Pantyhose: To Wear Or Not To Wear?

* This post was updated for 2013. Click here.*
+ + + 

That is the question. I Despise pantyhose! Yes, with a capital D! Why am I bringing this up?

As usual, I'm doing some online job searching and reading career related articles. I found an interesting one asking "Should You Wear Panty Hose to a Job Interview?"

My first thought is "yes" even though I hate them in real life. I usually don't see many comments on Alison's Job Searching Blog, but this post generated 38 comments.

No doubt it's a very hot summer topic. Below are a few of the comments.
"I hate panty hose, but I think it’s important to look professional when interviewing for any office-based job. Women with very tan, smooth and unblemished legs, and shoes that cover much of the foot, can probably get away with not wearing hose, as it can be hard to tell the difference. With a pants suit, a woman can wear trouser socks."

"While I hate them, however I would wear pantyhose to an interview. The only other time I wear them is for formal business events. I think the pantyhose rift is generational. Many professional women over 50 have a hard time understanding why women under 50 detest some of their antiquated mid century ideas about a woman’s “professional dress”."

"Who wears a dress or skirt to an interview these days anyway? I say pant suits and trouser socks all the way!"

"Believe it or not, there are companies where slacks are not allowed for women and they are required to wear panty hose - year round. On a hot day (it is 105 in OKC today), I have great compassion for them. But, as mentioned in an earlier email, when in Rome - - do as the Romans. I saw 50 a long time ago and I can tell you no woman over 45 should wear a skirt at/above her knees without hose. Longer skirt - - no problem. But gravity wins and it’s first conquest is your knees!!! I know."

"As a man who works in an office environment I have grown up with strong gender roles. Not to sound like I am 90 years old, I am 31, but I believe in a man who wears a suit and a woman who either wairs a pant suit or a blouse and skirt with hosiery. Many women from a young age detest wearing pantyhose because they feel it is an uncomfortable garment, but as another woman already wrote, stay ups, or thigh highs as they are called in my neck of the woods, are a perfectly suitable alternative. A classic garter belt with stockings may revive imagery of something out of a steamy novelette, but also works around the office. Although some women may feel that only the old women around the office wear nylons, I believe it does look much more professional than bare legged women I see interning during the summer walking around in flip flops. I will admit, that as a man, and even though there shoouldnt be room for this around the office, I feel a women’s legs look much better in hosiery, than not. But thats just a personal opinion."

"All the men commenting on this should be required to wear pantyhose for one day before they are allowed to speak. Otherwise, you just sound like misogynist [d------]. This is a cultural problem that needs to be overcome. Why are you assessing a woman’s legs in the workplace anyways? Personally, I am not opposed to looking nice in the office and wearing the occasional skirt. But as a young professional, the idea of wearing pantyhose to work makes me want to gag, and furthermore, I think in a progressive workplace it makes you appear really out of touch and more importantly - weird as hell."

"Pantyhose are SO tacky and out-of-fashion that I’d immediately look askance if an applicant did wear them! Tights if the weather is inclement, sure, but nude pantyhose? Awful. Gross. I’d rather wear a paper sack. It isn’t 1993, people. Pantyhose are no longer worn, and wearing them makes you look like a giant dorky idiot. I guess if you’re working for a phenomenally conservative place in the midwest somewhere you might need them, but otherwise, ditch the nylons. For the love of god PLEASE."

Some very interesting comments. For me personally, I like to wear warm cotton tights in the fall, winter, and into the first few chilly days of spring. But once it warms up, I prefer bare legs. I remember during law school, when we were deciding which rotation to choose, one of the benefits of being in school during the summer instead of on co-op, was not having to wear pantyhose. And it was a definite plus!

I agree that this might be a generational issue. What do you think?

*Updated 7/16/2013* I've revisited this topic with a new blog post here.

