Letter 5

Liquid Stockings and War Marriages

Liquid Stockings: During WW2 nylon stockings became a precious commodity the world over. The reason why is because nylon was needed to make parachutes, airplane chords, and ropes during the war. In 1941 Britain began rationing clothing materials and valuable recourses for the armed forces. America followed suite later that year. Japan also stopped using materials made out of silk, which made it difficult for the United States to import silk from their main supplier (Japan) during the war. 

In response to this scarcity, the fashion industry invented something called liquid stockings. Liquid stockings were essentially nude colored makeup for one’s legs. To apply, one would simply cover one’s legs with a layer of said nude colored makeup, and then line the back of each leg with a trompe l’oeil seam using a peculiar contraption made from a screwdriver handle, bicycle leg clip, and eyebrow pencil.

When she was a little girl, Hannie heard stories from her grandmother about how she and her sisters would take turns lying face down on the parlor sofa while one sister would paint the another’s legs brown.


Photo credit: 

  1. https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_765873
  2.  https://richmond.com/from-the-archives/plus/from-the-archives-liquid-stockings/article_5e952d15-190f-5b3d-9205-54d32495f7a6.html


War Marriages


In the United States, roughly 1.8 million marriages took place among young people during the year 1942. The marriage rate had gone up nearly 83% since 1932. Over two thirds of those marriages took place between young women and enlisted soldiers. 


Between the years 1942 and 1952 roughly one million American soldiers married women from overseas. These brides came from Britain, Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and there were even some from non-allied countries including an estimated 14,000 women from Germany. 


This is an interesting article on Wartime Weddings in the United States: