A Grizzly goes to London

Robin Maryland, president, ActSensuous

Readers of this blog have come to know and appreciate my column, Credit ‘wear’ Credit is Due, in which I heap loads of praise on some worthy celebrities for their devotion to wearing pantyhose.

And we’ve had some great ones, haven’t we?  Ann Curry, Fran Drescher, The T-Mobile Girl (Carly Foulkes), Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Middleton, and Carrie Ann Inaba (for doing a complete 180 and finally wearing pantyhose on every episode of the game show “1 vs. 100,” which she hosted recently.)

Minus that headline, I’ve also glorified some other devoted pantyhose wearers, such as Anne Hathaway, Julianna Margulies, Milla Jovovich, Meredith Vieira, Katy Perry, Parker Posey, Linda Fiorentino, Kim Basinger, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.  And there are many, many more who deserve such recognition.

Then, a couple of months ago, I introduced a whole different column.  This one shines the spotlight on those celebs who completely miss the boat, just don’t get it, lack the finest sense of true femininity, and always miss opportunites to show some real professionalism, elegance or class.

So, for only the second time, I am handing out the coveted (NOT) ActSensuous Grizzly Award.

And this time, the hardware goes to one Stacy London.

Fashion consultant Stacy London always wears beautiful dresses and high heels, but unfortunately, she's a devoted and vocal follower of the "bear" legs culture.

That’s right, the co-host of  TV’s “What Not to Wear,” a reality makeover show, in which London and her wonder boy sidekick, Clinton Kelly, use their superior brains and good taste (yes, I’m being sarcastic here) to completely trash the wardrobe of their guests and reinvent them in their own fashionwise images.

And, as many normal people have written in comments to online postings by or about these two “fashion experts,” they often do it in a completely arrogant and insulting manner.

A perfect "Beauty and the Beast" scenario as the professional and classy Meredith Vieira, left, who always wears pantyhose, interviews fashion expert Stacy London, who never wears pantyhose. Does London not see how much better Vieira's legs look than hers?

As readers of this blog know, I despise so-called “fashion experts” who make universal rules and tell everyone what they can and cannot wear, as if their likes or dislikes about fashion trends are somehow more appropriate and obviously more sound than what anyone else on the planet thinks.  It’s “fashion experts” like these two who’ve come up with the “rule” that one can never wear pantyhose with open-toe high heel dress shoes a rule that, incidentally, is almost never followed by anyone with half a brain, and one that is standing up less and less to scrutiny everywhere.

So Stacy London, possibly the queen of all “fashion experts,” gets the second Grizzly Award (after Sarah Jessica Parker for obvious reasons)?  But it’s not just because she’s a “fashion expert.”  Rather, it’s because she’s on record as stating that she likes bare legs for all seasons.  That, and she’s using her credentials and influence to further her own agenda — a personal dislike and distaste for pantyhose as a fashion accessory.

Here’s are a couple of excerpts from a 2008 segment of TODAY.com where London is a style contributor, answering readers’ questions about fashion:

Q: I was watching “What Not to Wear” when you appeared horrified by the idea of wearing hose. I know it’s not really the style now to wear nylons, but I have terrible spider veins on my white legs. What do I do now that skirts are knee-length and those veins are so obvious? Any advice?

A: 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!

Q: You indicated that pantyhose were no longer proper attire. You stated that in summer, go with bare legs and in winter, wear tights.  I enjoy wearing pantyhose and want to know if I am old-fashioned if I wear them?

A:  I did not mean to indicate in my last segment that pantyhose are no longer appropriate attire. My feeling is that those that are considered day sheer or mid-denier don’t look modern, but a bit dated.  The denier number on hose shows you how sheer the stocking will be. The lower the number, the more sheer they are.

For example, a denier of 10 will be supersheer. These are great for evening, especially with a little shine or a back seam, as they look natural and simply enhance the legs for evening. A denier of 30, is what I have most trouble with; it’s neither here nor there. It’s not sheer. It’s not opaque. You know? It’s like a relationship: Either you’re in or you’re out. This wishy-washy sheerness dates an outfit to the ’70s or ’80s, when this style was most popular. But when you get to a denier of 50 or above, and the stocking is clearly opaque, I think this becomes a more modern and relevant look. A shiny tight like this can be used for day or evening.

