What? Are you still wearing pantyhose?

32999997 - women's legs in various tightsWatching yesterday’s Easter parade of dresses and skirts (and hats), I noticed that I seemed to be the only woman wearing pantyhose. The ladies would be all silk and jewels to the knees and then . . . bare legs. It’s a trend. It’s the style. I personally think if your legs aren’t slim and shaved, toned and tanned, they’re not that attractive. I know how incredibly comfortable bare legs under a dress can be. So free! And believe me, I know pantyhose can be a literal pain to wear. I know the movie stars are doing it, but they’ve got personal trainers and leg makeup.

Today’s pantyhose are a great improvement over what I grew up with. I remember the days of separate stockings you matched and hooked to a girdle or garter belt. (God forbid your butt should jiggle.) Picture trying to hook those things up after gym class. Once hooked, you had these hard hooks pressing into your thighs all day and a gap between stocking and foundation garment that felt cold and weird. If the wind blew your skirt up, the whole apparatus showed. Embarrassing. Yeah, yeah, I know all about guys thinking stockings and garters are sexy. As my mother would say, bullfeathers. They’re miserable. Good riddance.

The first pantyhose arrived when I was in high school. But they were not exactly perfect. I have horrible memories of my pantyhose being so tight they split at the crotch or so loose they were falling down all day. And like their separate stocking predecessors, they “ran” if you looked at them. We painted the runs with nail polish to stop them. If we were wearing the stockings at the time, the polish stuck to our legs, which felt just lovely, and of course we didn’t want anyone to see the run or the polish. With pantyhose, if you got a run in one leg, you had to throw the whole kit and caboodle in the trash.

But they got better. Sizes became more reasonable, the material more durable, marketing more clever. Remember L’Eggs, the stockings that came in plastic eggs that were great for craft projects and Easter egg hunts? What happened to L’Eggs? (Amazon has them!) What happened to our legs that we suddenly decided bare legs were acceptable for more than beach parties and picnics?

I surveyed some friends about whether they wear pantyhose anymore. The answer was overwhelmingly a vehement no. A few samples:

Jo Byriel: No! Not for 15 years! You know a lot about yourself when you admit the pantyhose that used to live in your dresser drawers have been moved to your tool box! Good for many projects!

Martha Behnen Embley: No to panty hose! I’ll use fake tanner if I need it in the summer.

Cecilia Ward: My ninety-year-old mother does when she goes to church. I believe she does so because it’s what she has done her whole adult life–as if pantyhose are part of her go-to-church uniform.

Courtney Meek: No!! Because they itch and when I did wear them I was running out of cheap hair spray or clear polish every time I wore them.

Cheri Lasota: I just can’t do it. Sooooo uncomfortable. That said, I do adore thicker tights (as a stand-in to pants) under longer shirts.

Jean Leonard: Hate them!! Always was a workout getting them on and they were very uncomfortable!!! Will wear the thicker tights occasionally, especially if it is cold.

Dale Bryant: Now that I’m retired, I never wear skirts, so no reason to wear pantyhose. I did occasionally wear them to work–so much more comfortable than the contraptions that preceded them. Also, I do like to wear knee-highs when I dress up to the extent I do, but they’re very hard to find.

Stephanie Raffelock: Pantyhose always made me feel like a sausage.

Adrienne Knoll: They are almost nonexistent in the stores, especially for those of us that are tall (over 6′). I like to wear them when I really dress up, as I did for my wedding a year and a half ago.

Lacie Semenovich: I do if I’m wearing dress shoes (not sandals) with a dress because I don’t like the way my feet feel in dress shoes without something covering them, and those little footie things you’re supposed to be able to wear with dress shoes do not work on my feet. I also feel a little more dressed up and formal with hose on.

Mele Martinez: My four-year-old daughter loves pantyhose.

Shari Kaplan Witaschek: I find pantyhose very uncomfortable, so I only wear it when I absolutely HAVE to! 😦 For example, if I’m attending a swanky party in skirt or dress where thigh-high or knee-high hose won’t work, and going hose-less won’t work either, then I’ll wear pantyhose. (For the record, I don’t like thigh-highs either!)

Sharan Street: I abandoned them decades ago in favor of opaque or patterned tights because they’re more fun and they don’t run. Having always had less than spectacular legs, tights are my friends.

Angie Simoes Brasil: Yes and no. It depends on my outfit and how dressy it is and also how formal the event is that I’m attending. I’ve always heard a true lady wears nylons.

