Yesterday, Gladys asked a question about a possible wardrobe faux pas in Sunday's episode of Mad Men. In a scene where Peggy is shown hand washing her lingerie, there is a pair of pantyhose on a drying rack. I didn't watch the episode until last night, but I had my camera ready, just in case. And Gladys, you were right!!!
Here is Peggy in her kitchen hand washing her lingerie.
And, in a close-up shot, we very clearly see a pair of pantyhose that would not have existed in 1963. No way, no how. In doing my research for this post, I found that this is not the first time Peggy has been seen with pantyhose. In season 2, we see her actually putting on a pair of pantyhose in one episode. Big mistake, Mad Men costume department! Peggy would have been wearing either a girdle or garter belt with stockings, and that is what should have been shown on the drying rack.
It is commonly aknowledged that pantyhose were invented in 1959 by Allen Gant of Glen Raven Mills. However, while they may have been invented that early, they were still in development and were not in production at this time. I returned again to my stack of fashion magazines to search for ads for pantyhose. All the ads for lingerie show stockings worn with girdles through 1965.
It is not until 1966, when skirt lengths are getting shorter, that we see ads for tights in patterns. They were thick, heavy, and did not stay up well.
Women also resorted to wearing ballet tights by Danskin with their shorter skirts as a way to avoid showing stocking tops and garters.
It is not until 1969, that we see a new product called "bodyhose" by Round-the-Clock. However, even these were not pantyhose. Bodyhose was a body shaper.....
...with replaceable stockings that come up high and have an elastic top. They slipped under the panty edge of the shaper and did not require garters, but they are not pantyhose.
Again in 1969, Hanes has a two page ad with "The Fall of the Garter" as a big headline. They introduced the "Panty Pair", which was a two way stretch panty with separate stockings. You put on the stockings first, then slipped the panty on over them to hold them up. Close, but not pantyhose.
It is not until the early 70's that we see ads for actual pantyhose. As the industry grew, prices dropped and women became less concerned about throwing away the entire garment when you got a run in just one leg.
So there you have it. The pair of pantyhose on Peggy's drying rack is indeed an error. And if the costume department of Mad Men thought we wouldn't notice, they were wrong!