Confusion, lack of conviction spur bare legs look


            Robin Maryland,
   president, ActSensuous

I don’t think there’s quite as much negative press about wearing pantyhose today as there was during the past decade.  Oh, it’s still out there, yes, but it seems as if pantyhose are finding their legs again in ever-increasing numbers.

Still, there will always be the “fashion expert” haters out there haterizing on pantyhose.  And there’ll always be some women who refuse to wear for their own personal or political reasons.  But what I see happening today is more and more women who just aren’t sure whether they should wear or not.  Their dilemma: They think they don’t know what the “rules” are anymore.

It amazes me how, seemingly, the majority of women in this country are deciding what to wear or not wear based on what some individual or groups of perceived “fashion experts” preach.  Are pantyhose out?  Are they in?  It’s amazing how frequently these questions are popping up everywhere you look in magazine articles, on television talk shows, online.

What amazes me is women’s inability or unwillingness to make their own decisions.  I’m OK with human beings wanting to be “in fashion.”  Let’s see, it was bellbottoms in the 1970s, big hair in the 80s, a little of everything in the 90s, and bare legs in the 2000s.  There were narrow lapels, wide lapels.  “Dogs and cats living together.”

Fashion changes with the times.  But through the decades, fashion choices never were about being unprofessional in the workplace, disrespectful at formal venues, or displaying a lack of good taste simply out and about.  Except in the case of going bare-legged during the 2000s.

And this is where it should come down to the individual making her own decision about what is right versus wrong; what is “in” or “out” versus what is appropriate for the venue and occasion.

Doing the right thing

Not sure where actress Salma Hayek is actually headed in this photo, but this is a perfect example of how a woman should dress for a funeral.
Not sure where actress Salma Hayek is actually headed in this photo, but this is a perfect example of how a woman should dress for a funeral.

A case in point: Last week, a reader of this blog, Dr. Ray of San Antonio, Texas, wrote this email to me:

“About a year ago, my wife and I  went to a funeral of a close friend of mine for many years. Almost all of the women friends and family wore black dresses, black stockings and black high-heeled shoes.  Why does it take a sad event before women want to look attractive?”

My response to Dr. Ray:  At least, those women had the good sense and good taste to dress appropriately for that occasion.

But Dr. Ray’s larger point is that it took a funeral to get the women in his circle to wear hosiery.  To me, that means they know better.  They accept that an event as formal as a funeral warrants the wearing of hosiery, but why then do they go bare-legged at every other opportunity?

I think the answer is because they can. They can because the bare legs culture exists, so the excuse is out there.

Dr. Ray wrote to me again last night, saying that a similar situation presented itself this past Sunday, when he and his family attended a wedding.  He said his wife dressed elegantly, including wearing pantyhose, while his 17-year-old daughter did not.  That’s likely because the bare legs camp has had some success in convincing today’s younger generation that pantyhose are something only older women wear.

Of course, we know that is not true, as we are seeing more and more young entertainers wearing pantyhose today.  I believe the positive example being set by the likes of Selina Gomez, Katy Perry, Beyonce’ Knowles, Rihanna, Blake Lively, Miranda Cosgrove and Zooey Deschanel to name a few, will begin to influence more young women.

Young female characters on the teen drama series, "Gossip Girl," demonstrate class and elegance in the outfits they wear, including sheer pantyhose, as bridesmaids during a scene from the show.
Young female characters on the teen drama series, “Gossip Girl,” demonstrate class and elegance in the outfits they wear, including sheer pantyhose, as bridesmaids during a scene from the show.

And, thankfully, there are a few good television shows today that feature young women who frequently wear pantyhose.  One such show is the teen drama series, “Gossip Girl,” starring Blake Lively, who appears to be a devoted pantyhose wearer on the set and in real life.

I’ve never watched an episode of “Gossip Girl,” but lately I’ve been seeing many pics of Blake Lively on Internet sites devoted to celebrities in pantyhose.  She appears to be a very professional and classy actress, and she looks fabulous in pantyhose.

Perhaps, shows like this one will someday help to mold a generation of younger women, such as Dr. Ray’s daughter, who will have a positive view about wearing pantyhose.

For now, it’s easy to see how the competing negative and positive press about wearing pantyhose causes confusion among many women today.

No deal, divas

Another longtime reader of this blog, MJ Gruskin, last week, sent me the link to a story published in the online edition of the Tampa Bay Times newspaper:

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/divas/content/reader-question-did-pantyhose-make-comeback

Six writers (all women) apparently form a column, “Deal Divas,” in which they comment about all things fashion today.

In this case, a young woman wrote to the “Divas” about a wedding she attended, at which every woman but her wore hosiery.  The lady is confused as to how this happened, as she had thought that pantyhose were dead and gone.

