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The Disappearance Of Hosiery: 10 Reasons Legs Went Bare

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hosiery

For decades upon decades, women wore hosiery.  All through the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, this is simply what the ladies wore… but then, suddenly, it went away.  Indeed, it happened so fast (perhaps somewhere in the late 1980s) that I didn’t even notice until hosiery had all but vanished from the face of the earth.  What the hell happened?

In the UK and much of Europe, hosiery has made a comeback in recent years, but in the United States it is entirely absent.  I grew up surrounded by hosiery, so I must admit, I’m a bit sad to wave it goodbye.  In the 70s, all the foxy babes on TV wore them: Charlie’s Angels, Daisy Duke, Chrissy Snow, Wonder Woman, Julie Barnes (The Mod Squad), Marcia Brady,… the list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a perv with a stocking fetish. I just grew up with them, and like most guys my age, was sorry to see them leave.

The question is “why?” – or to be more precise “WTF?”  I’ve done a bit of research by asking a few ladies and come up with a few theories of my own.  Feel free to offer your own explanation for their mysterious disappearance, and together we can solve this mystery.

 

hosiery 2

1. They have simply gone out of style.

We are all fashion followers, so it stands to reason that what is not marketed in Cosmo, Vogue, etc, as trendy and stylish is not purchased. The fashionistas for years have been telling young women that only grandmothers and old ladies wear pantyhose, that nude pantyhose makes your legs look like they’re encased in a sausage, and that it also makes your legs look orange. Kate Middleton helped change that conception in the UK, but it’s still pervasive in the States.

That’s the obvious answer. But dig deeper and ask why they went out of vogue in the first place…

 

hosiery 3

2. Hosiery is an annoyance and inconvenience to women

They often have runs, which require frequent purchases. Also, a run can cause embarrassment. I am told they are uncomfortable. They have a tendency to slip down, and can create annoying wrinkles in your shoes.

 

hose

3. Tan legs are “in”

A function of hosiery (especially nude hose) was to improve the tone of the leg.  Now that most women in the US tan their legs and “tan in a bottle” is abundant, this function of hosiery became no longer necessary.

 

hose 2

4. Women gained control over the mass marketed female images and fashion industry

What women wore and what was deemed fashionable used to be dictated exclusively by men.  If men thought legs looked better in hose, then by God, women are going to have to wear hose.  Once women had a say in the process, the inconvenient pain-in-the-ass hosiery was kicked to the curb.

 

hose 3

5. We’re comfortable showing bare skin

For a time, hosiery basically served to censor a woman’s bare leg.  In other words, it was more than a little bit naughty (and in poor taste) to show off a bare leg; now that that taboo is long gone, yet another function of hosiery is gone.

 

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6. Razor blade improvements

It’s easy to overlook this factor, but vast improvements in the comfort, ease and effectiveness of modern razors definitely has had an impact.  Women’s razor blades of today actually provide a smooth finish without carving your legs like a turkey.  The need for hosiery to mask the effects of unfriendly razors is long gone.

 

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7. Skirts aren’t as short

The heyday of the miniskirt is long since gone. With much less leg shown, so there isn’t much need for hosiery which improves the appearance of the leg.

 

hose 6

8. That annoying “swishing” sound

It’s certainly not the primary reason hosiery went kaput, but according to the ladies in my informal poll, it is a contributing factor.  The swish-swish-swish with every step was often a source of embarrassment.

 

hose 7

9. They look bad with open-toed shoes

Even the biggest pantyhose enthusiast will have to admit they look a little ridiculous with open-toed shoes.

But these answers still don’t get to the core. I mean, women have always had these issues with hose; and skirts haven’t always been super short; however, they were fine with wearing them back then… why not now?

 

hose 8

10. Americans have gotten slovenly

If you look back a few decades, you’ll see people dressed up more. Men wore hats and kept their shoes shined. Women wore gloves and were rarely seen outside the home without makeup on. The change from well-groomed and “dolled up” to today’s state of shabbiness was a gradual transition. The hippie counter culture was the first to make strides in this area.  For whatever reason, this casualness just got more and more casual.

You always hear that today’s society is overly concerned with outward appearances. However, it’s interesting to note that we’ve never cared less about the way we present ourselves. In this climate, it was only a matter of time before hosiery bit the dust.

Of course, this begs the next question. Why have Americans gotten so casual? That, I’m afraid, is a question for another day.

hose 9

  • Nicholas Hughes

    Still alive and well in Europe.

  • SkeptiGal

    Reasons 1, 2, and 9 are the top explanations, with #s 2 & 9 providing the rationale for pantyhose going out of style. Another reason has has to do with pants playing a larger role in women’s fashions, thus less of a need for hose. In addition, those of us who live in areas that are freezing in the winter wear pants and skirts/dresses with boots Instead of skirts with pantyhose. Boots, in case you haven’t been to a place like DSW, are outnumbering shoes, again providing women with less need for pantyhose. I haven’t worn pantyhose in years. Tights, ie thicker hose, is making some comeback, especially with short boots and skirts, but pantyhose is (are?) dead.