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Nance said…
I wear pantyhose because I think they give a more professional, polished look; my feet hurt like hell if I don't wear something inside my dress shoes (heels); bare legs look plain awful if they're not perfectly tanned and shaven. Period. As far as the commenter who said "it isn't 1993" and that I might look like a "giant dork", well, perhaps she is about 21 and wears flipflops to work and every place else. Horrors.
S said…
If I'm just wearing a sundress or a casual skirt, then no pantyhose required.

But if I'm wearing a skirt suit, then yes, I need pantyhose. In my experience, very few real women (meaning women who aren't cast in t.v. and movies) have skin tone on their legs that is even enough to look good without hose. I scoff at the notion that pantyhose are "out of fashion". There would be nothing fashionable about me in some of my nicer suits if I didn't wear pantyhose.
Eva said…
You know, I have to confess that I don't wear pantyhose anymore...not even in the winter...not even with business suits. I just hate them too much. But, I always make sure my legs are shaved and lotioned up.
T. said…
I'm not even sure I own a suitable pair of hose any more! Suddenly I am thankful for scrubs...
pantyhose45 said…
I think women should wear pantyhose, Esp nude pantyhose.It is the right thing to do. It finishes off any out fit and there is nothing sexier.I am a man and I would gladly wear pantyhose if my female partner got turned on by them, like myself. Ladies, Don't listen to these pantyhose haters. They are all 21 yr old flip flop wearers or women who don't want to look professional.
K. said…
Pantyhose should be a fashion faux pas! No one actually believes the flesh tone stuff is your real skin! And why would you want flesh colored tights??? So bizarre. Like another writer mentioned, I prefer colored tights or NO pantyhose. Yuck. Plus, it's impossible to find the right skin tone.
Good topic Lisa!
Suldog said…
Never wear them, myself, nor do I enjoy them on others. This probably doesn't help much, but I felt obligated to say something silly and that qualifies.
I used to wear pantyhose back then when I was living in Paris. Now there is no need for pantyhose in California. Not even with suits :P
Donna said…
I wear them everyday no matter what the weather is Hot or cold. And I work at a job that I'm not required to wear them. 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. Find a brand of hose you like the feel and fit, and start showing your legs in hose. It is a more professional look, and show you care about your appearance. Hollywood is starting to wear hose again, and they are showing up on runways as well.
They are making a come back.
Donna From Philly
If I am wearing pumps/heels, then gotta wear panty hose. They should not be worn with sandals, which I only wear in summer. In winter time, I often wear black tights. I do wear dresses and skits a lot still to work. I am not a big fan of pants, other than jeans for casual wear.

Esme said…
I cannot stand them but as a professional find them necessary for the professional look.

Anali's I am giving away a copy of Obama's Blackberry and thought you would be interested-it is hysterical.

Here is the link
Gary Marsh said…
There are women who wear tights in cooler weather. There are women who love shopping for tights, to find the perfect pair for a particular outfit.

I'm a man (whose wife wears hosiery) and I can understand not wanting to wear them in warm weather. That's fine. But what about cooler weather? If you wear tights then what's the big difference in wearing pantyhose?

If you're single you might like to know that more men will check you out if you're wearing hosiery than if you're not. Legs surely can be a way to get noticed. Sheer pantyhose turns a sexy pair of legs into simply irresistible. Hate hose? Try stay-up stockings.

Fashion designers and TV alone do not dictate what is in. Pantyhose are definitely not completely out of style. If they were then Nordstrom and Macys wouldn't have the selection they do (and they're not selling them to women only over 50!)
Cynthia said…
Here in the Caribbean where it is summer-weather all year round, women wear stockings all the time in the office.
Anonymous said…
I lived in Los Angeles for 10 and a half years and absolutely no one wore pantyhose. They were way out of style. Now I live in North Carolina and I worried I may have to go buy some. Fortunately, they appear to be out of style here, too.