Here’s the woman’s letter:

I recently went to a wedding in Hunters Green in early November. Very upscale, posh and elegant. I haven’t had many opportunities to dress to the nines so to speak in a few years. So I went all out, new dress, handbag and shoes sans hose of any kind. The bridesmaids age range was 26 to 40 and they wore hose, as well as the bride. All the female guests were wearing sheer hose in colors from nudes to tans and blacks, and many with some pretty killer sandals, too. The women were in their 20s to older than 50.  There were even a couple of women wearing them with pants. I was at a table with four other couples, all women I work with (we work with the bride).

None of us are older than 32. I never saw a single one of them in hose before, and I’ve known them for a few years. I was the only woman that wasn’t wearing any.

I have to admit I felt nearly naked and almost embarrassed. I had a fleeting thought to have my boyfriend drive me to the nearest Walgreens or CVS and buy a pair to put on. I thought hose were long gone.

Am I wrong? So what is a girl to do? Are hose coming back or have they been back and I deleted the memo?

The reply by “Deal Divas” was written by only one of the columnists, Katie Sanders, but who knows whether the other five put their stamp of approval on it?  In some places, Sanders personalizes the response with “I,” and in other places, she uses “we.”

Carole Middleton, mother of Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, not surprisingly knows what to wear to a wedding.
Carole Middleton, mother of Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, not surprisingly knows what to wear to a wedding.

In part, Sanders wrote:

“It depends on whom you ask. Since you asked us, we think it’s reasonable to assure you that you weren’t dressed down for your friend’s wedding.

“It seems odd that all of your young friends wore pantyhose. I haven’t done that as a bridesmaid or a wedding guest, and neither have my friends. We left it behind with our flouncy church gowns, you know?”

Blind leading the blind

Everyone at the wedding had the good sense and good taste to wear hosiery to a formal event, but the “Divas” say that the one woman who didn’t wear hose was not “dressed down.”  That’s the official statement of the “Divas?”  Wow.  It gets worse.  You should read the piece.

It certainly seems to prove my point: Today, women seem to want to do, not necessarily what is right, but what some “fashion experts” tell them is “now.”  And in this case, a woman who thought no one else would wear hose, so didn’t herself, finds that everyone else did, leaving her feeling out of place and slightly embarrassed.  Thus, she questions her belief that pantyhose are “out,” only to be told by the “experts” that it was odd that all those other women would do the unthinkable and wear hose (to a wedding no less), and that the hoseless woman did the right thing.

In fairness, the “Divas” reply does acknowledge (begrudgingly) that the wearing or not wearing of pantyhose is a personal issue.  Also, the reply admits that an earlier attack they made on Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s devotion to wearing sheer nude pantyhose was met with objections from many of their readers.  So, at the very least, the “Divas” do the proper journalism thing by telling both sides of the story, and leaving the matter up to the reader.

Heck, even a mail-order-bride in a box from Hungaria comes wearing pantyhose.
Heck, even a mail-order-bride in a box from Hungaria comes wearing pantyhose.

Still, it’s a shame that so many unprofessional and not-too-classy women who put themselves in the position of being “fashion experts,” use their forum to try to influence everyday women of society to view a fashion accessory as elegant and decidedly feminine as pantyhose as something to be disdained and avoided, simply because they have a personal dislike of it.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking:  Isn’t that pretty much what I’m doing?  Sure, but at least I’m using my blog to extol the virtues of pantyhose in dressing for professionalism at the office, class and elegance at the formal venue, and beauty and femininity in general, simply because I have a personal love for it.

In other words: Idiot, classless, “fashion expert” – bad guy; wise, classy me – good guy.

Makeover madness

Also, last week (wow, all these things happened last week), another longtime reader of this blog, Brian W., wrote a comment and attached this link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/9453642/Trinny-and-Susannah-We-dont-look-at-women-as-pieces-of-meat.html

Kate Middleton doesn't need a "fashion expert's" advice about how to dress, always displaying class, elegance and good taste during public appearances.
Kate Middleton doesn’t need a “fashion expert’s” advice about how to dress, always displaying class, elegance and good taste during public appearances.

If the “Deal Divas” are bad, these women are horrible.  They’re Britain’s makeover queens, Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall, of the original “What Not to Wear” television show, which aired on British TV for five years beginning in 2001.

During a recent interview conducted by Celia Walden of The   Telegraph (a UK-based online newspaper), the pair offered – among other annoyances – their fashion advice for Kate Middleton:  

   Constantine: “She should wear her hair up more. When she wore that sheer green Jenny Packham dress and her hair up, it was simple but stunning.”

   Woodall:  “Oh, and the flesh-coloured tights have got to go. You can wear flesh-coloured fishnets, but that’s it.”

Unbelievable.  Of the 28 readers comments to this piece, only 25 show up at the end of the piece.

I didn’t see a comment from Brian W., but I am sure he wrote a good one.