    • Rick

      No, Not dead at all! Just in most of America! That certainly does not qualify as “Dead!” Too bad though, they really do look by far more attractive and I live in a very cold place in Winter. Pants. Oh well.

  • CRaeJ

    Things certainly have changed since the seventies when I came of age. I can remember actually being excited as a girl when my mom bought me several pairs of pantyhose to wear rather than the opaque tights that I’d always worn up to that time. They seemed much more “grown up”, and I wore them quite often.
    Fast forward forty years, and while I still like to wear hose to work and when I’m dressing up, I’m definitely in the minority.

    • Philip

      Good for you, CRaeJ! At least you’ll have better looking legs than the majority of women who go bare-legged looking “slutty,” which is my personal opinion. I’ve been an avid admirer of legs in nylon hosiery since seeing Mary Tyler Moore in a few episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show as well as having a mother who wore nylons on a daily basis.

      • CRaeJ

        Thank You Philip. 🙂
        I do whatever I can to look my best, and a compliment from a gentleman makes it all worthwhile.

      • gjm11653

        I agree. Bare legs are not pretty. In shorts or sun dress acceptable, but a nice suit in court in bare legs ugh!

  • Brian A. Williams

    Here is my take on some of them:

    1. American women are known to follow fashion trends religiously from fashionistas, media, and celebrities on tv shows, movies, books, magazines, and the internet. Some people said that the bare leg trend originated from the TV series “Sex and the City” where Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are always seen bare legged in designer shoes year round in New York causing many women including celebrities, fashion models, various tv personalities from news reporters, anchors, talk show hosts, and US first lady Mooch…Michelle Obama to abandon hose in droves and go out bare legged, regardless of the weather. The so called fashionistas may have declared pantyhose out of style, but there are a number celebrities such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, Zoey Deschanel, and Ariana Grande that wear pantyhose at various events. Would these women be considered granny if they wear hose to an event? If these fashionistas are considering them granny, they are showing a lack of respect towards these stars who are being themselves by dressing very classy and professional for an event. The negativity from the fashionistas about Ariana Grande’s pantyhose caused her to break down in tears at the Grammys a few months back. Hose is pretty much in style in Europe, not because of Kate Middleton, but they never went out of style, even in Eastern European countries such as Russia, Estonia, Poland and Asian countries such as Japan and Korea where women wear them as a culture and tradition of femininity as opposed to fashion influence in America.

    2. Women are wearing the wrong size and style of hose. Instead, they are wearing the cheap brands of hosiery from the dollar stores, supermarkets, drug stores instead of well known quality brand names of hosiery. Another factor is that the American hosiery companies are not following the European method in investing in new technology to producing nylon in order to make hose soft and silky. Instead they were too focussed on sticking with the old method of stiching the nylon to gain profit, causing hose to be tight and constricting eventually causing runs on legs, and women to hate wearing them. All of this contributed to the downfall of hosiery in America. Even the pantyhose advertisements that were seen on TV and magazines throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s disappeared as well.

    4. The feminist movement may have played the role in allowing women to gain power over men. Not only women are controlling the fashion industry, but gay men who only care about dictating what is in and out of fashion, and pantyhose was no exception.

    5. Unless they are toned, not all women have the legs to pull off the bare leg look. Some women have various skin blemishes such as pastiness, blotchiness, and veins on their legs, thin and knobby knees, crusty and unevened toes. If a woman tries to pull off the bare leg look with all those blemishes, it would look downright tacky, disgusting, and unprofessional.

    9. What is wrong with pantyhose and open toe shoes? If the fashionistas think that pantyhose and open toe shoes are a fashion faux pas, what is the point of making sheer and sandalfoot pantyhose then?? To me, this is just a myth, misconception, and pet peeve to discourage women from wearing pantyhose with open toe shoes. Women wearing pantyhose with open toe shoes is still elegant and common today like it was in the 70s and 80s, even in some European countries as well.

    10. This is the most common part of all. American women have gotten lazy when it comes to dressing up nowadays. Instead of dressing like a lady, they decided to dress like a slob and skank which is showing a lack of class and professionalism in America. They are also giving America a bad name and reputation around the world in caring less how they dress even in other countries where it is considered etiquette to dress classy and professional at an event that calls for wearing pantyhose with their outfits. One example is Actress Rita Wilson (Tom Hanks’ wife) who did not know that she had to wear pantyhose at an Royal Event in the presence of the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Rita later admitted that she does not own a pair of sheer hose herself. Another example is hose hating US first lady Michelle Obama who was criticized for not wearing hose at an event in the Czech Republic that calls for women wearing pantyhose, despite the fact she previoulsy wore them during her husband’s first presidential inaugeration in 2009. The ever increasing presence of the internet has casualized the workplace environment causing some workplaces to loosen their dress codes, and employees to conduct their work away from their workplace. As a result of loosened dress codes, women are now dressing more casual by wearing less skirts and dresses, and wearing pants even flip flops to work like if they are going to the beach. Women can’t dress too casually in a business setting in a European or Asian country, where dress codes in some workplaces are known to be strict due in large part to their country’s business culture.

