Tag Archives: Colored Stockings 1920s twenties

The Twenties in Color

Ad for Kellogg's Pep Cereal, Delineator, April

Ad for Kellogg’s Pep Cereal, Delineator, April 1927.

As much as I love watching old black and white movies, I’ve always enjoyed reading vintage magazines because of their colorful advertisements.

From an ad for Mazola corn oil, Delineator, June 1927.

Colorful evening dress from an ad for Mazola corn oil, Delineator, June 1927.

It’s hard not to think of the 1920’s and 1930’s as “black and white,” because they were usually photographed in black and white, but the people who lived then did not see their world that way.

A colorful world in an ad for Durkee's salad dressing. Delineator, JUne 1928.

A colorful world in an ad for Durkee’s salad dressing. Delineator, June 1928.

I first embarked on my exploration of vintage Delineator magazines when I discovered over 400 bound copies in storage at my public library. Since I am really interested in everyday fashions, I would have preferred a stack of old McCall’s Magazines, but so many old fashion magazines have been converted to black and white microfilm that I’m happy to have found any bound periodicals in color.

"How do you like your coffee?" A family eating breakfast, Delineator, May 1927. Advertisement for Borden's condensed milk.

“How do you like your coffee?” A family eating breakfast, Delineator, May 1927. Advertisement for Borden’s condensed milk.

Back in 1980, I found a bound volume of Delineator, January to June of 1925, at a library book sale. It had formerly been in the research library at Columbia Studios. I intended to sell it a few years ago, but when I really examined it I was amazed by the number of full color fashion illustrations, so I kept it. As it turns out, 1925 and 1926 were the last years when Delineator printed so many pages in full color.

This amazing shawl is not a fashion illustration, but a soap advertisement from 1927:

This "Aztec" pattern hand painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

This “Aztec” pattern painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

As times got harder, The Delineator cut its cover price, decreased its size from large format to the size of a modern magazine, and eliminated color except for full page advertisements like these. By 1933, even ads were scarce, and the magazine was mostly black and white.

But, if you were alive in the nineteen twenties, this was the world you saw.

Woman golfer in an ad for Bromoquinine laxative. Delineator, April 1928.

Woman golfer in an ad for Bromoquinine laxative. Delineator, April 1928.

Casual clothing in an ad for Camel Cigarettes. Delineator, September 1928.

Casual clothing in an ad for Camel Cigarettes. Delineator, September 1928.

This woman washes her fine fabrics in Ivory Soap Flakes, Ad from Delineator, May 1927.

This woman washes her fine fabrics in Ivory Soap Flakes. Ad from Delineator, May 1927.

Ivory Flakes were also recommended for woolens:

Wash your woolen clothing in Ivory Flakes.... An ad from Delineator, October 1928.

Wash your wool clothing in Ivory Flakes…. An ad from Delineator, October 1928. Notice her stockings, which match her suit.

The text at the left tells the story of Biltmore Industries of North Carolina, preserving the craft of hand weaving; “In order to protect the sensitive woolen fibre, we allow no cleaning substance other than Ivory to touch it.”

From an ad for Puffed Wheat cereal, August 1928.

From an ad for Puffed Wheat cereal, August 1928.

That red and blue outfit would look much more sedate in black and white:

The same puffed wheat ad in grayscale.

The same puffed wheat ad converted to  grayscale. 1928 ad.

Even ads for household appliances can be illuminating:

A cheery interior in an ad for Johnson's Paste Wax. March, 1928.

A cheerful and expensive interior in an ad for Johnson’s Paste Wax. March, 1928.

Lavish interiors in silent movies always look dark and heavy — but they were not really black and white.

This woman may have gotten a little too colorful — but it’s an ad for Valspar paint, with “before” and “after” images:

Kitchen colors in an ad for Valspar paint. October, 1928.

“She thought she had a model kitchen, but ….” Kitchen colors in an ad for Valspar paint. October, 1928.

An up-to-date kitchen, October 1928 ad for Valspar paint. Delineator.

An up-to-date kitchen, October 1928 ad for Valspar paint. Delineator. Note the pink sink.

A white kitchen transformed. Valspar paint ad, October 1928.

A white kitchen “modernized” with color. Valspar paint ad, October 1928.

Although the sink appears white in the second illustration, pink sinks were available. This bold yellow and black dress — from an ad for window shades — would be drained of its power in a 1920’s photograph:

"Restful Rooms" thanks to window shades, in an ad from March, 1928. Delineator.

“Restful Rooms” thanks to window shades, in an ad from March, 1928. Delineator.

A lovely rose colored dress in an ad for Feen-a-Mint laxative. March 1927.

A lovely rose-colored dress in an ad for Feen-a-Mint laxative. March 1927.

