Why I still wear pantyhose (oh, the horror!)

If there is one fashion rule that has me utterly perplexed it is the current opinion of popular stylists that wearing pantyhose is a big no-no. 

Uh, oh. 

I recently gave advice on wearing pantyhose to a friend of mine that obviously dates me. Big time. 

Sue, who lives in Las Vegas and is my age, emailed me the other day with this Fashion Question: 

“I have an evening wedding to go to in Massachusetts in October. Question is: what do you wear on your legs? I haven’t worn “stockings” in years, tights seem too heavy, boots don’t seem dressy enough?” 

Here was my answer:

 “I’d wear stockings, unless of course the shoes are open toe. But then again, I probably wouldn’t wear an open toe in October because then I wouldn’t know what to do about the stockings.  Jobst ultrasheer 20-30 pantyhose

“The only time I WOULDN’T wear stockings to a formal occasion is if it were a warm weather affair or if I was wearing a floor length dress with open toes. Now, having said that, you will most likely see young girls wearing dresses with open toes and NO stockings. It could be the dead of winter and I’ve seen girls go bare legged. 

“So, clearly the rules have changed dramatically on the stockings thing and if you chose not to wear stockings it would be perfectly acceptable, of course. Still, I prefer to wear stockings in the cooler months for more sensible reasons: 1. I don’t like the way my legs look without them when I’m wearing a cocktail dress and 2. because it’s probably not warm enough to go outside without something on my legs. 

“When I do wear stockings, they are most often nude. I rarely do shades anymore, not even black with a black cocktail dress. So something that looks bare, but you still have something on your legs to get a smoother look is what I’d recommend.” 

But after giving Sue what I thought was sound advice about this pantyhose conundrum, I happened upon a couple of fashion how-to books that mentioned several times that wearing pantyhose is dreadfully out of date. Wearing them makes you look “like an old lady.” Bare legs give us “over 40” that “young and hip” look. Oh, really? 

Obviously, they’ve never seen my bare legs. 

Fashion guru (and a designer for a line of Target brand fashions) Isaac Mizrahi in his book “How to Find Your Style” says he is adamant about NO PANTYHOSE (especially nude) EVER! While admittedly my confidence in giving sound pantyhose advice started to wan, I thought, OK, one man’s opinion. 

But then I read “How Not to Look Old” by Charla Krupp. Here’s what she says about wearing pantyhose: 

“My biggest legwear challenge is what to do when it’s freezing out and I’m all dressed up. I do try to go bare legged for evening whenever possible, but when heading out the door in subfreezing temperatures, bare legs simply won’t work. And since the only thing worse than wearing the wrong stockings is revealing frozen, goose-bumpy legs, it’s important to find a chic solution.   If you’re wearing a light-colored dress, try nude fishnet stocking (instead of nude sheer stockings). With a black dress, you can get away with very sheer black stocking or black fishnets. And if you dare, at least when wearing a short skirt or dress for evening, consider Isaac Mizrahi’s option: opaque black tights with peep-to pumps.” 

So, I’m thinking this woman is as confused about formal leg wear in the winter as anybody. But NO NUDE and wear FISHNETS OR TIGHTS?? They’re kidding, right? I get that hair that doesn’t move and “mom jeans” and ill-fitting bras make you look old. But nude pantyhose? I’m stumped. 

Although I’m sure this says VOLUMES about how shallow I am, the idea of pantyhose dating me without understanding why was driving me insane. And so my OCD kicked in. I went into my drawer and pulled out a pair of nude stockings and a pair of black tights. (Sorry, I don’t own, will NEVER own, a pair of fishnets) and tried them on with a couple of cocktail dresses. One dress was solid black, the other a black print, and one a light bronze with colored embroidery. First, the nude. The only way you could tell if I had on nude stockings was 1. by looking really close, and 2. that my legs looked smoother. Second, the black tights. 1. I looked like an Italian widow, and 2. my ankles looked thick with the pretty, sexy, pumps.   

Isaac and Charla you are nuts. Further, you’re not taking into consideration what standing on a pair of legs for 40 or 50 years and having babies does to our legs. And this other idea of leg spray? I don’t think so. For the life of me, I cannot see the problem with nude stockings in the colder months. Especially, since most of us are whiter than white in the fall and winter. If I went bare legged to a formal affair, I would look dreadful. So, I’ve decided that this is fashion advice I will not pay attention to. 

But it STILL begs the question: Why do nude pantyhose make you look “old?” If someone out there has a compelling argument, please let me know.  None of us wants Sue to show up at this wedding looking fashionably old, least of all Sue. 

So, in the meantime, I’ve altered my advice a bit. If you’re over 40 and you’ve got GREAT legs, go for it. Go bare legged. But if not, for goodness sake wear pantyhose.



Filed under Aging, Fashion, Humor

78 responses to “Why I still wear pantyhose (oh, the horror!)

  1. spinninglists

    Going beyond warmth, it’s about being appropriate.
    If you’re at a formal event during the winter or fall or even early spring you should wear pantyhose for any cocktail length dress for one simple reason propriety. You can be sexy in pantyhose, and I would like to challenge anyone who says you can’t. Pantyhose do not age – they refine the legs. Women who show up when it’s cold out to a formal event with no pantyhose on look tacky, slutty and quite frankly stupid. You wear pantyhose. End of story.

