Pantyhose or no pantyhose? Good question


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.

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18 thoughts on “Pantyhose or no pantyhose? Good question”

  1. I 100% agree with you! In the winter months, I will wear either hose or tights, depending on the outfit. Summer calls for tanned legs. Though I do hate when my legs look really white … that’s when I start using bronzer. It works great, makes your legs look even more toned. Add a cute pair of wedges or heels, and your legs will look even better.

    You really want to show your age? Nothing more dated than a woman wearing pantyhose in the summer … not cute or sexy …

  2. Another debatable question. I think it’s a matter of personal preference. I’m a darker skinned woman and it’s hard to find the right shade for my skin tone. So I don’t wear them a majority of the time. If I’m attending a formal event, hose are more appropriate. During winter months when the weather is cooler, I will wear tights because they are more fashionable. Some women love panty hose and some don’t. I say go with what makes you feel comfortable.

  3. I wear panty hose everyday to work and on Sundays to church. I was just raised with the believe that it is just not lady like to go “bare legged” in those occasions. I will forego hosiery with sundresses and sandals. Wearing stockings or panty hose was also a right of passage in my day. You were “grown up” if you wore some sort of stockings. I like them. My work place was run exclusively by nuns when I came to work here (1980’s)and the dress code was pretty stringent. No slacks for ladies and all females had to wear stockings of some sort. Now I am older and have some circulation issues, so light support stockings are now a comfortable attire for me – prevents blood clots, varicose veins, swelling, etc. I also still wear a slip under my dresses. Another hold over from my upbringing where appropriate “foundations” were a must. I am ok with all of this because I feel and look better if I dress this way. White after Labor Day? I am good with that! I most generally carry the same purse everyday regardless of the shoe I’m wearing. I don’t have to matchy, matchy. I just have to like what I am wearing and feel comfortable at the same time. I am ok with others not dressing this way, but feel a little sad to see some of this go by the wayside, because it often leads to a little less modesty in attire as well. Most importantly just put on a big smile and clothes that fit and go conquer the world.

  4. I hate pantyhose, not because of what it does to my legs (good or bad), it’s what it does to my waist!! The pantyhose either have a tight waistband or if they are control top, they squish everything up. So … in the winter I wear pants and in the summer I don’t wear pantyhose. It’s all good!

  5. Yes, I still wear pantyhose (more than not) to work and always to church when I wear a skirt or a dress all year long in Atlanta. While my natural legs are a beautiful pecan tan, toned and trim I like the way they look in pantyhose. I think it’s because I can find brands that are natural-looking on my legs and it looks better to me with the dresses, skirts and shoes that I wear. I am often told that I should not wear pantyhose because I don’t have to. I know I don’t have to.

    I wish more women would wear pantyhose because their legs are not toned nor trim and the color of their legs isn’t a good look without pantyhose. Some women also do not spend the needed time on their feet (heels and toes) before choosing to wear open shoes (toes and/or heels out) and no pantyhose. I spend time on my feet even though my toes are almost always in and I’ll probably put on pantyhose also. More women are also going without panties and if they’re also choosing not to wear pantyhose (which can sometimes give support also), the shape and shake of their derrieres, as well as the clothes sticking in between their cheeks is not a good look, not to mention unprofessional in the work environment. Some men (married and single) in our work place have told me that I need to talk to some of my sisters about the way they dress to come to work. The men don’t want to do it because they don’t want to risk the harassment charge or being cursed out. I wish more of my sisters would dress with more decorum just because it’s the right thing to do.

    P. S. I still use 2 spaces after a period; just habit from being trained that way I guess.

  6. I love this topic. My co-worker and I were just talking about it last week. She says she always wears pantyhose to work because it’s the professional thing to do. I, on the other hand, am very happy to embrace the current trend so I don’t have to wear the darn things. Truth is, I wear slacks 98% of the time anyway, but it’s nice to have the option not to wear knee-highs with my sandals. (By the way, I still prefer two spaces after a period, although I try to keep that to myself.)

  7. Nice article. The truth is my legs look a lot better with stockings than bare. Maybe it’s the fate of redheads, I don’t know. And, the last thing I want to do is add one more beauty routine to the ones I already have or have to apply makeup on one more place on my body. So leg makeup won’t cut it for me. But, when I do wear a dress (which isn’t that often) I wear thigh high stockings. They match my skin tone perfectly and are much more comfortable (to me) than pantyhose. If I had smooth beautiful skin like Michelle Obama I might go stockingless, but sadly that is not the case. So, I have learned what works for me. I also wrote an article about stockings awhile ago. You might get a kick out of it:

  8. I used to never leave the house without pantyhose – that’s what I was taught (I’m about to turn 55). Most of the time now, however, I choose not to wear them. I find they cut off my circulation in the waist and I get headaches!

    I’ll tell you when I DO wear them though is when I go ballroom dancing – skirts tend to fly up some when you twirl, and my thighs aren’t as (cough) smooth as they used to be! Plus I have white, alabaster skin – revered in some countries – but in the U.S.A I’m considered anemic and pasty!

  9. I absolutely hate pantyhose because they are so uncomfortable. I do wear tights in the winter because it gets a tad cold in Oklahoma (although not as cold as in Canada). I do wear trouser socks with pants but only in the winter. Pantyhose should be outlawed!

  10. I hate pantyhose, but on occasions when I think they are appropriate (i.e. formal events), I opt for thigh-highs. They are a happy medium – they provide the look I want without constricting my abdomen and they are more hygienic (even hose with a cotton gusset restricts air flow). In winter, I avoid dresses and skirts – it’s too cold!

  11. I don’t especially like pantyhose, but I do wear them with a dress or skirt. I have a lot of spider veins, and even a light-colored pair of panty hose does wonders to disguise them. I also hate the feeling of wearing shoes without SOMETHING between me and the shoe–although I much prefer a sock that will absorb perspiration to pantyhose that makes more of it!

  12. I’m one that grew up with the pantyhose rule and I often wear hose with a dress. I have found a couple of brands that are comfortable to me, and I don’t mind wearing pantyhose all day long.

    However, when it’s hot & I’m going somewhere formal, I will wear knee-hi hose with a long skirt so no one knows; otherwise I don’t wear anything on my legs. It took a couple of years (OK more like 5 yrs) for me to get used to the fashion rules changing, but I am glad that I have options.

  13. I like tights more than pantyhose and I wear tights every where I can.and actually in sleeping time.because I have heard wearing tights for sleeping makes your sleep better than the past.but pantyhose no.I hate them

  14. I rarely wear pantyhose for occasions only but do like full tights especially in winter and footless tights in the spring & fall months…However l have a question which wasn’t mentioned in your article…How do you deal with sagging or falling right under the crouch area???

  15. I love pantyhose but don’t wear them with sandals or open toe shoes. I am so comfortable in them they are like second skin. No one has mentioned the benefit hosiery gives to prevent odor in shoes. May pantyhose live on!!!

  16. I’m a guy that loves to crossdress and I usually wear fishnet, with open heels, sandals and slippers, I love the way it makes my feet look and how the nail polish on my toes looks, I don’t know why women don’t like to wear them, for all I know they’re extremely sexy whether I’m wearing shorts, skirts, dresses or even in yoga leggings, they make all the difference in fashion and make my legs extremely sexy.

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