OK, first, the country’s leading fashion expert comes out and blatantly tells women to go with bare legs in the summer?  She also tells women to use self-tanner for pale legs?  Seriously?  Second, she recommends opague tights in a subtle color, “like burgundy or deep purple?”  (Those colors are subtle?)

Stacy London actually wore this outfit during the Keep A Child Alive's 5th annual Black Ball Nov. 13, 2008 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, NY.

Hey, look, I respect others’ opinions, and the fact that London is considered a fashion expert, if that’s her best advice about leg coverings, then too bad for her and anyone who listens to her.  While I completely disagree with London about everything she says about pantyhose, I’ve got no problem with her actually saying it.  She’s entitled to say what she wants.  Where I have a problem with her is on her point about denier ratings.

She specifically says that it’s pantyhose with a denier rating of 30 that she finds objectionable.  She even cautions “If they come in an egg, you don’t want to wear them,” referring to the L’Eggs brand (owned by Hanes) of the 1970s and 80s.   But she’s wrong.  L’Eggs and their competitors (the most widely-known one being No Nonsense) made their pantyhose in a 20 denier rating.

As she said, denier rating determines how sheer the nylon fabric is.  The lower the number, the more sheer the pantyhose.  When I created ActSensuous in 2001, I looked into the 10 denier rating she referred to, and yes, they are super sheer, but the fabric is coarse and not very natural looking.  They are not soft or silky at all, and while there may be a market for them, it’s not a very big one.  You almost never see anyone wearing pantyhose like these.  And, yes, denier ratings as high as 50 are available, but they are tights that are thick and, in my view, not suitable in some venues, such as a formal dinner engagement, nor for proper business attire.

No, my problem with London’s remarks are about the pantyhose of the 1970s and 80s being so awful.  I loved pantyhose in the 70s and 80s, and I’ve never known of a 30 denier rating.   But what do I know?  The pantyhose of those decades were made almost entirely of 100 percent nylon fabric in a 20 denier, which is exactly why I made ActSensuous in a 20 denier.  I think those are precisely the kind of pantyhose that true pantyhose lovers love.  Those are the style, the look and the feel that we all miss.  Maybe London meant to say a 20 denier rating is what is so awful.

By the way, ActSensuous has hundreds and hundreds of customers from all over the world, literally from Atlanta to Bangkok, from California to Denmark, from New York to New Zealand.  We’re big in England, France and Australia.  We have customers from China, Korea and Japan.  I don’t think there is a country in which we don’t have customers.  And they all tell us ActSensuous are the softest, sheerest and sexiest pantyhose they’ve worn.  But, really, what do we all know?  We’re not “fashion experts” like Stacy London and Boy Wonder.

In doing the research for this post, I ran across this forum on the Internet:


To the question:  “What’s your honest opinion of Stacy London and Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear?  Do you like this Show …?,  most answers were negative, but even some of the supportive ones came out against their obvious negative slant against pantyhose.

I particularly love this response:

LindsaySheers said:

… Why is (Clinton Kelly) telling me what all men find sexually alluring on women?

A lot of gay men know a lot about fashion, but to get such advice on that subject, I would like a 2nd & 3rd & straight opinion.

… These two complete followers of Brittany and Sarah Jessica Parker have agreed that they do not like pantyhose, (fine), however, they dictate to their audience and columns that, “No one likes them.” “Everyone looks bad in them.” Etc…

I think my legs are my best feature and every boyfriend I have ever had have all confessed to me, after that shyness period passed, that they were all ‘ga ga’ for me (girls in general) when wearing sheer silky pantyhose (hence my nickname, given to me by my current boyfriend sitting kind of to the side here & still a little shy) and tights, but mostly the sheer nude/tan/beige hues.

Lastly, the show was/is not only incorrect on so many levels, but caters to and from their mindset only. Falling into this show would have you most likely ending up as a follower. Be a trendsetter, not a follower. Be stylish. Be sexy. Be yourself. Not what they insist on.

Let me tell you something: this LindsaySheers gets it.  Good for her.

If ever a case could be made for wearing pantyhose, click on the image to see the expanded version. Stacy London looks very lovely in this photo, but wait until you get to see a closeup of those legs.

You know, I want to like Stacy London.

She’s a beautiful and charismatic woman, she’s very intelligent, and she has accomplished great things in her life.

Before co-hosting “What Not to Wear,” she started her career as an editor at Vogue magazine, then, became a stylist for celebrities and designers, then, a fashion contributor on many Today show formats.