Angela Jackson-Brown: I’m a southern girl from way back so yes AND I wear slips underneath my dresses too…lol

Donna Sanders: I wear pantyhose to church and formal events because my legs are older and whiter than they were when I didn’t wear pantyhose. When I had nice, slender, tan legs, hose wasn’t necessary. Sigh.

So, I guess my age is showing, but as long as I can find a decent pair of “suntan” pantyhose in my size, I’m wearing them. “Control top” a bonus.

Here’s an excellent piece from Huffington Post by Rhonda Scharf. Turns out Michelle Obama never wears pantyhose either. Me, I like my stockings. I don’t feel dressed without them.

This article from Fortune by Colleen Kane talks about some of the professions where wearing hose is required.

If you haven’t already shared it with me, what is your opinion on the subject? Do you wear pantyhose? Have you had to wear them for work? Do you feel your legs are up to the exposure?

Men, please refrain from the corny jokes. I’ve heard them all.

Happy day after Easter. It’s raining again in South Beach, Oregon.

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

6 thoughts on “What? Are you still wearing pantyhose?”

  1. Haven’t regularly worn pantihose since about 1997 when my office adopted business casual dress and I mostly stopped wearing dresses & skirts. I didn’t wear them with my dress stout nephew’s wedding last fall either… Maybe if it had been December, lol. I don’t miss it!

    Like

  2. As a guy, I love wearing pantyhose. I have worn them off and on for about 20 years. I understand that the old styles were uncomfortable. But today, there are styles, textures, and thicknesses that make an every day set of legs look incredible, including mine. I have worn them on walks on the Oregon beaches, in downtown Portland, the Capital Mall in Salem, long drives through the Columbia Gorge and just around the home. All is good. You should seriously give them another try.

    Like

  3. Many people are still hung up on what they have heard negatively about pantyhose and because they don’t know that today’s pantyhose are much better made that before and more comfortable so they still keep talking bad without knowing and trying for themselves first.

    Like

  4. I do not wear pantyhose.

    However, I don’t really see why they got such a bad rap and fell out of favor. They make your legs look pretty and flawless, serving the same function as cover up and foundation, they keep your legs warm, they really don’t run, and for those who talk about how they are too restricting and aren’t healthy for the lady parts how are thongs and tights and jeggings and especially spanx any better?, and they can smooth you out for tight dresses without being girdles (which is what spanx are), I believe men find them to feel good to the touch, they are forgiving if you haven’t shaved or tanned, they make pumps more comfortable and cause less wear in them, and did I say they keep you warm? I’ve seen so many women shivering in the winter. Like when it’s winter weather when you would never wear shorts so why expose your bare legs in a dress? It’s crazy how women’s fashion does not allow us to cover ourselves against the elements. Bare arms, bare legs, freezing temps. That said, unless the trend changes I will likely never wear hose again. And so I will pretty much never wear a dress again, which is sad. My legs are nicely shaped but have too many scars, visible veins etc, and I get cold. I wore a dress to work last week because it was wicked hot and I had a longer walk to my train. Well I froze in the office all day, especially with my slingback shoes. Also? It kind of skeeved me out to expose so much skin to the seats on public transportation. If I were going out at night and drinking I probably wouldn’t think about that but it felt like using the stationary bike at the gym after someone got sweat all over it and then going to work without showering. After a day in a climate controlled office (with men looking comfortable in pants and button down shirts) I could not wait to come home and get dressed. And say what you will about that iconic Marilyn Monroe pic where the subway air blows her dress up, but I really don’t want subway air all up in there. Unfortunately, I can’t just wear hose because nowadays that makes you look old and uncool and prissy. I won’t risk that. So it’s be cold and uncomfortable and insecure or look old or wear pants. I’m wearing pants. It’s a shame though, because I look good in many dresses. Vanity wins! Sigh. Summer sundresses are the exception, especially the long ones, but I wouldn’t wear them to work. So pants it is, but if I’m wearing pants I refuse to wear pumps just to make sure I still look girly (and sexy). But that’s another story altogether … plus cold feet, literally.

    So I’ll pretend to be so happy that we don’t “have to” wear hose anymore.

    And I’ll say nothing about the angry fashion mob telling us to keep our legs bare regardless of weather or whether it looks or feels good.

    And I’ll wear pants.

    Like

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s