The Woes Of Pantyhose And Other Fashion Disasters


I will admit to having no fashion sense whatsoever. Whenever I watch an episode of “What Not To Wear,” I find myself saying, “Oh, no. She dresses exactly like I do,” about the fashion-challenged nominees.

As Stacy and Clinton tear someone’s closet apart, I sit on my couch and make a mental checklist of each item that goes into the trashcan. 90% of the trashed items are currently hanging in my closet. I have the fashion sense of a 15 year old girl…living in 1996. It’s not that I don’t want to be more fashionable; I just don’t really know how. I can see pieces in stores that are fashionable and flattering, but when I get them home, I can’t seem to put them together, and I end up going back to my standard uniform of a black t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. (Which, of course, is what I’m wearing right now.)

I can pull it together for special occasions, thanks to the help of my very fashionable friends, who seem to have been born with a sixth sense for these types of things. They can walk into a store, visualize and outfit, and put things together effortlessly. I walk into a store and either have a panic attack or come out of the dressing room looking like I got hit by a ticky-tacky tornado. Fashion is often so overwhelming and frustrating that I don’t even bother. I’d rather stick to basic, classic things than do a trend poorly and look like an idiot—but at the same time, it’s embarrassing at times to be nearly 30 years old and still unsure as to how to put an outfit together.

This is not to say I don’t know and follow certain rules: no socks with sandals, no visible panty lines, no “mom jeans”; these are all things I can understand and abide by. But there are certain fashion no-nos that I’m never quite sure of. And one of those things is pantyhose. Is it okay to wear hose? Are nude hose always a fashion don’t? Can you wear open-toed shoes with tights? Can you get away without wearing hose to work? The rules of nylons are a bit confusing for fashion-challenged people like myself. Apparently, I’m not alone.

“Should women bare their legs in the office?” asks Lauren Lipton of, bringing up a debate that has raged for many years: as the temperature rises, should women be expected to wear hose on their legs, or is it acceptable to walk around without anything covering one’s legs? “As the weather heats up, so inevitably does the annual office leg debate,” Lipton writes, “in which women grapple with dictates that can seem designed to keep us as sweaty, uncomfortable and — many say — dowdy as possible.” I, of course, have no idea what the proper procedure here is, though the few times when I do wear a skirt to work in the summer, it tends to be a longer skirt, and I don’t wear pantyhose, as it kind of defeats the purpose of wearing the skirt in the first place, no? If it’s hot and gross outside, I don’t really care to wrap my legs in nylon.

Perhaps we should look to Stacy for advice, no?

First of all, the only “hose” I really hate are the semi-sheer ones in “suntan” or “black.” They look dated and remind me of a time when women would walk to work in their suits, those hose, white sweat socks and white leather aerobic sneakers. Blech. Might as well throw in a whole can of hairspray, too. Too ’80s! Stay away from anything that has a mid-range “denier” number that indicates the sheerness of the hose (10 is very sheer, 30 is semi-sheer and 50 is opaque).
I recommend a good self-tanner for the pale-leg situation, but also realize that won’t help with spider veins. Look for opaque tights and try them in a subtle color, like a burgundy or deep purple, when wearing a neutral-color knee-length skirt or suit. They will hide your legs and add a visual punch to your outfits!

Or, perhaps, we should stop “spoiling the view” and grab ourselves a pair of Underalls:

What say you, commenters? How do you deal with dressing for warmer weather? And do you have any basic style tips to share with your fashion-challenged fellow commenters?

Should Women Bare Their Legs In The Office? [ABCNews]
Stacy London Solves Your Sticky Style Issues [MSNBC]
Underalls [Vintage Ads]

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