"laddered nylons"
Nylons in action
GNU Free Documentation LicenseNylons in action - Credit: Tranquil Garden, Wikimedia Commons
Legless nylons
GNU Free Documentation LicenseLegless nylons - Credit: Tranquil Garden, Wikimedia Commons
'Nylons' are women's nylon stockings which began to replace silk stockings in the early 1940's, following the invention of 'nylon' by the DuPont Corporation in 1938.

If torn (often by a fingernail or toenail), theĀ stocking materialĀ unravelled in a particular way which became known as a 'ladder'.