    And, I’d like to point out that most designers are used to dressing up the rich and famous of California, who have never gone to a formal event in snow boots to change into heels once at the venue. It’s a different life in New England. And we wear pantyhose, young or old.

  2. Sarah

    I’m a 32-year-old skirt girl and I’ve always worn nude pantyhose. I wear them with everything from interview suits to denim skirts. I wear them to weddings and while shopping on weekends. I don’t consider myself to be a frumpy dresser, but I’m not on the edge of fashion either (no skinny jeans for me). I know what works for me and nude pantyhose work.

  3. Kerri

    I’m in my mid-30’s but will never go without my pantyhose, especially for work or a dressy occasion! It’s one thing to go bare legged with a sundress or shorts in the middle of summer, but otherwise, why wouldn’t you? They give you a slimmer profile and make your legs look better, especially if you have a light complexion like I do. They also hide underwear lines which are hideous! Have these “fashion guru’s” seen the average American woman? They should be passing out control top pantyhose on streetcorners!

  4. The only time, it seems to me, when pantyhose make you look older, as opposed to stockings with a garter belt, would be when in a state of half-undress. Which most of us past a certain age are not likely to be without advance warning. But then, you haven’t mentioned stockings and garter belt…where do they fit into all this?

  5. Pam

    Why do stockings make you look old? The short answer is that they don’t.

    The look of a leg in a stocking is smooth, sleek, and, yes, sexy (or, at least, sexier than the look of a unstockinged leg that is goosebumpy, unevenly toned, perhaps stubbled, or veined–sorry, if that’s harsh, have to be realistic here, and that goes for a woman at ANY age!)

    BUT the look of a leg in a stocking, besides looking good, is a look that is familiar, and that has been around for quite some time now. And THAT is why the so-called fashion mavens (fashion police) don’t like them. They don’t like anything that is familiar, that works, that’s been proven, or is comfortable, or sensible, or freeing…Why would they? They can’t make news, ‘fall collections’, or money by urging women to continue doing what’s worked before, and what feels comfortable, and workable!

    Most fashion advice is nonsense. Use your own eyes, and wear what looks and feels good, and doesn’t break the bank.

    Perhaps caring what ‘they’ think ages us more than anything else, no???

    (I loved Obama’s reply to the abuse he took over his so-called mom jeans that he wore them because they were comfortable, and what did people expect? How sexy is that?!)

  6. I totally agree! I have discovered a new line by Spanx called Assets. They make bottom and top bump and lump refiners. The cami is totally awesome and with the thin fabrics that are oh so popular, a cami that double duties from refining and hiding is a hit with me!
    Check them out!!

  7. The strangest response I have seen to the concept of no hose is waist-to-ankle Spanx to wear with trousers and sandals.

  8. Pam

    Forgot to add to my above comment: I really dislike wearing panty hose!

    But I dislike even more pronoucements from the fashion police.

    And even more than that I dislike this new trend of capitalizing off the greying of the boomer generation with, now, the spate of books and articles urging us all how ‘not to look–oh, the horror!–old’.

    Like I said above, nothing makes me feel older than worrying about being/gettin’/feelin’ old!

  9. I thought fishnets are for hookers and Halloween. I don’t know when it became trendy to do away with nylons but I’m with you, I think my legs look better with them. The starlets in California who are scary-skinny and spray-tanned might be able to get away with it, but normal people? Not so much.

  10. delectabledoodles

    Ah-mazing. I’ve recently begun grad school and will be wearing skirts to my assistantship. I think for skirts below the knee, going without hose is a-okay as long as you’re comfortable, but skirts above the knee?? Rein those legs in with a nylon.

  11. roller derby girls wear ’em AAAALLLL the time 😀

  12. cutewosie

    As a 28 year old woman, I would say that I do not wear pantyhose. I do wear heavier tights. I usually do this when wearing boots and a skirt or dress in the winter. On occasion, I will wear the tights with a pair of pumps and a skirt or dress in the winter too, just not as often.

    I would never in the summer dream of wearing tights or hose… it is too hot out. I am wondering why hose are such a big part of your wardrobe. The reason why I think that hose can age a person is because I have seen many older woman wear “nude” hose that do not match their skin tone and make them look worse than going all natural even without a tan or problem spots. I think that hose show a lack of confidence in this day in age. I do think that tights or hose with a pattern show a sense of style when worn with an appropriate outfit though. Fishnets today, are not all slutty and inappropriate. They make fishnets with smaller holes that can be very sophisticated and if you get a pair of sheer black tights with a seam in the back that can be both sexy and timeless.

    I honestly don’t know anyone my age that does wear hose… so maybe it is just that the younger generation rejects hose, so those that wear them are considered looking older based just on that fact. I would not critique you for wearing hose, but I am not going to join in.

  13. Being a 23 year old maybe I’m in the minority but I couldn’t imagine my life without wearing stockings/pantyhose. They help my feet from sticking to the soles of my shoes and they keep my legs nice in the winter. I only wear nude stockings, I couldn’t imagine going too daring with the colors or ‘tan’, but I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t wear them! I know most women my age, and at work, don’t wear stockings at all, bare legs for all. That’s personally not my style, the stockings I think give off a more professional look and overall ‘clean’ up the dress/outfit you have on. I vote go for the stockings! We’ve all named tons of reasons why not wearing stockings could be bad, but the negative things we’ve listed about wearing stockings aren’t all that compelling.

