Use Lux Soap to end constant runs,
snaky seams, bunchy heels or ankles
Once upon a time it was advertised that “9 out of 10 stars use Lux” but could Lux soap prevent runs in silk stockings? Could it help the clever wife guard against S.A.?
Stocking Appeal is “spoiled when you get constant runs, snaky seams, bunchy heels or ankles.” These shocking conditions could be avoided by using Lux to save the elasticity of delicate silk fibres, so they give instead of breaking so easily into runs.
But that’s not all Lux offered. Apparently stockings would also fit more sleekly, too. So why use soaps with harmful alkali — or risk cake-soap rubbing because these things weaken elasticity—rob you of S.A.
The Lux Secret?
And to prove it, Lux invited the Ferguson triplets—Ford, Gladys and Margaret— to participate in a “RACE TO CUT DOWN RUNS”
The race started when these three pretty triplets agreed that “RUNS have got us on the run.” To which Margaret added. “Time we called a halt. I saw a story about girls who cut down runs with Lux. What say we try it?” she asks. “O.K.,” say the others. “Let’s have a race—see who cuts down runs the most.”
Margaret won! “Cuts down runs 50%—gets twice as long wear from her Luxed stockings as from stockings rubbed with cake soap!”
Gladys and Ford cut runs way down, too. “We have extra spending money now that we’re not buying new stockings so often. Lux is surely a big economy!”
Who were these women? Were they movie stars? Famous people? Achievers in sport? The advertisement doesn’t say.
But what the 1935 advertisement does tell readers is that washing silk stockings every night with Lux “saves the elasticity of the silk so stockings don’t break into runs so often.” That was because “Cake-soap rubbing, soaps with harmful alkali, weaken elasticity—then runs tend to start easily.”
The Smithsonian Magazine published a post about Nylons, the successor to silk stockings which, in turn, were successors to lisle—polished cotton stockings.
Nylons first went on sale in October 1939 in Wilmington, Delaware, home of their manufacturer, DuPont. Made from wool, cotton and silk, stockings had been around since before the invention of the knitting machine. But at a time when hemlines were rising yet modesty was still foremost, nylons offered a smoother, stronger and in some cases cheaper alternative to traditional hosiery.
When stores stocked them nationally their popularity was massive. An estimated 64 million pairs were purchased in their first year on the market.
Because DuPont never trademarked “nylon,” “nylons” became synonymous with “hosiery.” They were the American woman’s greatest wardrobe staple. Then, of course, nylons hit a snag. They were in short supply because the silky material was needed for the war effort (parachutes).
Naturally, the paucity of nylons did what paucity always does: makes people want what they can’t have. Some of the reactions were ingenious. Younger ladies compensated for their loss by drawing seams up the backs of their legs with an eye pencil (a practice I’m amazed hasn’t seen a retro resurgence).
Other reactions bordered on mania. Nylons sold on the black market for $20 a pair. Betty Grable auctioned a pair at a war bond rally for $40,000. When nylons went back into production in 1945, the newspaper headlines read like something out of the Darwin Awards: “Women Risk Life and Limb in Bitter Battle For Nylons.”
Take it from someone who knows, a silk stocking had a life expectancy of seconds to, hopefully, more than one or two wearings. A fingernail, certainly a toenail, in fact any rough surface could snag the delicate sheer silk. The preferred 66 gauge 15 denier nylons didn’t last either.
Meanwhile the competitive product Palmolive just wanted buyers to have “That Schoolgirl Complexion Look.”
In the Triplet advertisement an artist has added runs. Triplet one and two have identical “runs” in identical places on their legs; triple three has the same run but it is upside down. Odd!