I started ActSensuous in 2001 fully realizing that pantyhose were on their last legs, having barely survived the 1990s and Sarah Jessica Parker’s TV and movie series, Sex and the City, universally recognized as the origin of the bare legs movement.
Honestly, I thought that was a fad that wouldn’t last. I couldn’t believe then that so many women throughout the world would jump on that bandwagon and ditch their pantyhose.
It’s been a sad decade for pantyhose indeed, but I have never been more optimistic about a comeback than this year. Even last year, I was seeing signs of wider pantyhose acceptance, as more and more TV shows and movies featured actresses wearing. Then there were more women wearing in TV commercials.
And when some big-time entertainers, such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce’ starting attracting attention for their wearing, things were looking good.
Then, there’s Julianna Margulies wearing in every episode of the best drama on TV, The Good Wife, and Morena Baccarin wearing in every episode as the beautiful and glamorous queen alien in V.
But perhaps the real measure of any product’s return to favor in the market is how often it becomes the topic of widespread media coverage. And that’s what is happening right now.
While so-called fashion experts, fashion magazine editors, and the legion of hose-hating women out there want you to think pantyhose have been run out of town for good, the delicate and dainty little accessory is flexing some muscles no one knew it had.
That’s because pantyhose have a new ambassador whose credibility appears to be beyond reproach and whose beauty, class, grace, elegance and charm are irresistable. And that ambassador is Kate Middleton.
Seemingly every day, stories appear in Internet fashion magazines commenting on Kate’s becoming a global fashion icon. And recently, the subject of those stories has been Kate’s wearing pantyhose. (Note: while pantyhose are referred to in the UK as sheer tights, and many of the writers switch between calling them tights, pantyhose and stockings, let’s just stick with pantyhose throughout.)
Funny how the main enemies of pantyhose, the “fashion experts” and fashion magazine editors, now are scrambling to try and outdo one another in covering what’s covering Kate’s lovely legs. And while the coverage has been predominantly positive, it’s no surprise that a few of the online mags criticized Kate for wearing. Some called her look “hopelessly old fashioned,” while others called her wearing pantyhose the “ultimate sin.”
That’s unfortunate, but not unexpected. But what I like is that lately, the majority of the stories I’ve read (all by female writers), disagreed with those who criticize Kate, and actually defended her choice of wearing. And many of the writers said they hope Kate’s influence ushers a return of pantyhose popularity because seeing bare legs everywhere is getting old.
Last week in a posting on CelebrityFix, staff writers delivered a piece in which Kate was photographed in a cable knit Alexander McQueen dress during a recent visit to Canada. The writers realized it was a version of the sailor-style outfit that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in 2006.
If anyone ever needed a visual depicting the merits of pantyhose versus bare legs, this picture ought to do the trick. The bare legs movement has always baffled me. I don’t get how any reasonable person could look at the image and not admit that the one on the left is far and away more attractive than the one on the right. Why women continue to try so hard to look like the one on the right when they could look like the one on the left is beyond me.
A royal example
On Tuesday July 12, in the online Fashion and Beauty magazine Shine, staff writer Piper Weiss wrote a story with the headline: ‘Kate Middleton brings back Pantyhose.’ And the subhead read: ‘Bare legs are so 2010.’
Weiss wrote a positive piece, crediting Kate for bringing back pantyhose for a new generation, and praising her look. Referring to bare legs, Weiss wrote that “egg-crate color is out, and clear, almost fairy-dusted iridescence is in.”
Also in her story, Weiss referred to a recent royal visit by Tom Hank’s wife, Rita Wilson, who complained that she was required to wear hosiery for an event at Buckingham Palace. Apparently, Wilson told Harper’s Bazaar: “Women must wear closed-toe shoes — and get this — stockings! Sheer disbelief — I don’t even own a pair of sheer hose.”
I feel sorry for Tom Hanks, first because his wife supports the bare legs look, and second, because she showed no class in complaining about what is considered elegant by the Royal Family and all it stands for.
Another graphic example
Like the side-by-side picture showing Kate in pantyhose next to bare-legged SJP, in Weiss’ piece she notes that our own First Lady, Michelle Obama, a confirmed pantyhose hater, greeted Kate at Buckingham Palace recently, and the accompanying photo shows Kate in pantyhose and Obama doing the “ugly American” thing in not respecting another country’s culture, tradition and protocol, in this case, by showing up bare-legged.
It goes to show that we’ve still got a long way to go, as long as women choose a look that is less professional, less classy and less attractive.
But with Kate, and her sister, Pippa, constantly being at the center of global attention for having the class and grace to always wear pantyhose, there is plenty of reason for optimism.