    • I fully agree, I started watching this tv series called Fresh Meat on hulu here in the USA. The female cast ALWAYS has some sort of nylons or tights or leggings on. Never bare legged, if more shows like this are brought to the States I’m sure the fashion trend will revert to more wearing of nylon hose, hope so because nylon hose does make legs look much better.

    • BrotherGee

      Bravo on your comments, Brian. Well said!

    • ratched

      You have WAYYYYYY too much time on your hands, lol. (Now I’m going to feel bad if you live in an iron lung or something.)

      • mary in michigan

        Brian: I enjoyed your comments & agree with you 100%. I am an “old lady” (69), so old that I wore hose with garter belts in high school. That was our dress code, dresses, skirts, dress shoes & legs covered. Sitting with the garters digging into our legs all day was not pleasant. So when pantyhose came out (around 1961?), they were wonderful!!! I can’t believe how women dress now days in an office. Last week I saw 3 women in a hospital office wearing skirts, bare legs & beach sandals, all 3 of them. They were in their 40’s. Also, stringy sloppy hairdo’s. Geez, It’s a total shame how women dress these days. I worked in a bank 10 yrs in my 40’s & we all dressed & acted appropriately. I miss those days. We were told in high school that the dress code was enforced to prepare us for the future. Women today haven’t a clue. Again, I enjoyed your message. 🙂

        • gjm11653

          I too wore garter belt with hose. I had 4 sisters and keeping us and my mom in hose was a chore. I remember on Saturday night several pair of hose hanging on a line in the kitchen. When I married and wore pantyhose I was in heaven! I am seeing many very pretty women newscasters sitting displaying their legs and they appear bare. Not really terrible looking but not real attractive either. I think hose are pure class. A sundress or similar can go without, but nothing says class in a suit or dress like great hose and shoes or heels.

    • kurzie

      Well said

  • taxcider

    Global warming. But mostly 10..I don’t begrudge a female dressing for comfort. Still I don’t understand the point of wearing thong sandals with pants to a club (?) Also the internet. People are getting connected through dating websites so again no need to look your best in public to attract a mate. Also men are guilty (me included) for focusing their attention on women’s hose legs and objectifying them. Studies show there are more single people than married…so less reason to look “attractive” to get a mate to be legitimized in society. But back to 10 I’ve seen women with B*tch tattoos, what I consider those ridiclulous piercings (especially lip studs)..ridiculous false eyelashes, constant profanity (It’s hot as s__t, I’m tired as s___) it’s like they purposely make themselves unattractive. All of which I approve so when I see a woman in pantyhose it’s a real treat. Of course I’d rather be in the 70s when I first saw Mary Tyler Moore in a leotard (seems like most TV producers tried to put most women in leotards/cocktail dresses at some point..even Mrs. Roper and Mrs. Howell) . Also one companion who wore them for me said they itched her so much she had to remove them in a McDonald’s restroom.

  • The4thStooge

    I am that person who wears sandalfoot pantyhose or stockings with sandals–it’s a weird thing, but meh. And there’s no way that I’ll wear a skirt or dress without stockings. No one needs to see the mosquito bites and other scars on my legs, so why not cover them up a bit. I don’t wear pantyhose very often though–I have skinny ankles, and I can never get them to fit correctly. (Also, if you’re over 5’8, but not “Big Mama” Pantyhose sized, you are doomed to have a very uncomfortable day, with your pantyhose sliding down your legs all day long!)

  • martin caidin

    Professional cheerleaders still wear them.

  • Tina

    Ha Ha, you had some good points. I’ve also heard some women say they think hose are a bit trampy. Like you’re only wearing them to get extra attention to your legs. Also, men have pretty much fetishized the garment. They get associated with porn now. Websites with women wearing them to turn guys on. Women don’t want to be objectified that way, especially with this newer generation of women who want equality between men and women. And men over the years have pretty much made pantyhose a fetish garment.

    Add to that, they’re a pain in the butt for women to deal with. If she has nice legs, there’s really no reason for her to wear hose. Plus, it’s become more acceptable for women to wear pants. In a lot of jobs now, pants and comfortable shoes make more sense. High heels and pantyhose are a fashion pain in the butt for them.

    I think pantyhose are mostly used these days by women who want extra attention from men. To most women that means trampy. They associate it with acting like a prostitute, or being easy.