  14. consumermate

    I thought fishnets are for hookers and Halloween. I don’t know when it became trendy to do away with nylons but I’m with you, I think my legs look better with them. The starlets in California who are scary-skinny and spray-tanned might be able to get away with it, but normal people? Not so much.

    • Lone Limner

      I have wrestled with pantyhose conundrum for years now and given it a lot of thought. The reason young women don’t wear hose is that they can. Their legs are, for the most part, lean, seen more sun and vein free. It’s a way of flaunting their youth and to look just a wee bit rebellious. It sets them apart from older women that need a bit of camouflage. Pantyhose give aging legs a more youthful look. Having said all that, I don’t wear traditional nude pantyhose but I do wear nude fishnets. They give you some coverage but they breathe. You really should try them. And, BTW, I am a 60 year old native Californian who is not at all skinny and never had a spray tan and I look pretty hot in my fishnets and pencil skirts.

  15. H

    Stockings are getting rather popular lately thanks to Gossip Girl.

    I never liked the idea of nude stockings, so I’d wear it with the black stockings. But I live in a country without the four seasons so I’ll probably never have this problem.

  16. Jen

    I guess I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. Panty-hose are horrible. Panty-hose do make women look dated. They are one of those horrible creations that was meant to beautify one area (legs) and failed at that, but also it has even more horrifying effects on other parts of the body. Muffin-top…need I say more. That extra strength, supposed to suck and tuck you in spandex band they so inconveniently place at the top of panty-hose exposes any extra squish a woman has in the mid section. Panty-hose don’t do anything but add a strange contrast in your body’s skin tone, turn blemishes a slightly different hue, and pinch…oh, they pinch. I side with Isaac and the fashion cops on this one. Wear an alternative if you insist on the cocktail dress, the said legging, and yes, fishnets are an option (they make very nice looking, non-slutty, micro fishnets now.

    Besides, who has ever really thought “Boy, it’s chilly out. I sure am glad I wore my panty-hose. I’m nice an warm now”?

  17. Ok, first of all, these are men that have never worn pantyhose. They do not have to worry about wearing anything under their skirt/dress (that I know of, LOL) and they won’t get vericose veins from standing all day in half of the jobs that we women have. While I do appreciate their fashion advise, there comes a time when you have to do what is sensible and comfortable to you. I am required to wear them to work and if I am in a business or more dressed up social situation I am wearing them. They tuck in the tummy, support your legs, and offer a light to dark sheen on otherwise sometimes not 20yr old anymore legs. If you have a tan, freshly shave and put a light coat of baby oil on your legs (and can stand blisters from your shoes), your legs can look fab also. There is a foot product out now that you rub on your heels that I hear works great to protect your bare feet in shoes too. Bulges, vericose veins and poorly hydrated skin are what make you look old, not hose! Get a garterbelt and stockings if you prefer and feel young and sexy while making your legs look great. They can be surprisingly comfortable!

    • Dane

      Christina” I am a man and I wear pantyhose daily,I do not find them to be uncomfortable at all,I like the support I get and they feel nice as well,the do have them for men also,many men who ride bicycles wear them or tights.

  18. News to me!

    Wow–pantyhose is out? I had no idea!!!!!

    I was wondering today why the ladies on the morning news station seemed to be bare-legged. I thought perhaps they were wearing very sheer pantyhose or had no idea how bad it looked to go “hose-less.” But now I learn that WEARING pantyhose looks bad—it’s terribly out of date, apparently! Wow! You learn something new every day.
    I HATE pantyhose—I’ve hated it for years. It’s SO uncomfortable—especially when it’s 115 degrees outside. I hate it so much that I finally gave up wearing dresses and on formal occasions I wear dress pants instead so that no one can tell what I’m wearing underneath.
    But now I learn that I’m just being fashionable by refusing to wear hose. Again—wow! You learn something new every day.
    I agree with you, that it looks better to wear the pantyhose. I thought that was a given. But there must be people who feel differently, or there wouldn’t be this general consensus that pantyhose is out of style. In any case, it’s good news to me! Who knows, I might just start wearing dresses again! 🙂

  19. kim

    This has been an ongoing issue for me as well. At 32, I feel it is time to look more sophisticated for occassions such as weddings or professional events. I am certainly not on the edge of fashion, but I do like to dress up some classics with a trendy item or two. My husband thinks it is absurd that I don’t wear pantyhose for every nice occassion!

    That said…I think pantyhose make you look old when they are of poor quality or don’t fit you well. There are some very sexy looking sheer, smoothing stockings out there. Check out all the ladies in London, they RARELY leave their legs bare and they have easy/cheaper access to Wolford’s high quality products. Just stear clear of the brown/nude hose that bag at the ankles that come out of a plastic egg for $1 at the grocery and you’ll probably come away looking classy, sexy, and age appropriate!

  20. I say wear the hose. Nothing is sillier than the young things with goose-pimply legs in winter weather – they just look brainless. Hose do add a modicum of warmth, and a well-fitting pair can be really, really comfortable. I wear them all winter, not in summer, never with open toe shoes. Nude for day, and sometimes black with a black skirt but not always. I think it’s fun to wear colors if they coordinate with a charming or funky suit. But the designers saying “no, not ever” are not in touch with the real world.

  21. Tamara

    Stockings in the right weight, and color are very beautiful on the skin. Sheer and the more sheer the better gives a silky, shimmer to legs and makes a sophisticated look come together.

  22. Stephanie

    I wear pantyhose and I’m 22 I have way too many scars and imperfections to my legs, and the nude stockings always work, my legs look flawless. I agree if they’re poor quality or fit wrong it looks weird, but that’s why they have pros to help!

  23. I am 35 and think that pantyhose should be worn. I just think it makes legs look better, they look smooth and evenly colored. I don’t like to see women of any age going around without stockings unless they are wearing a very casual sundress.

  24. T la

    I’m 19 and I wear them.

    I have opaque black ones that I wear under an “almost too short” skirt/dress of an appropriate colour. It keeps it from riding up and even if it does you can’t see anything. I also have sheer black hose with patterns such as diamonds on them (not fishnets!). I’ve been thinking of buying nude hose/stockings. Also, none of my stockings have that “control top” junk on it… way too uncomfortable!

    Unfortunately the summer where I live has been cold and rainy so I have worn them numerous times in the past 4 months. I just bought them in may, so I’ve yet to try them out in the winter!

  25. Drew

    I live in South Florida. I own tights for traveling north in winter or for that one cold day in Feb. The rest of the time, I’m wearing pants or I’m going bare-legged.
    I will not wear “nude” stockings for any reason because I have never seen a pair that didn’t make me look like I had a bad, fake tan on my legs. I am very pale so if I am going to wear tights or stockings, they are going to be black or some funky color so it’s obvious they are there as an accessory and not as a fake-and-bake alternative.

  26. Mariopolis

    I love it!

  27. Follow your joy and you will always look beautiful… even if you’re breaking “fashion rules”!

  28. isabeljo

    Haha this was a hoot. Entertaining read and very practical. I am a 21 year old design student and I wear panty hose. I own opaque and sheer panty hose, in black, nude, and in betweens, I wear tights and I go bare.

    The fashion designers have been brainwashed into believing that their preferences and trends (for the time being) are “rules”. They look good but other people do to.

    Old ladies who no longer care probably keep their panty hose for years and years and wear them when then lose elasticity or dress in the dark and end up with the wrong shade to match their dress. They used to be classy women too, but they’ve given panty hose a bad reputation.

    Panty hose (done right) is classy while bare legs (done right) is sexy. I change stockings as I do pants, whatever matches, whatever is comfortable. And to echo someone’s comment up there, yes they do keep problem skirts from riding up thank God for that.

  29. Pam

    This post is inspiring comments, at least from me (fashion fascinates me).

    After just reading through the comments posted so far, I was struck by the couple from women in their 20’s/early 30’s who said that even ‘at work’ they do not wear stockings. At first that sounded odd, then I recalled my trip into the Chicago loop yesterday, and my return ride home on the el at the peak of rush hour and how people were dressed. Not dressed is really, to be honest, more like it.

    I don’t miss wearing my beautiful suits and silk blouses (I was practicing law) in hot and humid summer weather, but I do miss–sometimes!–the suits and blouses! And, yesterday I saw only a small handful of young women dressed comparably to how we ‘had to’ dress in the early 80’s to be taken seriously in a professional field.

    In other words, of course one doesn’t ‘have to’ wear hose these days–given how casually women (and men) of all ages are dressing, they’d look out of place. Only the few (in Chicago, perhaps more in New York?) women who ‘dress’ for work AND wear skirts or dresses will need to confront this issue, and that’s a very small number, based on my observations here. It’s kind of like debating whether a man should wear a tie, or what kind of tie when more and more hardly do anymore.

    None of this would be a problem, of course, if something pretty and fun had taken the place of all those pricey tailored outfits, but–egads–look at most of us!

  30. I believe fashion is what you make of it. Some people can rock certain looks, while others should go home and change.

    If pantyhoes is about comfort more than fashion…..I would weigh what my options are and be realistic with myself about how others perceive me and how I perceive myself.

    If am “ok” with how it looks because I am comfortable than screw anyone else opinion. But if I am self conscious about it why make myself feel that way, find alternatives.

  31. Someone mentioned that wearing hose evoked a “lack of confidence” in your body. What I don’t understand about modern society is the ridiculous ideology that is promoted everywhere you look: the more naked you are, the more “confident” you are. I’m 18 years old and, to be quite honest, I’ve never gone without hose. In fact, the first time I wore a skirt without it was this summer visiting some friends in Texas (’cause I didn’t have any with me), and man… I almost felt like I was going commando.
    In my eyes, wearing hose definitely professionalizes your image a great deal, and a lot of that is because it’s more modest. It says, “I’m here to do my job, not get you to wonder what’s up my skirt.”

    I put that “fashion” advice on the shelf with “never wear sandals after Labor Day.” Where I am, post-Labor Day can easily be 90+ degrees.

    • cutewosie

      It is not about being more naked… it is about saying hey, I am comfortable with my legs and if I am wearing a knee length skirt or dress, I don’t need to wear hose. I am actually kind of shocked that you felt naked without hose on in Texas in the summer. It is wicked hot in Texas in the summer.

      Also just because I don’t wear hose that doesn’t mean that I want people to wonder what is up my skirt. I think that the type of skirt or dress you wear invokes that thought… not the lack of panty-hose.

      Also, are you equating modesty with professionalism? I am thinking about plenty of items of clothing that are modest and really not professional.

