Watching 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 pantry 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 events 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.