No Time to Tan

Vintage ad Elizabeth Arden Velva Leg Film

Vintage ad Elizabeth Arden Velva Leg Film

Long before self tanners, and micro mist airbrush tanning sprays flooded the market, a retro a gal need only apply a good film of bronzer to give herself show girl legs.

Learn how tan-in-a-bottle might have helped a pale-face gal face the summer.

In the summer of 1944, Doris had a big date with a dreamy Staff Sergeant and she was desperate.

Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but when it comes to legs, gentlemen prefer bronze.

Of all times to get a run in her last pair of precious pre-war nylons.  Stockings have always been important to any girl who knows the first thing about grooming. Always so cautious when Luxing her dainties, one little moment of carelessness and she had snagged her stockings.


vintage ads WWII Stocking shortages

Stockings were precious during WWII when nylon and rayon went to war. (L) 1945 Vintage ad Ivory Snow advising care of your precious stockings (R) Vintage ad Shell 1943 the rayon for one parachute they explain would make 444 stockings

Doris knew a  good pair of stockings would add some colorful life to her winter-white legs that were as pale as a ghost but because of the war there was not a pair of nylon stockings to be found.

A gal couldn’t very well go out to the a home-front dance without hose.

In an era when Betty Grable’s shapely gams were the gold standard, any assistance in the leg department was welcomed.

Poor Doris

If only she had only been hep to what thousands of war wise women had  already discovered- a miracle in a bottle.

No, not bottled stockings but the next best thing- Elizabeth Arden’s Velva Leg Film, leg makeup to  give the appearance of stockings

Shake a leg sister, and head to your local department store.

 Goof Proof Fool Proof

“So easy to apply and quick to dry Elizabeth Arden’s leg make up stays on the legs and off the clothes,” the ads promised. “Water resistant clings until washed away, with a blemish-concealing sheer textured beauty that trims the ankle- slims the leg.”

And Velva Film was perfect for a day at the beach.

“Be sure to wear Velva Film with bathing suits or shorts, it makes your legs look sun burnished…far more lovely.” The fact that your arms were pale didn’t seem to matter.

A Leg Up on the Sun

Released in 1941, the product created a huge market

Department stores opened leg make up bars and ran promotions where you could have your legs painted to see the effect or get advise as to how to apply for the best effect.

Helena Rubenstein was an early advocate of the leg bar. In 1942 she opened a Bare-Leg Bar in her NYC 5th Ave. Salon. The bar featured leg make up creams and cosmetics for the leg. On opening day different types of cosmetic stockings were demonstrated stick form out of a bottle and sprayed on the legs

Other companies joined the band wagon for cosmetic stockings in the 1940’s:  Gentlemen Prefer Bronze ( Charbert) Leg Make Up (Charles of the Ritz) Jiff-On ( Beauty Counselor) Leg Show (Dorothy Gray).

Shake a leg sister, and head to your local department store.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: