Pretty (and ugly) in Pantyhose
The fashion world (and the world of women) is at odds. From feminist-friendly blog Jezebel to fashion magazines and sites to even daily newspapers like the Boston Globe, women want to know if pantyhose has suddenly come back in vogue.
In the U.K., pantyhose is selling out at department stores. Even fashion polls have been taken to decide on the issue of pantyhose, with shocking results. (Check out What Kate Wore’s post. Seriously?! 36% of pollers are considering wearing pantyhose? Color me shades of surprised!)
My opinion? (If you haven’t already figured it out yet…) Please, God, no, don’t let pantyhose come back. It’s itchy, you have to travel with clear nail polish on the off chance you need to stop a run, it makes using the bathroom potentially difficult (I know, TMI). Clearly, my issue isn’t with how it looks — it’s with wearing it!
In reality, pantyhose has its place with certain wardrobe choices. Two or three years ago, wearing patterned pantyhose was all the rage (particularly in the winter). So while it may seem pantyhose is so 80s, (remember those Leggs Eggs at the drugstore? They lasted maybe eight hours before crapping out) clearly Kate (and others) can rock the look.
I still say there is something sexy about having bare legs no matter what you are wearing. Yeah, stockings can be super hot if you’re looking to score, but I feel like those situations only happen in the movies or in cheestastic romance novels.
So, here are my tips on when and how to wear — and not wear — pantyhose. Plus a story about sexy bare legs gone horribly wrong (and pantyhose saving the day) circa 1996 after the jump.
When To Wear:
- Conservative work environments. My bestie actually was required to wear pantyhose to work (she worked for a bank) if she had legs showing. Clearly, this was a dress code created by men who have no clue how awful it is to wear the stuff, especially in Texas… in 100 degree weather.
- In colder environments. If you live in a colder climate, having the extra fabric on your body (no matter how sheer) is probably necessary and helpful. It will allow you to wear outfits that are cute but otherwise not appropriate for the environment you live in.
- Important events. Maybe graduation, formal party, an awards ceremony, a funeral — something where dressing conservatively is almost a nod of respect to the host. The Queen does have a dress code in place for a reason at the palace — don’t insult the woman. (P.S., at these same formal/conservative events, don’t wear short skirts, plunging necklines… ask yourself, WWKW?)
- Health issues. Whether it’s because you have varicose veins, aging knees or a more serious health problem that requires compression stockings, you get a pass. P.S., if you do have those issues, there are a variety of brands that make more fashion-forward compression stockings, so do a quick Google search and you’ll find a ton of options.
When NOT To Wear:
- Warmer environments. I’m not saying this is a fashion no-no; rather, I’m just trying to help a sista out. Any temperature over 80 degrees should mean no hosiery, regardless of the occasion.
- Open-toed heels. I try not to laugh when I see a woman with hose and open-toed heels on… where the seam is clearly showing. If you want to wear pantyhose with your outfit, choose a different pair of shoes, or go without it. And if you’re trying to hide the fact that you haven’t had a pedicure in awhile, you’re just bringing more attention to it 😉
- Casual outfits. Nothing weirds me out more when I see a pair of pantyhose being rocked with a pair of shorts. Gross. Let’s just say living in Texas sometimes brings you face to face with these oddities.
- When you should be wearing something thicker. Remember really thick tights/leggings were all the rage a couple of seasons ago? And remember seeing women wearing really sheer pantyhose when they should have been wearing a thicker denier hosiery or leggings? Yeah, don’t do that. For the sake of others around you. P.S. Confused by the interchanging of hosiery, stockings, pantyhose and tights? Me too… and this article really did nothing to help me out.
So when do I wear pantyhose? Fall and winter when it is chilly out but I still want to wear dresses and knee-length skirts. And I usually only wear sheer black pantyhose with a pattern. My favorite? Banana Republic’s hosiery. It lasts forever; I still have a black pair with a criss-cross pattern that is almost three years old. I love this pair they have online right now (though they call it a tight but it looks too sheer to be considered one).
Final pantyhose-related story for the day. In eighth grade, I went to my first school dance stag (I know, this is already screaming loser). I found this really lovely crushed velvet maroon dress that I paired with an off-white choker (again, this is the mid-90s and I’m probably still screaming loser). There is a picture lying around somewhere, but I’m so not putting it on here 😉 Instead, here is a jewel from the last day of eighth grade:
I decided that I wanted my legs to look incredibly smooth and sexy for this dance, so I bought some Nair at the drugstore, thinking it would be the key to sexy legs and hopefully a boyfriend. And like an idiot, I put the crap on my legs about an hour and a half before the dance. And within 10 minutes, I had the worst allergic reaction — my legs were beet red with bumps everywhere.
I was devastated. I thought my life was over and ruined, like most 14-year-olds. Worse, I was wearing open-toed shoes and open toe pantyhose hadn’t been invented yet. So I borrowed some opaque pantyhose from my mom (who is shorter and has a darker complexion than me) and was the only one at the dance wearing pantyhose.
And I didn’t dance with a single boy for almost the entire dance — or the boy I really wanted to get a dance with. His name was Josh Henderson and he had pretty much dated every girl in eighth grade by that point, except for the girls in orchestra (again, are you fully understanding my loser/dork ways?).
Finally, this guy felt sorry for me and danced the last dance with me. We danced to End of the Road by Boyz II Men. And he did ask me on a date… five years later. If the Nair had worked and I didn’t wear pantyhose, maybe I would have gotten that dance with Josh Henderson and never had danced with my future husband. So, I guess you can say that pantyhose brought me and my now husband together? Thanks, pantyhose!
(P.S. Josh is now a somewhat famous actor and actually my husband’s second or third cousin. Funny how that worked out…)