At the stocking stall, you used to have loose stockings, different colours. American tan was one what a lot of women went for. Women used to pick the single stockings up, put them over their hands and up the arm, looking for ladders or holes in them. If they found a good one, they’d have to match it with the other one and then they’d have a pair of stockings for sixpence. I can remember my grandma saying to me, “Help me to pick one to match this, I can’t see the colour ’cause of the sun.”
Back then shops didn’t really cater for black people – all the hosiery was made to match white people’s flesh. When I was eleven, my mum would send me down the market to rummage through the tights and stockings to find the darkest pairs. The nearest I could get was “barely black” but it still wasn’t right as my skin wasn’t black, it was brown!