Michelle Obama doesn’t wear pantyhose—ever. Kate Middleton does. Did you learn that you should never leave the house without your nylons? What other fashion traditions are you clinging to that may be different today than when you learned them?
For instance, you don’t have to be matchy-matchy (shoes match the bag matches the jewelry, etc.) which tends to look dated these days. You can mix brown and black—and even navy and black. Winter white has made wearing white after Labor Day perfectly acceptable. It is completely okay to mix gold and silver. And red lipstick during the day is very common now.
Yes, the rules have changed. Unless your company has a strict dress code, the rules about what is appropriate and what isn’t have changed over the years. It isn’t to take away professionalism—it’s to reflect that what is socially acceptable has changed.
Remember the controversy with the Starbucks barista who had a tongue piercing? Starbucks has changed its rules to fit with the fashion tastes of its target market (aged 18 to 24). They now allow piercings and respectful tattoos.
Is it time for you to update your fashion rules, too?
I recently had a very lively debate on Facebook about wearing pantyhose. Many people who commented said they had never (ever) worn pantyhose and couldn’t understand why some people insisted that they wouldn’t leave the house without them. The vast majority (and age was not a factor) said they do not wear hose to work or casual functions, but do agree that there are times when wearing pantyhose is required, usually at fancier events. Nearly everyone was quite opinionated about what is “correct,” though.
As a Canadian, I definitely wear hose or tights during the winter. Not because any fashion rule tells me I need to, but because it’s cold! Many of my Canadian Facebook friends commented that they also wear tights in winter because of the cold weather and the fact that their legs were pale from the winter.
If the reason you are sticking to hose is because you think your legs are too pale, buy some tinted moisturizer for your legs. Pantyhose used to be known as ‘make-up for your legs.’ These days, they actually have that make-up, and it’s far more comfortable than hose.
Michelle Obama doesn’t like pantyhose because, she says, her legs are too long so her pantyhose were constantly getting runs in them. Although many brands say “one size fits all” or “for tall women,” they all seem to be too short for someone with long legs.
While I don’t measure up to Michelle’s 5’11” frame, I do have long legs and I have a very hard time getting hose long enough without having a run (or a ladder, for my British readers) in them, too. Not wearing hose isn’t about me being lazy, it’s about what looks good on me. My legs are toned and trim, and when they are tanned my legs look better without hose than in a pair of pantyhose with a run in them. Tights don’t run, so I wear tights in the winter. I certainly wouldn’t wear tights in the summer months though.
Hose do make most people’s legs look better. Many airlines have a dress code policy insisting that their female flight attendants wear them. The hose double as support for their legs, too, so it really doesn’t seem too unreasonable, does it?
I don’t always wear hose, but in appropriate situations I will. Working at my desk in a sundress doesn’t call for pantyhose, but being on stage at a large corporate function typically does.
I have a tattoo, too, although you won’t ever see it at work. Not because I’m ashamed of it or think it’s inappropriate, but because I deliberately put my tattoo in a private location. That way, it will never be an issue professionally. I realize that although the rules have changed, there are still many people who judge, so I took away the opportunity for anyone to judge me (although I did just tell you about it 🙂 .
I think it’s important that we don’t cling to the rules our mothers taught us “just because that’s the way it’s always been done.” That is really never a good reason for anything. I think it’s far more important to look at the situation, and the way a particular item of clothing looks on your body. If your legs look better with hose, wear hose. If you find that brown and black is not a good combination for your skin tone, then don’t wear it. Don’t be a slave to fashion rules—old or new. But most importantly, when deciding what to wear and what not to wear at work, look at professionalism. Is your decision hurting your image?
The rules for 2016? Make sure your choice isn’t about convenience, but is based on appropriateness and professionalism.