"Grandmother is still dancing," thanks to Feen-a-Mint. Detail of ad from Delineator, May 1927.

“Grandmother is still dancing,” thanks to Feen-a-Mint. Detail of ad from Delineator, May 1927. Grandmother is wearing a flattering, not-black (!) gown.

Grandmother's secret: Feen-a-Mint. Ad, May 1927.

Grandmother’s secret: Feen-a-Mint. Ad, May 1927.

Digression: There was a time in the 1980’s when directors of Shakespeare’s comedies thought it amusing to costume them completely in black and white and gray to evoke old movies. These black and white “silent movie”/”Fred and Ginger” productions quickly became so commonplace that they signaled “desperate director.” After sitting through one-too-many of these productions, I was delighted to discover that the first English play to be costumed entirely in black and white was A Game at Chess, by Thomas Middleton. It played at The Globe theatre in London in 1625 — long before black and white movie film was invented. It was quite a novel idea.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Menswear, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories

Some Stockings from the Twenties

Stockings from Sears, Spring 1925 catalog.

Silk Stockings from Sears, Spring 1925 catalog. “Medium gray, Blush, French tan, Airedale, Black, Champagne, Dark brown, and White.” [Airedale?]

I had been thinking about stocking styles and stocking colors when I found this photo in an antique store:

Three women, dated January 3, 1928. Vintage photo.

Three women, dated January 3, 1928. Vintage photo.

The writing on the back of the photo is European, but I can't tell if it says 3 Janvier 1928 (French) or Januar 1928 (German.)

The writing on the back of the photo is European; I think it says 3 Janvier 1928. [Lynn suggests it says “Januar” in German. Thanks! Ed. 6/7/15.]

The two girls in matching sweaters have elegant legs, but the one on the left is wearing matte finish stockings with rather shiny (metallic?) shoes, while the stockings of the girl on the right have the sheen of silk — but not sheer silk.

Silk stockings were sold in sheer (“Chiffon weight,”) “service weight,” “Mid-weight,” and in many blends of silk, rayon, cotton,  and wool. Often the part of the stocking hidden by shoes was a sturdier material, like cotton, which could be mended.

Silk and rayon stockings with cotton garter tops, heels, and toes. Sears catalog, Spring 1927.

Silk and rayon stockings (“Practical for hard wear”) with cotton garter tops, heels, and toes. Sears catalog, Spring 1927.

Sometimes the top of the stocking would be a different (or cheaper) fabric, since runs caused by the pull of suspenders (clasp garters) on the stocking top were common.

I was happy to be a young woman in the 1960s, because I loved the body-skimming dress styles. But I was never happy about having to expose my far-from-Twiggy-like legs. Opaque tights in many colors were a boon to women like me.

Photo by Pat Faure from Elegance, fall/winter 1965 -66.

Photo by Pat Faure from Elegance, fall/winter 1965 -66.

Textured hose were also popular in the sixties, and reappeared in the 1980s. But vividly colored hosiery — and textured hose — were also worn in the 1920’s.

Colored Stockings, 1920’s

I’ve written about nineteen twenties’ stocking colors before, (click here) but here are a few of the more vivid examples from advertisements:

Arch Preserver Shoe ad. Delineator, June 1929.

Arch Preserver Shoe ad. Delineator, June 1929.

Holeproof silk stocking ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, October, 1925. Delineator.

Holeproof silk stocking ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, October, 1925. Delineator.

Realsilk Hosiery ad, Delineator, October, 1929.

Realsilk Hosiery ad, Delineator, October, 1929.

The opacity of some real silk stockings is shown in this ad for Holeproof Hosiery:

Holeproof hosiery ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, May, 1925. Delineator.

Holeproof hosiery ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, May, 1925. Delineator.

These don’t look very different from the pale stockings in my 1928 found photo . . .

3 women stockings jan 3 1928 photo

. . . or in this stocking ad from 1928.

Movie actress Claire Windsor appeared in this ad for Allen A Hosiery, Delineator, Dec. 1928.

Movie actress Claire Windsor appeared in this ad for Allen-A Hosiery; Delineator, Dec. 1928. Hosiery the same color as your shoes makes your legs look longer — but the ad does not explain why Allen-A hose are superior to other brands.

Butterick pattern illustrations also show women wearing colored stockings.

Butterick pattern illustrations, Delineator, Sept. 1926. The young woman in the blue dress wears stockings to match the lining of her party dress.

Butterick pattern illustrations, Delineator, Sept. 1926. The young woman in the blue dress wears stockings to match the lining of her party dress.

Illustrator Marie L. Britton showed these day dresses worn with stockings toned to match. Delineator, 1926.

Illustrator Marie L. Britton showed these day dresses worn with stockings toned to match. Delineator, 1926.

Textured Stockings, 1920’s

Textured hose were worn with sportier outfits, and textured wool blend stockings were good for winter.