She is or has been a spokeswoman for several brands, including Revlon, Pantene, Woolite and Dr. Scholl’s® For Her Comfort Insoles.

Along with Kelly, she’s written a book, “Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That’s Right for Your Body.” 

I actually felt a little bad when I named Sarah Jessica Parker the first recipient of the ActSensuous Grizzly Awards because, when researching her for the piece, I actually found several pictures of her wearing pantyhose.   That’s right, the one celeb universally “credited” with creating the bare legs culture with her “Sex and the City” TV series and movies, actually wears pantyhose fairly regularly.   It was more symbolic that SJP had to get the first Grizzly Award.

But I don’t have any reluctance about bestowing upon Stacy London the second Grizzly Award.  I can’t find a single photo of her wearing pantyhose.  Granted, some of the pics of her on the Internet are of low resolution and too small a file to really be able to tell if she’s wearing or not.  But based on everything London says and stands for, I am pretty sure she is not wearing pantyhose in any of the pics on the Internet.  Certainly, she comes across as if she hates pantyhose, thinks they are old-fashioned and irrelevant today.

The dynamic duo, Clinton Kelly and Stacy London of TV's "What Not to Wear."

I liked “What Not to Wear” when it debuted in 2002.

I watched quite a few episodes and I remember longing to see London wearing pantyhose with those beautiful dresses and high heels she always wore.  But it never happened.

I thought that was such a missed opportunity on her part — a chance for her to show professionalism, class and elegance in the role she held.  But, to her, it wasn’t a missed opportunity at all.

This lady just doesn’t believe in pantyhose … period.

Like LindsaySheers, I too was upset and offended when I saw a video of London and Boy Wonder “explaining how to wear pantyhose,” especially when they admitted the video was made only because they were getting so many inquiries from consumers about why they never talked about pantyhose.   Then, when they said that nobody looks good in suntan pantyhose and no one should ever wear them, I realized that there is probably no one more deserving of the second ActSensuous Grizzly Award than Stacy London.

Here’s that video:


So, what do you think?   Could there be a more worthy recipient of the ActSensuous Grizzly Awards than Stacy London?

15 thoughts on “A Grizzly goes to London

  • I I think I may have said something about
    this in the past. Where there was a
    situation back in high school.Two female
    friends sat together.One Was Rather
    average looking but she dressed nice
    fous days a week in pantyhose high heels
    and a dress and her prom queen friend
    who when occaisonally wearing a dress
    went bare legged..I would find myself
    staring at the plain looking one and
    drooling well at one time anyway and
    some of my friends nnticed this and
    said why are you looking at that one
    when that hottie is sitting next to her..
    Guess Whici One I ended up going to the
    senior prom with

  • Like Stacy London, I think Rachael Ray’s fashion buddy Gretta Monahan should get a “Grizzly Award”, she absolutely hates sheer nude/tan/beige pantyhose too!!

    • Thanks, Kevin, and welcome to The ActSensuous Blog. I had never heard of Gretta Monahan before (most likely because I don’t watch Rachael Ray kinds of shows), so I’ll look into the possibility of her getting a “Grizzly Award.” For that matter, does Rachael Ray even wear?

      Here are a couple of questions: You say Gretta “absolutely hates sheer nude/tan/beige pantyhose.” Is she on record with that, or is that just your observation? Also, you describe her as Rachael Ray’s “fashion buddy.” Does that mean she has a segment on Ray’s cooking show, in which she talks about fashion or something? If she is supposed to be some kind of fashion expert and comes out against pantyhose, that certainly would qualify her as a candidate for a “Grizzly Award.”

      Either way, thanks again, Kevin, for weighing in.


  • I was able to find a few pictures of London in sheer black pantyhose from am old Macy’s commercial and it’s amazing how good her legs look in them! On her show I could probably count the number of times on one hand that she has worn hose but when she does it’s fun to watch!

    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your comment, and welcome to The ActSensuous Blog. Yes, it is such a shame that someone as lovely as Stacy London not only doesn’t wear pantyhose as a rule, but actually goes out of her way to discourage other women from wearing, too.

      Looking forward to hearing more comments from you, Mike.


  • Hey Robin,
    I found the video on youtube when Stacy and Clinton are discussing pantyhose. They contend that suntan does not look, and are in favour of opaque tights, black hose with a 10 denier rating, and fishnets…uggghh.