      • My main point is whether or not one wears hose is up to the individual and not to some “fashion guru.” Personally, I tend to favor it in most situations because I see it as an enhancing addition both modestly and professionally. That I’m disgusted with our culture’s using “confidence” as an excuse to undress itself was more of a general rant, though I could relate it specifically. As you said, I think the clothes themselves are the bigger issue.

        I’m not equating modesty to professionalism at all, nor am I equating hose to modesty. It’s always how you wear it and the intentions with which you do so. Nothing is black and white. (I sometimes wish things were more black and white–there are too many shades of gray. lol)

        Oh, and I think the awkward feeling I experienced had a lot to do with going hose-less for the first time. But pantyhose is definitely a big plus for those of us who have pet peeves regarding undergarment lines and are too stingy to invest in those Spanx things.

  32. Let me preface this by saying I am a 25 year old living in SoCal. I used to live in place where it was quite cold all winter so I do understand both sides of the weather/functionality debate.

    I think part of the issue is that many young people find them uncomfortable (and some of your more mature ladies probably do too!). They are restrictive and pull up too high. No one wants a spandex feeling undergarment pulling up to the wire of their bra. Why do they make this part of the hose so long???!!!??? They can leave an unflattering roll in your tummy if you are wearing something clingy and do not have 6-pack abs. I hated wearing them as a little girl to church. Once I was able to buy my own clothes and dress myself it was nice to be able to decide to ditch them if I wanted.

    I do still, of course, wear them for job interviews, conferences and other professional dress occasions. However, I usually opt for the thigh highs from Victoria’s Secret. They make kinds that stay up on their own without the use of a garter belt. For me this is a great solution.

    In terms of looking old for wearing them I think part of it could be the style. The ones that look really shiney are not complimenting at all. It looks very unnatural; are your legs that shiney when you don’t have them on? Doubtful. I also think it has to do with evolving styles. People do not dress as formally as they used to. We do not live in the days of men in fedoras and suits and women in dresses everyday. Office dress codes have become much more relaxed. I have never work in an office that requires a tie or full on business attire. I think younger people might associate pantyhose with older sytles of fashion when women wore dresses daily.

    As for fishnets I think the people on here saying they are slutty are hilarious. Go to Europe ladies! EVERYONE wears them (even church goers) and they can look very nice if you do it right. The kind with teeny, tiny netting are what I would recommend for a more refined look; you can get the netting so small that from a distance they almost look like the solid version of pantyhose, but without that shine. I will say the fishnets that are very stringy with giant holes do not look very nice at all and can be trashy for sure. Also, I have several pairs that are netty, but in different patterns – diamonds, varying sizes holes, argyle, twisted verticle stripes. They help spice up a solid colored dress by offering some texture and pattern.

    So I guess my vote is to wear them should you feel the need, but just beaware of the style. Investing in high quality hose is a worthwhile way to spend your money. However, in the 21st century they are in no way mandatory for most functions.

  33. cutewosie

    I am very interested in knowing what is so “inappropriate” about not wearing hose. I take pride in taking care of my legs so that they are very presentable without hose on them. I run 3 to 6 times a week. I shave every other day. I moisturize daily and I have a slight tan to my normally whiter coloring. I also tend to wear beautiful open toed shoes throughout the year. My legs are not all goose bumpy without hose. I wear boots if it is too cold and I want to wear a dress or skirt because they honestly provide more warmth than a pair of sheer hose. I am not saying that wearing hose is “bad” if that is what you choose, but I am clearly lost as to why many people think that you need to wear hose to be presentable or professional. I am an educator and am honestly one of the most professionally dressed at my school.

    BTW – I did say that I will wear patterned tights in the winter and they are chosen to be another accessory to what I am already wearing.

  34. makeuporcoke

    Yes, I tend to wear stockings. For dance recitals through high school, I wore tights, even if the costume involved pants. And I wear stockings with dresses or skirts for occassions unless it is unbearably hot outside. So many of my 20s peers never wear them though, and I am as stumped as you. What about work? Unless the dress is covering the majority of my knees, there is no question whether I will wear stockings or not.

  35. Honestly, I think that pantyhose really do date a person. Bare legs, moisturized with lotion, really do look just fine! I think the only reason that older people wear pantyhose still is that they feel inmodest when they don’t have anything covering their legs, so even though it’s “Bare” or “Nude” colored, it helps them feel better about their presentation.

    Spray on tans are so easy and affordable (both in salon or in-a-bottle), it’s easy to make your legs look nice and summery and go without the hose. It’s just a matter of daring yourself to do it and realizing that you look just dandy (:

  36. amandagibbs

    How cant pantyhose be deemed as old? Ok let’s discuss this a little bit. Clearly Isaac here has no idea what is proper or not. I agree with Spinninglist these designers do not take into account that everyone in the world does not live in Sunny CA. Now given i know there are designers in NY but forgive me as I cringe at the idea that they really have to walk more than 4 steps through the snow when their limo drops them off.

    Please…. I can tell you that I am not a fan of colored hose, I think “Nude” is the best way to go, and most professions still demand you wear hose with open toed shoes and skirts.

    I am 26 and I will gladly acknowledge that I wear panty hose when I dress up for work or when its super cold outside and I am going to a formal event, sometimes maybe not even just to a formal event.

    With that being said, one thing to steer clear of are the SHINY panty hose, those are a no no, at least go with something natural and you should be good. More times than not people won’t notice you are wearing panty hose anyway.