When I started in the working world, in the early '90s, they were the thing to wear. Now I think they look really '80s blue power suit.
Lisa Johnson said…
nance - I had to laugh at that comment too! I guess to her 1993 might as well be 1850!

s - I agree about a suit. The hose really does add more polish to it. But I also hate suits! I'm all about the casual.

grey street girl - I agree about the hose hatred, but I do wear tights in the winter. My legs would freeze without anything on. But in TN, it must be much warmer in the winter. No cold New England snow storms!

t - That is a big benefit to the scrubs!
Lisa Johnson said…
pantyhose45 - Welcome! LOL! Your comment gave me the biggest laugh and it was sorely needed, so thank you. When I wear pantyhose, I usually wear black. I have to say that the only time I wore nude pantyhose was my first time ever wearing pantyhose. I think that was in the 7th grade.

I truly and with every fiber of my being hate the look and can vow that as long as I'm in my right mind, I will never wear nude pantyhose. So if anyone ever sees me wearing them, please help me, because something is terribly, terribly wrong.

k - I agree about the flesh or skin tone pantyhose never being right. It's like crayons or band-aids. There is no "one" flesh or skin tone and mine was usually never included or I guess it was just called "brown." That always infuriated me!

suldog - Silliness is always welcome here as are you! ; )

jackie - I can see that in Paris. They are much more formal. The "caz look" is always an easy way to spot an American. : )
Lisa Johnson said…
donna - Welcome! More power to ya! We can agree to disagree on this one. Yes with suits, other than that, I'm opting out.

shirley - I'm with ya on the black tights. Other colors actually too. Love them! I can never have enough of them. I like to mix up the designs on them too. And they are great with tall boots and skirts. I love that look!

esme - I entered the contest. Thanks for letting me know!

gary marsh - Welcome! I like tights for the look and they are nice and warm. Hose rip and they are a pain to put on. Don't get me wrong, I like the look of sheer black hose, but I find them uncomfortable in a way that tights aren't. Plus I have to wash pantyhose by hand, but can throw tights in the washer and dryer. That is a HUGE time factor. And the expense adds up, because they rip ALL the time. Do you know how frustrating it is to be getting dressed and your last pair of black hose rips??!! So you buy another and they rip too. Sometimes you have to change your outfit to work around it. The agony!! And thigh high tights look great, but sometimes they start rolling down. Eeek!
Lisa Johnson said…
cynthia - I would go nuts!

byebyepie - Welcome! Not the blue power suit! God those were awful!! ; )
Can-Can said…
Somethings that people try to make generational really aren't. If you have pantyhose that fit - you wear them. If you have great legs with no unsightly marks or scars - you wear them. If you want certain shoes to feel comfortable you wear them. I see lots of younger and older women in decorative hose that aren't tights. I also wear trouser socks or stockings depending on the season. Sometimes, I wear pantyhose and closed-shoes because I've had my toenails painted in a bright color that just wouldn't look professional, period! I love the feeling of silks and nylons against freshly shaved legs. It's all in your comfort level. Some people don't shave their legs - ewwhh - but then, that's just my opinion.
Lisa Johnson said…
can-can - I guess live and let live, but I am in agreement with you about shaven legs. : )
Jada said…
I recently left the Marine Corps and in our uniforms we had to wear stockings (with skirts). From the time I was 5 years old, I hated wearing panty hose; however, recently I got a new job, and started to wear them again. Initially I did not, but found it so cold in my office, it is the only thing keeping me warm!! Now, I actually like wearing them, which is the complete opposite of how I felt just a few weeks ago... I do think they look more professional, too, but it is not required... I say go with what works for you... Thanks! :)
Lisa Johnson said…
jada - Welcome! And thank you so much for your comment. What a unique perspective! Marines have to wear pantyhose with skirts! Hooah!
Anonymous said…
Women whine too much. In 2009 men are forced to wear business suits and a tie -- which has been the standard dress for business men for over a century. No way around it in the workplace.

Woman on the other hand can practically wear sweatpants to work and get away with it.