    Let’s put it this way. They know it turns guys on. But if you’re the boss at work, or if you’re trying to be taken seriously by guys, you don’t want to be turning them on. So I think what’s really killing pantyhose these days, is Guys. They over fetishized the garment. And if you think about it, why do guys like them to wear pantyhose? They want to get a little turned on by it. That’s the truth behind it. Women today are going to school and are getting high paying jobs. They don’t need to dress in a way to attract a guy to take care of them. Not like before. The culture has changed, so the impression of the garment has changed. The impression is, this what guys want me to wear, but I will wear what I like. Often times, that’s not pantyhose.

    • MadisonW

      If pantyhose are seen by women as something that men “sexualised,” why, then are high heels shoes or thongs/g-strings not seen this way too?
      I think it has more to do with the 90’s trend of bare legs, which, IMO, was/is a terrible trend and that when many of the younger women of today think of pantyhose, they think of the brands/styles of those of their grandmother. Hosiery has come a very, very long way since the 80’s.

      • liv

        Thongs and Gstrings are going away, while kind of popular they do not the main selling garments when it comes to women’s underwear.

    • Rick

      Oooow “Sniff” “Sniff” “Waaaah” Come on! Please! Women are slaves to fashion and frankly don’t speak for young women until you educate yourself with other mainstream societies where women look great showing off their legs and if you want equality then vote for it and make it happen! You can have equality and still present yourself as sophisticated feminine without damaging your ego.

      • CLB11267

        I like this “they don’t need to dress up to attract a guy to take care of them” concept. That may be true, but even if so women do seem to “want” men. Go look at any magazine catering to women; within a couple pages of any “Pantyhose Suck” article there will likely be a “Why Can’t I Find a Good Man” story. Now that is a many faceted issue, but one of those facets is guys don’t take women who dress like androgynous slobs 24/7 seriously.

        Also, it’s really ironic the Tinas of the world get really put-off that modern males avoid wearing suits and ties on a regular basis!

        • Disgruntled_OlderGuy

          I completely agree with your comment. Heaven forbid women actually wear something that pleases a man. We can’t have that. And these same women will whine in frustration why they can’t ever find a good man or there aren’t any good men out there. Go figure. “guys don’t take women who dress like androgynous slobs 24/7 seriously”…..this nailed it.

      • Optimusnorm

        As my Eastern European female former colleagues have said (Masters and Phd level educated) they don’t agree with Western Feminism because it seems they want to make women like men…rather than make women and men equal before the law and in opportunity. I’ve heard the same sentiments from East Asian and South American women too, particular directed at American women.

        But American women think this is all an affront to equality and gender to make small efforts even sometimes.

        I dated a couple of American women and they didn’t even wear hosiery at the opera or when I took them to 5 star hotels. As nice as some of them were I always felt there was a lack of effort going on compared to the European and East Asian women I dated in my time.

        Of course it’s not just about hosiery – it’s the whole package but as a man who very much makes an effort to dress well especially when in the company of ladies I see no reason why they can’t do the same. Of course they are free to do as they please but they can’t complain when I date other cultures.

  • hal09i

    I think its important to remember a few things before you count pantyhose out: for the last 500 years, woman have worn some type of leg hosiery. The bare leg look essentially came in vogue around the year 2000. It reined supreme for about 10 years before pantyhose started to make a sneaking comeback. So tell me– what’s the aberration? For years the fashonistas said that pantyhose “made your legs look orange” and that “they make you look like an old woman”. Well, Kate Middleton came along and proved that one wrong in spades. Additionally, the fashionistas said that pantyhose were expensive, that they ruined easily, and were downright unhealthy to wear. Well, the same thing is true of high heels, and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. Finally, you have a whole generation of young women coming of age who really know nothing about pantyhose except what they’ve heard from Mom, their Aunt, or maybe older sister. However, they know this: Mom is now devoutly bare leg. So is Aunt Jane. And the bare leg look is going to be the new “mom jeans” fashion faux paus to avoid at all costs. I’ll even say it plainly: The bare leg look is SOOOOOOOOOOOO 2006………

  • Highland26

    You got it right with #10. We need to make a complete about face, but the political climate of today seems to be a roadblock. And yes, I still wear hose!

  • MadisonW

    Hosiery – Not just for weddings, church or other “special” events.

    Black sheers – Not the only choice! Nude sheer or ultra-sheer hosiery, when closely matched to skin tone, looks absolutely amazing!

    Sheers and Ultra-sheers actually make a women’s legs look younger, healthier. The bare leg look which shows off veins, bruises, scrapes, bony feet, bony knees, spider veins and other blemishes do NOT make you look younger.

    Set up a poll that features a non-model women’s legs (waist down, showing part of the dress or skirt) in various heels, pumps, flats, etc. Same women, same shoes. One pic of her in sheer hosiery that matches her skin tone and one bare legged. Pics side by side. Then one with pics of a women in opaques (tights) and bare legged, same women, same shoes, same picture distance and angle. Do several of these, using the same women for the side by side comparison, in various combinations of skirts/dress, heels/flats/boots and hosiery, ultra-sheer to opaque, etc.

