After the New York World Fair, nylon stockings hit the market on May 14th 1940. Women rushed out to buy them, not in their thousands, but in their millions! Over 72,000 pairs of nylons were sold on the first day of release in America and 64 million by the time a year had passed.
The allure of wrinkle free, bunching free, inexpensive leg wear proved extremely popular putting a colossal dent into all preceding forms of established hosiery manufacture. During World War II, nylon was used to manufacture parachutes and other material for soldiers. Women were called on by the government to show their support for the war and the soldiers by giving up their nylon stockings.
So, many women had no stockings and so they ‘penciled in’ seams, using eyeliner or eyebrow pencil to draw lines up the backs of their legs to create the look of stockings. Stockings had become a style symbol and one that all “ladies” adhered to.