Textured hose from an article about rainwear; Delineator, April, 1929.

Textured hose from an article about rainwear; Delineator, April, 1929.

Ribbed half-wool stockings, Sears catalog for Fall 1928.

Ribbed half-wool stockings; Sears catalog for Fall 1928.

Embroidered stockings had been around for centuries, but the look of embroidery — actually, a pattern woven into the stocking —  was also available in the 1920’s. This advertisement shows a stocking with a “clock” and suggests it, in white, for a wedding:

Kayser Hosiery ad, top. Delineator, Nov. 1924.

Kayser Hosiery ad, top. Delineator, Nov. 1924.

Kayser hosiery ad, bottom. Clocked stockings for the bride; Delineator, Nov. 1924.stod

Kayser hosiery ad, bottom. Clocked stockings for the bride; Delineator, Nov. 1924.

Sears called them “lace effect” stockings.

Clocked stockings, right, from Sears catalog Spring, 1925.

Clocked stockings, right, from Sears catalog Spring, 1925.

“Slenderizing” Heels on Stockings, 1920’s

The Kayser ad said its “Slipper heel — slenderizes ankles.” With rising hemlines,  legs and ankles became more exposed.

Ankle Reducer Ad, Delineator, November, 1924.

Lenor Ankle Reducer Ad, Delineator, November, 1924.

“Slip on when you go to bed and note amazing results next morning. Reduces and shapes ankle and lower calf. Slips on like a glove. . . . Enables you to wear low shoes becomingly. Worn under stockings without detection. Used by prominent actresses.”

Other manufacturers stressed that the shape of the heel — at least, the part that was visible above the shoe — could draw attention to your shapely ankles and/or create the illusion of a “dainty ankle.”

The Gordon Hosiery Company offered two heel styles in a series of ads:

Gordon's hosiery ads from Delineator, Nov. 1928 through May 1929.

Gordon Hosiery ads from Delineator, Nov. 1928 through May 1929.

These are all the same two styles, which came in a wide range of colors intended to match the wearer’s skin tones — a more natural look, in sheerer stockings, than were worn in the early 1920’s.

Text from Gordon's hosiery ad, May 1929.

Text from Gordon Hosiery ad, May 1929.

“. . . The modern Gordon color series is based on a new theory . . . that every woman must match her hosiery to her individual skin tones — considering always, of course, her ensemble.”

Gordon Narrow heel stocking (right) and Gordon V- line heel (left.) Nov. 1928.

Gordon Narrow heel stocking (right) and Gordon V- line heel (left.) Nov. 1928.

The “Gordon narrow heel” — a tall rectangle — really was more flattering than the shorter, wider heels usually available from Sears:

Stockings from Sears catalog, Spring 1928.

Stockings from Sears catalog, Spring 1928.

The Onyx Hosiery company had its own, different heel design, a single triangle called the “Pointex.”

Onyx brand's

Onyx brand’s “Pointex” heel, “which makes trim ankles look their best.” April 1924 ad, bottom. Delineator.

Onyx hosiery ad, top, April 1924.

Onyx Hosiery ad, top, April 1924.

This pointed heel design was also available from Sears, Roebuck by 1928:

Stockings

Stockings “with the new pointed heel” from Sears catalog, Spring 1928.

As women began to associate suntans with wealth, wildly colored stockings began to give way to more natural shades, as described in the Gordon Hosiery ad above. In May of 1929, the Gordon Hosiery ad read:

“There is . . . in this fashion of complementing one’s complexion with one’s stocking . . . a subtle artistry . . . a complete harmony . . . that we have never consistently achieved before. For, as legs take on the same tone as face, arms, and neck (which is the object of the skin-tone stockings) . . . our frocks become dramatized. And the line, silhouette, and every charming detail are accented. The Gordon Skin-Tones are designed for every woman under the sun . . . and also for the ones who avoid the sun.”

Realsilk hosiery colors for April, 1929. Color is not precise.

Realsilk hosiery colors for April, 1929. [Color is not precise.]

The sheer stockings, in natural skin tones, which were popular later in the 1920’s were also available from Sears, although working women probably saved these fragile stockings — almost impossible to mend — for evening wear.

Stocking colors from Sears catalog, Fall 1928.

Stocking colors from Sears catalog, Fall 1928.

NOTE: “Full-fashioned” stockings were shaped in the knitting process; other stockings were shaped by cutting and seaming. Some 1920’s stockings had seamless feet, but the seam up the back was considered “slenderizing” and flattering to most women.

To read previous posts about stockings, garters, girdles, corsets and the 1920’s, browse through the “Hosiery & Stockings” category, or the “Underthings” category.

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Filed under 1920s, 1960s-1970s, Corsets, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings, vintage photographs