    Do the poll without notifying the participant that it’s a poll about hosiery (or bare legs), but start the poll featuring sheer (or ultra sheer) vs bare leg pics and then opaques vs bare leg. Some women (& men) will know right away what type of poll it is, but not all.

    100% guaranteed, the majority of women & men will say the legs with hosiery look better, even though its the same (non-model) woman. And, most likely, the sheer hosiery would win the most “up” votes (vs the opaques). And, more than likely, a higher percentage of men (than women) will like the hosiery look in dresses and skirts vs. bare leg.

    You intentionally pick out a beautiful dress and sexy, gorgeous shoes and then go bare legged? Doesn’t look good.

    This would be similar to a man dressing in a nice suit or even a nice shirt and slacks with a nice pair of shoes and then not putting on nice dress socks, simply going without socks all together. A terrible look whenever he sat down or worse then crossed one leg over the other.

    Hosiery completes the look for women. Legs looks better, smoother, more elegant, etc. More complete.

    Bare legs are…well, bare. Great for shorts, great for swimsuits, great for wearing with flip flops. You know, the casual or beach scene look. Not so great for paring with dresses or skirts. Looks incomplete and too raw when matched with a dress or skirt.

    There is a poll on stylebistro called “What Do You Think of Wearing Tights Under Shorts?” As of now, 81% like and only 19% dislike. Mind you, this is about the more casual look of opaques (not sheer/ultra-sheer) with shorts (not even dresses or skirts). Hosiery does look better than bare leg, in many situations.

    Besides, there are so many new types, new technology out there since prior to the 90’s. The sheer/ultra sheer skin tones look far more natural and appealing than before. As a bonus, there are of course many options for giving the appearance that you’ve lost a dress size (tummy control, especially with high waist, bum lifting, leg messaging, etc). There are even some that are made specifically for hotter climates such as the Silkies 65 Degree Control Top Sheer Pantyhose (in regular & toe-less). There are even hosiery that have a G-string affect made by Trasparenze (& others), if your into that, anti cellulite hosiery made by Solidea (& others), moisturizing hosiery made by Solidea, Cette (& others) and non-slip sole hosiery made especially for high heels by Marks & Spence, Frappe, Verano (& others).

    Like Kate Middleton, Beyoncé, Zoey Deschanel, Sofia Vergara, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and many of the younger 20 somethings from Disney, many more young and middle aged women should take notice that hosiery just looks better with dresses and skirts and has come a very long way in the last decade or so!

    ““You suddenly have flawless legs without having to do anything,” said Ms. Dahan, 33, a Montreal-based mother of two and co-designer of Mackage, a brand of downtown chic outerwear. ”
    ““there are a lot of stars wearing them and you just don’t know they are because they are so well done — it’s one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets,” said Mary Alice Stephenson, a stylist and fashion commentator who said she wears sheer hose to black-tie events or when she thinks she might be photographed in a short skirt.”

    • ratched

      I’m going to put one over my head. The poor woman’s guide to a face-lift, except an awful lot of law enforcement stop me for my name. Foxy me.

  • Cynthia Celeste Miller

    I think #10 is the biggest reason, to be honest. In a day and age where a lot of people (read: slobs) go to the store or even college classes wearing pajama bottoms and house slippers, it’s apparent that it has become too big of an inconvenience to even dress themselves properly, let alone with class or style.

  • Rick

    It is true that in Europe especially, Women wear hosiery including the “New Old Fashioned” Nylon stockings with garters or suspenders. Men especially find it very sexy for a woman to wear pantyhose/tights/stockings along with heels of course. Women here in America are just too inconvenienced and could care less if it looks sexy. I’m lucky in that women I date wear them. Something I read on the net stated that there are now men’s pantyhose and a fair number of men too wear nylon stockings! Fascinating.

  • TammiMoore99999

    I work in an office. I am a receptionist. So many men in that office tell me how much they like my pantyhosed legs. The wish their wife or gf wore them. I like the attention.

    • CLB11267

      I’m an attorney and I interact with a number of female attorneys and paralegals. The vast majority of these women show up to meetings and even courtrooms attired horribly. The general trend seems to be formless, drab, loose fitting clothes. I once saw a middle aged female attorney show up in court wearing what was basically a very high quality sweat shirt/sweat pants combo. Another extreme is one who usually comes to work in flats, capri pants and t-shirts with logos barely hidden by a blazer.

      There is a small handful of women who dress in dresses, skirts, hosiery and heels. At the minimum they wear tasteful pantsuits.

      The irony of this is that men and women alike in this field show much more respect to the ladies who dress up.