  37. delianeal

    I live in Phoenix and have to be in court most of the time – for credibility purposes, I’m giving you both my climate and workplace issues.

    After being really honest with myself about how pudgy, swollen and painful my poor feet looked at the end of a day spent in my beloved high heels – and after suffering through a Phoenix August during which I had to wear pantyhose almost every day – I donated ALL of my business suits with skirts and now only wear suits with pants and a wide variety of cute flats.

    And NO damn hose – knee-high, fishnet, opaque, nude or otherwise!

    If we’re visiting some place cold, I may wear tights and a skirt with flats or boots, but that’s about it.

  38. danile

    can i pos the story on our site?


  39. Pingback: Pantyhose or No: Like the Plague or A Girl’s Best Friend? « Brittle Skillet

  40. Kate, thanks for giving this dilemma the shrift it deserves. I felt moved to write a post about your post.
    Had to share it. Hope you don’t mind. The comments are precious in their own right too.

  41. I am 19 from Singapore. This entry is an interesting read and certainly very controversial.

    Personally among my friends, we have always associated nude panty hose with Aunties in their 50s. So i have always been sticking to tights and leggings/ opaque stockings.

    But due to my recent skin problem that resulted in me having leg scars, i am seriously considering in investing in a quality panty hose. I think your image will depend on the quality of it. Wearing a thick and poor quality panty hose will make your legs look artificial. I believe that panty hose ought to be seen as a part of your skin and not any additional “loose skin”.

    As for stockings, I usuallly wear it black and match it with mini skirts. I think any dress is appropriate to be worn with leggings/ stockings. Just make sure that your skirt/ dress is not below your knee when you wear your stockings. Otherwise, I think you will look short. 😦

  42. Bec

    I completely fail to understand – what is the difference between tights, pantyhose, and stockings?!

  43. Bec

    Also, I would like to say I am 20 years old and I happily wear stockings/tights/pantyhose/whatever they are. The ones in the photo. But I love bright red ones 😀 They’re funky!

  44. lifefullofgrace

    I could not agree more. Here, here. I too, see the debate a matter of how someone was raised versus what fashion, (hot or cold) could blow in with next.

  45. RuthieJAY

    This post leads me to think that the fashion concerning pantyhose is affected by a country’s climate. I’m from the UK, where there a few days in summer whereupon it might be warm enough to go without wearing them. Apart from that however, my friends and I (I’m 21) *rely* on pantyhose – what we call ‘tights’ over here.

    In fact, patterned tights, along with leggings, are regarded as extremely fashionable here at the moment. I wouldn’t have gone to the dinners and Balls that I did at the end of university this summer without putting a pair of translucent tights on under what were usually short dresses.

  46. pea

    I am a graphic designer for a chain of stores that sells lingerie, about two years ago, we ordered a pile of stockings, thigh highs, stay ups, fishnets, and full hose. We ordered about 10 of each style in black, red, white and nude. Two years later, we still have all the nude ones. All of them. We were a little surprised! No one buys nude anymore. I, like you, am a little dumbfounded.
    A girl that works in the retail part of my company always wears nude stockings. She always looks delightfully pin-up girl-ish and put together.

    I hope you keep rocking the stockings!

  47. erniebufflo

    I’m 24. I don’t even own any “stockings” and never ever wear them. I wouldn’t say hose make someone look “old” but perhaps “old fashioned.” None of my friends, except those involved in very conservative religions, wear hose. They’re binding, uncomfortable, and make me feel like I can’t breathe, as they somehow manage to both constrict my midsection and droop in the crotch. They require constant hiking up. They tend to get snagged. They’re a huge waste of money. For what? So your legs can look like Barbie? In the winter, I just don’t wear skirts except on special occasions, and then, I’m going to be indoors most of the time, so going bare-legged is still perfectly fine. I think the idea that our legs need to look like something other than LEGS is the real issue here.

  48. Debbie in Oklahoma

    Obviously, those designers are in their 20’s and 30’s and haven’t enjoyed the legs you are referring to! I am enjoying those 50’s legs and I agree with you completely! I still wear hose and always will! My granddaughters and daughter-in-law don’t wear them, but their days will come! They spend hours in the tanning booth so I say enjoy it while you can! I still use the nude, off black and even blue! Since most anything goes in the fashion world, so will the panty hose! They will go on and on and on!

    • Jo-Ann

      I hear you! I’m reading these posts about how a 25 year old KNOWS what it’s like to be 50. I’m comfortable with my age and want to dress appropriately — not like an old, frumpy aunty, but as a tall, slim, sophisticated, elegant woman. And, that means pantyhose. I think it’s safe to say that the average 50-year-old woman’s legs are a blank canvas for every blue vein, red spot, blemish, and irritation. You know when you see an overweight woman in a mini skirt and belly shirt and you feel embarrassed for her? Obviously, she feels comfortable, but you know it’s just not a pretty site and if she took a different approach to her wardrobe she could look attractive. That’s what the average bare-legged 50-year-old woman looks like to me — unsightly, unattractive, and inappropriate.

      The other thing that I find amusing about this no-pantyhose debate are all the women I see limping around because of the huge blisters on their feet. News flash: bloody heals are NOT attractive. Limping is NOT attractive. That grimace that doesn’t leave your face is NOT attractive. Smelly feet are NOT attractive.