So it is hard to feel sorry for women who cry about office dress codes -- let alone pantyhose.
Lisa Johnson said…
anonymous - Thanks for stopping by and for your comment! Well, I disagree that women whine too much. That's quite a sweeping statement. But I do hear you on what you're saying about men having to wear ties and suits. The ties looks SO uncomfortable. But luckily more places are business casual and men can often skip the tie.
Anonymous said…
I am glad that Anali can see the good in both choices of people on this blog (liking them or not).
Though there are many incorrect statements. Far too many to remember/list on this blog alone- but 2 that we remember are:
"like anyone would think that's your real skin..." (no one is supposed to think that sheer Pantyhose are your real skin. It is not a trick. It is simply sheer silky Hosiery. It is lovely, lady-like, fashionable, alluring and very sexy.
--- Another is: "no one wears them anymore!" (i think someone also wrote: 'especially in LA!').
Well L.A. is not the mecca of Fashion by far- if it were, the whole planet (instead of just 50% of the U.S.) would be donning the white-trash / brittany followers / m.t.v. says so / wal-mart shoppers on Sunday / flip-flops to the White House look.
As for no one wearing them (LA too!)- it seems the sexy and fashionable Stars are, and the commoners/followers are not.
Just think of so many sexy celebs today- ALWAYS in sexy Pantyhose!
Zooey DesChanel
Lilly Allen
Blake Lively
Paris (she used to not when she was... slow in the head- but then totally switched over to the ... "silky side") ;)
Kylie Minogue
Chloe Sevigny
Kate Moss
Jeanette Beiderman
Katy Perry ! Etc....

If someone does not like them (most usually because they have only tried the cheaper brands) that is fine- but you can not say that they are passe` or a faux pa' or a fashion no-no just because brittany and stacy london go for the more lazy look.
Silky Pantyhose will always be in-fashion (whatever that means), will always accentuate and will always be something Sexy.
E- w/help from Linds.
Lisa Johnson said…
e + linds - Welcome and thanks for the comments! I can't add much more. I think you said it all! ; )
Anonymous said…
Interesting readings and comments.I am rather puzzled with some of the comments. It is understandable that in informal environments or where the temperature is well over 80 F or 25 C, that it may feels better without a PH. But one thing is for sure cadaver white legs do not look good, or wearing flip flop and the likes either o beach sandal either in any office or formal environmnent. I personally feels that wearing Nylons has the advantage of freshness in summer and insulation in the winter, henceforth I do not understand the various comments. Buy the right size wear them the right way or buy better brands etc... at the end it is part of the dressing code to wear socks, or stockings or hosiery in general. Sandals and other similar types of footwear may be excluded form the rule, but for the rest I do not think so.
I am a happily married heterosexual man and I do wear Nylons, both Knee Hi and PH depending on the circumstances and season. I have almost excluded any other type of material to cover my feet and legs and I never have any incomfort. It must be a question of tastes, which is individual for each person.
Have a great day.
rv7777 said…
My wife wears pantyhose all the time and I love it. It makes her legs look great. She always did it on her own when we met and the last couple of years, I let her know that it made her look great! She also uses the pantyhose to help make her look slimmer in dresses and skirts.

I just started buying her pantyhose and stockings and she loves it. She realizes that it is a turn on for me.

The bigest thing is my wife is old school and likes to look great when she leaves the house. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in how you look and wanting to look good.

They are not for everyone, but I am glad my wife enjoys them because she looks great!

Anonymous said…
this is karin from germany: pantyhose are out of style and a "no-no". i have a few pairs in my drawer to wear under pants in winter. but i cover them by putting on a pair of black cotton socks over the pantyhose: so it looks like i'm wearing no pantyhose at all, everyone thinks i'm waerin cotton socks only !!
Lisa Johnson said…
anonymous, rv7777, karin - Thanks for the comments! Love to see this discussion continuing for over a year. ; )
Anonymous said…
Pantyhose simply is sexy!!!! No underwear .... And super sheer !!!

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