  • Bogomil Ochrony

    Why the irrelevant and gratuitous slur on pantyhose and stocking fetishists in a discussion of fashion evolution? Methinks the writer doth protest too much! Though I too lament the disappearance of nylons from women’s wardrobes and more generally deplore the sad fact that Americans have been getting more and more slovenly, a much bigger problem is posed by a conformist people so intimidated by society that they can neither think nor communicate candidly.

  • cindy duran

    I haven’t worn a dress since stockings,hose,panty hose dissappeared. I won’t ever where another dress and thats sad. I use to love dresses.

    • Ann Hale

      They haven’t disappeared!

      • cindy duran

        Haha guess that’s true. Just don’t see them on legs any more.

    • KTina

      I very rarely wear dresses or skirts and it’s specifically because of pantyhose shaming. Legs look better in hose but stubborn women don’t cared and will continue to look crappy and unkempt so they can be “comfortable”.

      • CLB11267

        Pantyhose shaming? Yeah, I believe that exists!
        Something that always amazes me is how in this current anti-pantyhose environment tights and leggings are going strong when the season is right and even the most strident fashionistas will sing the praises of these pantyhose-like items of clothing. Doesn’t make a lot of sense since much of the problems with pantyhose exist in tights and leggings…

        • KTina

          I hate tights! They itch.
          One more thing….just the thought of squishy bare feet crammed into pumps makes my skin crawl. THAT’S uncomfortable and disgusting.
          Damn Sex in the City!!!!!! They started it all.

          • liv

            no they didn’t.

          • Oort Cloud

            I agree. It started in at least 1994, maybe before that.

      • J.r. Dorland

        So does that mean you are ashamed to wear hosiery or afraid of the school house bully ?

      • Oort Cloud

        Same here. I haven’t worn a white skirt or dress since 1994 because I couldn’t figure out what to wear with them. And I haven’t worn a skirt or dress in a very long time because of hose shaming. Commenters here don’t seem to realize that other women will straight up shame other women for wearing them. I get enough judgment for things I can’t help. The hose shaming is very strong. I had it phrased to me that women who want to wear hose are ashamed of their bodies, trying to get away with camouflage, and supporting the mean old bank manager types who want to enforce dress codes etc. So the shaming isn’t just about fashion. It’s as if the woman who wants to wear hose is manipulative, deceitful, and ashamed of her flaws.

    • J.r. Dorland

      And that is also one root to the problem. Be who you are and quit worrying about what other people think. That the root of being a real person and living life for you, not other woman..!!!

      • Oort Cloud

        Making enemies of the bully type fashionista women is a real quick way not to get promoted at work, for one thing.

  • Ann Hale

    Tattoos, nose rings, bare legs, tacky clothes, low cut cleavage revealing tops, men with nasty feet in sandals… this is what passes for normal today. It’s gross!

  • Dan

    I think another reason is that hosiery doesn’t look good poking out of the impossibly ugly shoes women wear now. Hosiery is sexy; ugly shoes are not. Plus I’m not sure women know what sexy is anymore. Seem to me like being half naked means sexy for far too many of them. As for sexy stocking well the world’s most fetching TV personality right now, Rachel Riley, could use a bit of saucing up when it comes to her gams (see how old I am???). I’ve been watching the 80’s unfunny sitcom Sledge Hammer lately and marvel at how lovely inspector Doreau is in her classic mid-height pumps (and tight mini skirts of course). 🙂 Ladies, the next best thing to a pair of perfectly tanned legs is a pair of sheer black stockings. After having writtne all that I realize I haven’t helped with finding out why! I don’t know!!!!!!

  • Kay

    I noticed the trend and stopped wearing pantyhose, except rarely, when Princess Diana seldom wore them.

  • James Duprey

    The only reason we look at their legs is because of hosery. I’ve seen so many bare legs that I’m about to puke. They are so ugly. Has no person ever walked up and told them??????

    • liv

      God forbid a woman have ugly legs… and wear hose just to appease you… What makes you think your legs are attractive. And what makes you think women give a shit if you think their legs are ugly or not.

    • Optimusnorm

      To be fair even if a lady has fantastic legs good hosiery makes them look better. More is less as they say.

      I’m in good shape for my age but get more compliments from women in a suit than I do in shorts.

      It’s not rocket science.

  • Me

    They make them for men now and a lot of men wear them. So I guess it’s just a garnmet switch taking place. Women prefer pants these days. I don’t see many women in dresses anymore and if they wear one, it’s without pantyhose. The exception is older ladies usually seniors, at that’s mostly at church.

  • kurzie

    When wearing a dress/skirt and heels, unless one has “killer legs,” pantyhose are an absolute necessity. When I see women with spindly white legs or heavyset women going bare legged, I give an involuntary shudder. No matter how pretty the clothes and accessories they wear, my eyes are drawn to the ugliness of their legs. It’s funny how women flock to buy spanx and other bodyshapers when a sheer pair of control top pantyhose not only covers leg flaws, they shape the torso as well. I don’t care a wit about the fashionistas. Most women look terrible in dresses/skirts unless they sport a pair of pantyhose.

