to wrinkle at the ankles. Like McCallum stockings, the other silk stockings in these ads cost two dollars a pair, more or less, a luxury item for the twenties’ working woman.
Cotton lisle was longer wearing than silk, so it was often used at toes and heels and the band where the garter attached to the stocking. Less practical and more fragile, all-silk stockings cost more.