  49. Radoe

    This sounds like the time I heard Oprah say “who needs a slip…if you don’t wear one all a person will see is a leg”. I went out on a sunny without a slip and felt so exposed. So much for liberation.

  50. Amy B

    If the hose look old and frumpy (wrong color, don’t fit well, etc.) then you look old and frumpy. If they look good (lumpless and an appropriate color) then you look good. Ta-da, end of story!

  51. Pingback: dustbury.com » Fashion denier

  52. Val

    I’m 28 and from Canada. I wear pants on a daily basis to work, so this usually isn’t an issue. When I do get dressed up in a skirt or dress, and it’s a cold out, I’ll certainly wear pantyhose or tights, and yes, that includes nude pantyhose! It just kind of feels more dressed up. There are also sexier kinds of leggings (without the ‘control top’ and stockings — with and without garters — which I wear sometimes too, although that’s more for the bedroom!)

    Honestly I just wear whatever I think is appropriate for the occasion. Bare legs, sheer nude pantyhose, fishnets, it’s all good. I don’t need to follow anyone’s rules!

  53. Donna From Philly

    I don’t know what all the hate with wearing Pantyhose. I wear them everyday no matter what the weather is Hot or cold (and my job does NOT require it. In the summer I wear them with shorts. With new fibers, Pantyhose have come a long way since the 60, 70, and even 80’s and they are much more comfortable to wear. I wear the higher end hose, and they don’t run as easy. I get on about 3-5 wears for each newly opened hose.
    You should think of hose as make-up for the legs. If you take a 10 – 30 minutes in the morning to makeup your face and do your hair, and pick an outfit, then why not take an extra 5 minutes to makeup your legs and get the conpleat look.
    I know I get lots of compliments for men, and from some woman on how nice my legs look. Ladies will ask what brand I am wearing, and where can they purchase them.
    Men like to see ladies made up, and they love to see hose on them. I know my husband does, that’s on of the other reasons I wear them. Most men are afraid to tell there girlfriends or wives about this. So I say find a brand of hose you like the feel and fit, and start showing your legs in hose. Hollywood is starting to wear hose again, and they are showing up on runways as well.

    Katie Perry, Lady GA GA, is one of the Younger Girls that are embracing Hose wearing.

  54. Relayer

    Full disclosure… I’m a guy. I would like to give my thoughts on this subject without calling it a “guy’s perspective”. First I think women should wear what makes them comfortable and at the same time accomplishes what they need in projecting themselves in their environment. Here’s what I mean. Hose aside, there are many decisions in dressing oneself. You can look anyway you feel appropriate. But we are social animals and it does matter how you look if you aspire to certain career paths or to attract the type of friends you want in your life. There are professions where it matters a lot. Men as lawyers wear suits. One could say that it’s a shame they need to conform but it is a projection of how they see themselves in the public eye. Most don’t mind because it “positions” them where they need to be. Looking good instills confidence in those around them. Imagine showing up in court in a plaid “used car salesman” suit. Not wrong… but not good. And while I can sympathize with you about hose being uncomfortable especially in the heat, so is a buttoned collar and wearing a tie all day.

    So, dress as you want to and *need* to in accordance with your goals. Nothing else matters.

    Now, I maintain that you can ask almost anyone, guy or girl, to rate the look of professionalism or sexiness in a side by side comparison of a lady wearing hose and a lady going bare and it’s likely to go in favor of hose. They make legs look nice, period. I also believe women feel sexy in hose when dressing for a fun occasion, which may exclude dressing for the workplace.

    Now for the guy’s perspective (did you think I could resist?). I think women have a gift in the variety of fashion they can choose from. Women in Europe, Barcelona in my experience, know this and dress to express their self confidence and their desire to project a very feminine look. Many wear skirts and hose. All colors and styles. There is so much to choose from these days!

    I like legs in hose. They look good and they feel good to touch and they offer so much variety to that look and feel that bare cannot compete with. They work on women of all ages just as a suit on a man works for all ages when it fits well and is styled well. And lastly, I would love to trade emails with ladies who embrace their hose ;).

  55. Carol

    I am a 56 year old plus size woman. My legs were awesome when I was in my 20’s and maybe 30’s. Now? Not so much. I really doubt that my spider veined, blotchy, lumpy legs look so much better naked than sheathed in a 1/60″ piece of fabric. Makes absolutely no sense. My 31 year old daughter just rolls her eyes at me when I wear nude panyhose. She tells me it is “ok” to wear sheer black or opaque tights in colder weather. Thank God! How did I ever dress myself for years without making a fool out of myself without her help??!!! Hmmmm.
    WEAR WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT LOOKS GOOD TO YOU!!! The chances of me running into Isaac Mizrahi are quite slim so I guess I am safe from his ridicule! Whew!

  56. Currently my biggest problem in the workplace is communication with the 20-somethings who work on my clients’ web teams. They seem astonished that I know how to use an iPhone and understand more about Google ranking and online communities than they do.

    To them, nude pantyhose are weird things that grandma from Tulsa wears to weddings or funerals. So if I wear a skirt to a business meeting, it’s with sandals, black tights, or very up-to-date boots. More often, I just wear a pair of dress pants from the Gap with ankle boots — that says “business” without getting into the whole skirt thing.