  • Erin

    I was actually born in the 90’s and I do know of them. I actually have a few pairs. Typically, pantyhose are just worn for dresses and skirts. It’s usually optional if it’s casual, but if its a formal event you must wear pantyhose. Im half and half with my opinion if them. I love them and the patterns they can have but as a women for big hips, big thighs, and a smaller waist, it is so damn hard to find a fitting pair. Plus when your thighs rub against each other with them on it kinda hurts. Also, I’m really pale, so nude hose are just so contrasting it looks orange and just… Not good.

  • Larry Johnson

    Bare legs. Yuck.

  • gjm11653

    I don’t agree with all in this article. I never noticed a swish? What is that? I love love pantyhose and no legs look good without them. Pantyhose without the toe dark are great for open toe shoes. And most females have cellulite and pantyhose help hide it. I see short skirts all over the television news females so short skirts are still the norm. Runs were not that common because hose became more resilent. Bare legs don’t look good in classic suits and dresses. A summer sundress and a few other summer clothes are great without but that is about all.

  • Optimusnorm

    I’m from England and am fortunate enough to be very well travelled, and also to have worked with people from every continent.

    I will say, and this my anecdotal observation that Americans in general are not as well dressed. I of course know Americans who dress very well and can certainly point to Europeans who dress terribly but as a general rule they are not as well turned out as Europeans and East Asians – especially for dates and formal occasions. No where is this more apparent than with hosiery.

    As an example (again my observations not fact – but it seems many agree) we had a 1920s themed New Years party this past new year. We’re all working professionals with good work/life balances and decent bank accounts. The party was a mix of Europeans, Americans and East Asians. All the European and East Asian women wore hosiery with their outfits – and I mean stockings not pantyhose (it was a 1920s party remember plus it’s New Years eve remember). Of the six American ladies there one wore what looked like cheap fishnets and the other wore sheer nude pantyhose…the other American women were quite catty towards her I recall. She even made an excuse for wearing them! I asked her when no one was listening and she said she likes wearing hosiery but most American women make negative comments about it. Very strange.

    Strange people…I know there are many marvelous American ladies out there who buck the current lazy trends but they seem fewer and far between since the late 1990s. Americans used to be famous for their glamour and style – now they seem famous for their flip flops and shorts.

    Sadly this culture is being exported elsewhere.

  • tolleyfox

    I wore hosiery from the time I started middle school, so I too started out clipping them on too (only from a sexy little girdle-I forget what we called them back then). Pantyhose were a huge improvement over those. Being allowed to wear hosiery was a HUGE “rite of passage” for western women. I would like to throw in my 2¢ worth acquired over 52 years: Regarding the author’s comments—

    No. 1 . Style- I believe the whole bare-legged look started in California. After all, most of the celebrities live there. Even the New York celebrities eventually move there, or winter there. It’s warm there! it is okay to go bare-legged. But, going bare-legged in the middle of a New England or Minnesota winter doesn’t make sense! Apparently, the younger generations are like sheep (sorry, I said it) and follow trends without much thought. I hear they even go bare-legged in in other cold portions of the US. Oh, it is okay to wear colored or textured tights everywhere, although I don’t know why. Perhaps they saw them on the runway once! Oh, and by the way, Kate Middleton wears them because it is REQUIRED by the Royal Family and the Queen would have a hissy fit if she didn’t!

    No. 2. Annoyance- All of those reasons can pretty much be disregarded. Thigh-high hosiery don’t slip down, don’t wrinkle, are extremely comfortable, mainly because they have a wide band of silicone on the inside of the top which sticks to your leg and holds them up. Not that younger people (other than the Amish) find anything embarrassing anymore, thigh highs can have a wide band of lace at the top, which If anything, makes them extremely sexy.

    No. 3. Tan Legs are In- To maintain a spray tan is expensive. In an attempt to emulate Celebrities and California

    styles, spray tans are more expensive than hosiery, making them more inaccessible to everyone, and thus, more “upscale”. But wait, —they make hosiery in colors like “tan”, which give the appearance of a tanned leg too.

    No. 5. We’re Comfortable Showing Bare Skin- That’s an understatement. Remember those tabloid pictures that kept appearing of Brittany
    Spears getting out of a car?! Number 5 can be combined with—

    No. 7. Skirts Aren’t As Short- Where has this guy been?! I see skirts on teenagers and twenty-somethings that make me cringe every time they move because their skirt just barely clears the bottom of their butt-cheeks. One gust of wind or bending over 2 degrees could be a disaster.

    No. 6. Razor Blade Improvements- I don’t believe that women wore hosiery to “mask” nicks and cuts, and that the two had anything to do with one another.