    At least most of the posters disagreed with Stacy’s and Clinton’s assessment of suntan hosiery, and still believe that suntan looks good on women. Even one woman said that her boyfriend likes seeing her wear suntan hose, and feels comfortable wearing Sheer Energy pantyhose that is long lasting.

  • Hi Robin,
    After reading your post about Stacy London and her WNTW co-host Clinton Kelly, I am not sure if you agree with this but it seems as though that the top fashion designers for women are gay men with an issue of women wearing pantyhose.

    Clinton Kelly, as you know is gay, and Stacy avoid talking about pantyhose because they think that women hate pantyhose and do not look good in them. The only time they talked about it is when they received feedback and had to show women how to put them on. Well not all women hate pantyhose. They already know how to put them on, and their legs look good in them not just to attract men, but to make themselves feel good.

    When Candace Bushnell received advice not to wear pantyhose and go bare legged for all seasons which she would later pass on to her characters on Sex and the city to propel the bare legs movement, that advice came from a top New York fashion designer Issac Mizrahi, who is also gay. Ms. Bushnell made a quote from this blog entry under the date September 12, 2006.

    “Isaac Mizrahi once told me that a lady never, ever wears pantyhose. Even if it’s snowing and twenty degrees outside”.


    I also made another post earlier about gay fashion designer Tim Gunn bashing Kate Middleton for wearing sheer hosiery. Mr. Gunn still thinks that sheer hose is out of style, maybe in his own world. What else does this douche know? At least Kate Middleton is a woman with class.

    When a gay fashion designer says that women should NEVER wear pantyhose because they are passe, don’t they consider the fact that he is gay and consequently is NOT attracted to women or what is attractive about a woman to straight men.

    When these gay fashion designers dictate and judge women on what they should or shouldn’t wear, they show a lack of respect for women who are trying to be themselves. If these designers don’t like seeing women be very classy and professional especially when it comes to wearing pantyhose wear pantyhose, TOO BAD!!!

  • London In London…..

    This side of the pond her comments would be laughable…. Wearing tights/pantyhose is more the norm….

    “What Not to Wear” originated in the UK in 2001 hosted by Trinny and Susannah they both regularly wore tights/pantyhose and was all for wearing them….

    Robin….. You said…..
    “ActSensuous has hundreds and hundreds of customers from all over the world,”

    They are the real experts who truly value and appreciate your fine pantyhose….

    Female.. Male….. Old and young….enjoy your pantyhose and have fun..

    Take Care


  • Hi Robin,
    Great post as always. There is no doubt that Stacy London deserves the Grizzly award. She is a follower of the bare legs movement and trying to dictate, like these other so-called fashion experts what women should or should not wear, especially telling women not to wear sheer hosiery. I saw the close up pictures of Stacy’s legs, and her legs look downright blotchy and have freckles on them. Is this the style that Stacy is trying to influence women out there when her own legs look awful?

    As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Sarah Jessica Parker does wear hose in real life. But it is her Sex and the City character, Carrie Bradshaw that does not. Carrie, along with her three friends from the TV series is based on author Candace Bushnell’s personal experiences and not wearing pantyhose is one of them. Maybe Ms. Bushnell should be deserving to get the Grizzly Award since she inspired her Sex and the City characters to go bare legged year round in New York that gained a following from the fashion industry, celebrities, media, and women propelling the bare legs movement.

    Its good to that you gave us the denier rating for the hose so that we would know next time the right size and style of hose women should wear. I am not sure if I have the ratings correct though.

    10 denier – supersheer
    20 denier – sheer
    30 denier – semi-sheer
    40 denier – semi-opaque
    50 denier – opaque tights

    I was looking online to see which denier that Kate Middleton wore. The hose she wears is a 20 denier which is silky and soft than 10 denier which as you said is coarse, and not silky nor soft at all. That is probably why women today are complaining that hose is tight, and itchy. The problem is that they are not wearing the right size and style of hose, and are just looking for lame duck excuses to complain about hosiery. All they got to do is to find the right size and style of hose and having a denier rating would help them do that.

    Even though she may be one of those fashion experts on “What not to wear,” Stacy should at least mind her own business, and let women wear what they want to wear. If it includes pantyhose, let them wear it.

    • Thanks for that thoughtful and detailed comment, Brian. I agree with everything you wrote. Also, I didn’t know that about Candace Bushnell, so thank you for that. You just might be right … maybe she, not SJP, should have gotten that first Grizzly.

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