  57. Jake

    I am an English Guy aged 42 and I love ladies in sheer hose of stockings, keep up the wearing ladies xxxJake

  58. what a great site and informative posts, I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

    I’m Out! 🙂

  59. Deanna

    I teach at a major Business School and own a business. I wear hosiery everyday with a skirt, and am astonished that women think they can parade around the office with bare legs and be taken seriously. Our freshman and sophomore gals say they have not been in a pair of nylons in years, and then wonder why they don’t get taken seriously for the high power jobs. I tire of the bitching about how uncomfortable pantyhose are – I imagine wearing long sleeve shirts, ties, and jackets as men do even in summer, cannot be very comfy. We do not allow women to interview at our college with bare legs. Mika on Morning Joe on MSNBC never wears hosiery, so look in and see how seriously the men on the show take her. Bare legs are lazy and unprofessional, period.

  60. I saw your web site when I was looking for something unrelated, but this page was one of the first sites listed in Bing, your blog must be insanely popular! Continue the good work!

    • kateevanscorreia

      Hi Betty
      Thanks for your comments. I’m curious, though. What were you searching for that this blog item came up in Bing?

  61. Sophie

    I have questions about not wearing anything over your feet. It seems to me that in the city feet without some type of coverage get dirty. Feet also sweat, which may make shoes smelly. Additionally, if you need to take your shoes off, say at the airport or in a fitting room, do you really want your bare feet touching the floor? Blech! Lately with all the open-toed shoes, ballet flats, and flip-flops, I am beginning to worry that pantyhose AND socks are both out of style.

  62. Lynn

    I live in Minnesota…of course I wear hose!!! It looks ridiculous when it’s 30 below and be seen in bare legs. Plus..I’m 50, and pantyhose are so sheer and silky now…not like the stuff from the grocery store that looked like shrunken figs…plus the new Hanes ones go up to the bra and hold that tummy in and there is no waist line…like Spanx…with legs!

  63. Angelina

    So I love nude tights, and I was surprised to figure out how out of style they are. They always make my legs look better and half of the world can’t even tell (I have only nude, I don like black or fishnets) and I also don’t understand why. I always wear em (formal, school, Halloween, etc.) they simply make my legs look better and keep me warm… I don’t understand why they make people look old or why out of style, lol.

  64. jenny

    I don’t think pantyhose are uncomfortable. I am 60 and my legs look pretty good for my age, but I would never wear a skirt without pantyhose/or thigh high hose simply because I think going bare-legged at work looks tacky. I don’t wear them with slacks when I’m wear flats. Also, I think it’s okay to wear “casual” skirts without hose, but not at work. I was looking at this blog because I want to wear a denim knee length skirk on casual Friday, but can’t go bear – legged….not with these old legs…which is probably why everyone is equating old with pantyhose.

  65. jenny

    I don’t think pantyhose are uncomfortable. I am 60 and my legs look pretty good for my age, but I would never wear a skirt without pantyhose/or thigh high hose simply because I think going bare-legged at work looks tacky. I don’t wear them with slacks when I’m wearing flats. Also, I think it’s okay to wear “casual” skirts without hose, but not at work. I was looking at this blog because I want to wear a denim knee length skirt on casual Friday, but can’t go bear – legged….not with these old legs…which is probably why everyone is equating old with pantyhose.

  66. italianinvegas

    I love seeing women in pantyhose and or stockings, I think more women should wear…especially if they have great legs!

  67. Dane

    As a man I love the look of suntan or beige pantyhose on a lady, I never cared for the bare leg look, I feel it looks terrible,if I see a group of women the one wearing pantyhose will always get my attention first,I remember the days when women always wore hose, even with shorts or under their jeans, I miss those days and long for them again.

  68. HappyBunny

    I loathe pantyhose and am so glad that I live in Southern CA, where they are rarely seen. What is attractive about shiny, fake-tan legs? Even better, when people wear them with too-light shoes, that looks so lovely :O My opinion is that pantyhose were invented by men to keep women down. Seriously though, they do make a person look frumpy, sort of a grandma-ish thing to wear, like a slip (another thing no one wears and good riddance to that, too). Time marches on, ladies, get with it (btw, I am 47 and if you dont like my legs, don’t look at them!)

    • Dane

      Dont worry HappyBunny” you wont get two glances from me,the first glance I will say YUK” NO NYLONS”the other turn off would be your man hating attitude.

  69. Jim

    Wow!! I was looking for nylons to purchase, and came upon this site. I am a guy and I wear nylons all the time. I started in high school. I don’t understand why so many women do not like wearing them. They add so much to your outfit. You look more professional, dressed up and of course sexier. I work in a Beauty Salon, so I wear them regularly with shorts or pants and a nice heel. Many men wear nylons, but do not dress in public. Just like any woman if you want to look nice in nylons you need to dress appropriately. Especiallly if you are a man in nylons, you must shave your legs. I can’t imagine not wearing nylons. I think men look better in the natural colors, tan, barely there, nude. The best nylons are ultra sheer or 10-12 denier garter stockings.

    • Dane

      Good for you Jim,I wear pantyhose everyday myself, I wear them openly with shorts or under my pants,I don’t think most people care,I have met women who liked it and some who didn’t, their loss I say,many women don’t like wearing them because some fashion magazine editor(who is paid a lot of money by fashion designers to say they are out of fashion) they are out of fashion,either that or they buy cheapo ones from the grocery store or the wrong size, a woman wearing suntan or beige pantyhose will always get my attention.

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