    No. 8. That Annoying Swishing Sound- This only happened with CERTAIN kinds of hosiery. If you bought the right mesh, dictating weave and thickness, you could do away with sounds. Also, most of that “swishiness” had been improved by the end of hosiery-wearing.

    No. 9. Open-toed Shoes- Only “old ladies” wore the hosiery with the dark toe area that looked bad in open-toed shoes. The industry came up with both sheer toe boxes and hosiery made especially for sandals, with a split between the big toe and the rest, or sheer hosiery that stopped just before the toes. No longer were open-toed shoes a problem.

    No 10. Americans have gotten slovenly- I don’t think Americans wake up in the morning and say, “Gee, I think I’ll try to look like a slob today.”

    I think they simply don’t know HOW to dress properly. Parents don’t have the kind of influence they did in prior generations because we have gotten more humane in child-rearing and don’t FORCE children to do things. , They don’t say, “polish all your shoes, “style your hair,” or “wear a shirt and tie to school”. They just assume that their children would know to do the same things they did growing up (and not realizing the extent of peer group pressure). This can also go the other way–Have you ever seen a group of young girls going out on a Friday or Saturday night? They are dressed up all right, but not in the way of earlier generations. SHORT, TIGHT, dresses, NO hosiery, HIGH stilettos, and lots of make-up.

    Let’s face it, the only legs that look good bare are those of young women. and even those of young women could be improved with a good pair of hosiery. When I was a young woman I was on a particular airline and every time I saw a flight attendant go down the aisle I noticed what gorgeous legs they all had. I finally asked a flight attendant what made their legs look so shiny and tan and she said, They are SHEER support hose”. I knew about support hose at the time— those thick, heavy-looking stockings only “older” women wore. But now flight attendants were wearing them, those (“Super)models” of the skies! You know why the stockings were so beautiful? They had this “sheen and sparkle” to them that covered up ANY type of blemish, vein, scar etc.,, but, also in their case, tan! I ran out and got some right away! So, they don’t have to be frumpy-looking!

    I see glimmers of hope that hosiery is coming back. It is starting to appear in magazines, on TV, and other fashionable places. YOUNG women have probably NEVER had the chance to experience it. So wearing hosiery could come back as a NEW style trend! And let’s face it— hosiery does keep legs warm. It’s silly for those ladies in New York, and northern states to continue to go bare-legged in the winter for no good reason! We don’t expect women in California and Florida to wear tights in 90 degree heat. And STYLE should not dictate what we wear when it is beyond all reasonable thought.

  • marabenefici23forever

    Hosiery is only to be worn in an office environment or in the winter. I find it to be yet another thing forced on us women by men and the companies that sell them. They are a waste of money, uncomfortable, restrictive, ridiculous, and a thing of the past. (Famous people might wear them, but that’s most likely because they are being paid to do so.)

  • Ma1nguy1

    I don’t give a rip what women think, but as a man I don’t think a woman looks fully dressed without hose and if she’s going out with me then she damn well better wear hose. In the islands it’s warm and humid so bare legs is okay provided she wears open toe heels or sandals. However if she wears closed pumps or heels then hosiery completes otherwise she looks like a “working girl” that I see on the streets wearing pumps and no nylons, probably no underwear either. Now women of color often put lotion on their legs to get rid of the ashy look and thus have smooth looking legs. Most white girls don’t bother with lotion on the legs and it shows because I notice. regardless of color, I can’t stand looking at splotches on the legs which is often camouflaged by hose. Elder women look hideous in pumps without nylons, you see the veins wrinkle in the legs and splotches. Bottom line ladies if you’re dressed to the nines and not wearing nylons it looks like shoddy. Flight attendants wear hose if they’re wearing skirts, female attorneys wear hose to court, in the military women wear hose when in uniform. I’M OLD SCHOOL AND WILL NOT CHANGE

  • ballen1133

    The only time bare legs and dresses go together is when wearing a sun dress. Bare, white legs and dresses…just looks sloppy. And bare feet in heels…enjoy the blisters.

  • Bingo

    They were uncomfortable, slipped down, snagged on everything and went up in flames if you got too near a floor furnace. Not to mention they gave you yeast infections in the summer.

  • gjm11653

    I think this is the most stupid idiotic article ever written. Not one of those reasons make sense. Most women I know and I have 4 sisters and 3 sister in laws with numerous friends and we all were wearing pantyhose past the 90s decades. We all worked and wore them daily. Many of us retired at 50 and not working do not wear them daily but still wear them. And they were never uncomfortable. One friend wear them with shorts all the time. Actually they were very comfortable. And the color choice was is so extensive how could you not find a color you looked good in. I wore black alot even though I am white because I wore black dresses and suits. And the toe was not an issue because sheer toes for toeless heels or for stronger wear in an enclosed shoe go with reenforced toe. Much better than ugly toes many women have.