The birth of

nylon stockings has qualified women of the general civilian class to pursue beauty. Proportionally, in the field of literature in the past century, stockings have gradually changed from the identity of upper class society to the symbol of identity equality.

DuPont’s nylon products advertisement

Author: [UK] Moira Redmond translator: the birth of Jiang Lin’s

nylon stockings has qualified the majority of civilian women to pursue beauty. Proportionally, in the field of literature in the past century, stockings have gradually changed from the identity of upper class society to the symbol of identity equality.

,

,

and

in the history of modern literature, stockings were once a footnote to highlight the class attribute and even ideal ambition of characters. With the passage of time to the 20th century, with the “nylon socks revolution” sweeping the world, the writers’ wonderful description of this kind of clothing is more imaginative.

,

,

,

published in the 1956 Nani saga series, the last battle, C S Lewis’s words betrayed all girls: “Oh, Susan. Now, except nylon, lipstick and invitation, what she is not interested in now.” Under the temptation of material desire, Susan lost her way. It seems that she is doomed to failure. She is despised because of the stockings on her legs.

2014 is the 75th anniversary of DuPont’s first mass production of nylon socks. Although Lewis has a conservative bias towards nylon socks, most people admit that nylon socks are far more positive than negative. It (and later tight pants) means the “democratization” of women’s legs. Before the birth of nylon socks, rare silk stockings had always been the darling of a few people.

as an example, Ulysses, published in 1922, said a lot through Leopold Bloom, “Gerty and her stockings, Roy and her suspenders, store displays of ‘shiny flat silk stockings’, Molly Bloom’s’ Satin bright cotton stockings’…” (satin bright cotton is a fabric that mimics the effect of silk). In the crime novel “the mystery of the red house”, published in 1922, the author Milne belittled nylon as inferior silk. One of the protagonists went to buy silk stockings for his sister and turned dizzy in the clothing store. “How can I be sure I bought real silk instead of low-grade imitation?”

in the memoir “laughing body”, Nina Hamet wore brightly colored stockings in Paris before World War I, some of which had checkerboard squares and “looked very unruly”. From time to time, Hamet sighed to the merchants that he could not afford silk stockings. Sock sellers claim that silk stockings are “an investment” and can’t spend too much. The words

,

,

,

and “art silk” often appeared in the works of that era. Readers who don’t know where they are tend to think that they are particularly expensive or beautiful, decorated with beautifully designed patterns. But in fact, “art” here is short for “artificial”, Read Ross McCulley’s “Crewe train” published in 1926 – a young woman who didn’t care what others said thought, “silk stockings are not cheap. For much less money, you can buy Artificial silk or cotton stockings. Why not? Can’t these cheaper fabrics also be worn on the legs?”

,

,

and

in Agatha Christie’s Parke Paine collection, a young typist in the lower class, “always wears lipstick, wears silk stockings and keeps curly hair”, in order to make herself a bit of the upper class. In the magic hand, a beautiful girl is also dressed up in the countryside. Her brother thinks it’s very inappropriate to do as the Romans do. “In order not to appear independent, she should wear old-fashioned thick stockings instead of silk.”

Mary McCarthy’s group appeared in the 1960s, but the main line of the story took place in the 1930s. In the book, a doctor suggested that her female customers “wear black silk underwear, black silk stockings and cheap perfume”, which can make husband and wife life more interesting. However, this suggestion didn’t work. The woman’s husband just complained that she spent money like water, and said that this dress would only make her look more cheap, more debauchery and not high-end at all. During World War II, when supplies of

,

,

and

were scarce, it was difficult to get any kind of stockings. As a result, there were two situations: Women “made up” on their respective legs (see Stella Gibbon’s Westwood) and painted the appearance of stockings’ suture; In addition, American soldiers have the right to get nylon stockings and often use them to seduce European girls. In Roger Backus’s horror novel “murder plan”, a young woman talks about her new boyfriend like this: “he gave me these nylon stockings.”

for some time after the war, the production of nylon was still limited, and nylon stockings became a fixed supply. Through the efforts of another generation, the class attribute of stockings has become weaker. Nylon stockings are not only loved by everyone, but also affordable and durable. Accordingly, the words about stockings in literary works have become neutral and less critical. In Gladys Michel’s 1955 crime novel Watson’s choice, a body is covered in mud and torn in nylon stockings. Barbara Pimm’s heroine was still used to rinsing stockings in the 1950s. In Stella Gibbon’s 1967 “change of stars,” wool stockings and nylon stockings “coexist peacefully in a fabric store.

around 1968, Jane gaskel created a cheerful and charming work: “beautiful black stockings”, which was later made into a film by Susan George. At that time, tights began to enter thousands of households. Previously, such costumes had existed, but most of their owners were professional actors. In Noel striffield’s 1936 ballet shoes, Pauline fosso and Petrova fosso both wore tight pants and played midsummerThe fairy in a dream of the night. Of course, there are also many opponents. Their view is: “we can let them wear honeycomb stockings on stage.”

making artificial elastic materials into daily wearable tights is another breakthrough after the invention of nylon. Moreover, it is more easily accepted by the public than nylon stockings. In fact, when many writers use the word “stockings”, they actually refer to tights. “Hose” is just an elegant term for stockings in ancient times. I think it is necessary for today’s young writers (especially men) to understand this allusion, because they often can’t figure out the difference – emer dowles’s 2011 long article “principles of etiquette” mentioned that a woman in the 1930s “took off her stockings and went into the bathroom”, which is incorrect.

in recent memoirs, Livif Aberdeen recalled his experience in 1977 with self mockery: “as I was preparing to go on stage, I looked down and found a crack in my stockings, extending from my knee to my thigh… An administrator saw this dilemma and rushed to help me mend the crack with thick black adhesive cloth. It looked cool.”

stockings will not disappear in the foreseeable future, and still convey the charm of women. However, they will no longer be marked with a distinct class brand in the real and literary world as before.

□ original title of British Guardian: how nylon socks affect modern literature