Perhaps, my feelings can best be described by the first comment from someone who calls himself or herself “the_sentinel.”

It reads:

“Shame they can’t get a makeover themselves. What utter shite.”

Exactly.

Beauty no accident

ActSensuous has been a proud sponsor of the Mrs. America State beauty pageant organizations for the past few years.

Last year, Kristie Bear, one of our customers, won the Mrs. Idaho-America pageant, and posed in her swimsuit wearing her sash, crown and Act II Suntan pantyhose.  I was very proud.  Kristie is pictured in the News section of the ActSensuous website.

Photo by J.Wolfe Productions, Boise, ID
Chanthy Birch prepares for the judges interview during the Mrs. Idaho-America beauty pageant Oct. 13 at Kuna High School auditorium in Kuna, ID. Chanty is wearing Act II Nude.

Two months ago, Chanthy Birch, also an ActSensuous customer, competed in this year’s Mrs. Idaho-America pageant.  While she didn’t win it, she did take the honor in the Best Evening Gown category.  Chanthy wore Act II Nude and Act III Suntan throughout the pageant.

“I have to tell you it was pretty funny,” Chanthy said.  “During full dress rehearsals, I wore your pantyhose and a couple of the ladies came up to me afterward and asked me if I was plannning on wearing them during competition. I told them yes, and they said they didn’t understand what I was trying to hide.  I simply replied: I’m not hiding anything, I’m accentuating what I have.

“They, of course, thought I was completely insane! Ha ha.

“A couple of the ladies told me they didn’t even realize I was wearing pantyhose because they looked so natural and perfect for my skintone.”

Chanthy, wearing Act III Suntan, looks stunning during the swimsuit competition of the Mrs. Idaho-America beauty pageant.
Chanthy, wearing Act III Suntan, looks stunning during the swimsuit competition of the Mrs. Idaho-America beauty pageant.

Chanthy made a point I’ve been trying to get women to understand forever: Wearing pantyhose isn’t an issue of “have to.”  Rather, it’s a case of “want to.”  Pantyhose are designed to enhance the natural beauty of a woman’s legs.

Funny that men all across the world understand this, while so many women don’t.  Men say that pantyhose are like makeup for the legs.  Do women have to wear makeup?  No.  But does makeup enhance their natural beauty?  Uh, that would be a big yes.

I might never understand why so many women try so hard to villify something as soft, delicate and decidedly feminine as pantyhose.  It’s much easier for me to just appreciate and honor the special women who truly “get it,” and go the extra mile to complete their look; to enhance their natural beauty.

Thank you, Chanthy, for sharing your experience and some pictures of you in ActSensuous.

Note: Photos by J. Wolfe Productions, Boise, ID

Also, I want to thank Dr. Ray, MJ Gruskin and Brian W. for their comments and emails, which led to my writing this post.

24 thoughts on “Confusion, lack of conviction spur bare legs look

  • Hello Robin.

    I have been going over some of your older articles looking into some answers for a few questions. Every so often when I talk with some friends who do wear pantyhose at work, I usually get the same ol’ tired answers about why they don’t care for them and not really anything as to why they might like them.

    As I pondered about some of the reasons why not, I never really remembered reading why you like them so much, besides the obvious reason of making one’s legs look like a million bucks. Do you, or any other pantyhose wearing females out there, have any other specific reasons why they are important?

    Some men seem to put a sexual aspect to their reasoning, for which I don’t really know if women care so much about that, but your,or any other woman’s point of view, would be great. I guess what I mean is how do they enhance your life.

    Like I said, any woman’s point of view would be nice so as to understand a positive insight. Just a bit of curiosity on my part.

    Thank you!

    May your days be as smooth as silk.

    Tracy

    • Hi Tracy,

      Looks like I somehow missed this comment you sent me quite a while back. As always, you asked some good questions.

      I can’t really speak to why some other females like wearing pantyhose and think they are important, but here’s my 2 cents: I believe wearing pantyhose is a statement a lady makes that she carries herself with class, elegance, professionalism, glamour and femininity. And POWER. (But you already knew that about me.)

      Further, my mission in life is to bring pantyhose back into mainstream status at the workplace and in the areas of fashion, entertainment and pop culture. I want this because so many women in our country have lost their minds and seem to prefer dressing like men (in many cases, homeless men). This, while the majority of women on almost all other continents on Earth continue to present themselves as true ladies, and have no stupid complaints about something as delicate and decidedly feminine as pantyhose. (But you also already knew that about me.)

      As for the vast majority of men who desire that women wear pantyhose often placing a mostly sexual aspect to their preference, I’ve said many times here that while pantyhose evoke all those positive feminine values I mentioned above, there is no denying that pantyhose are inherently sexy. That’s just the way it is, and I think that’s a good thing.

      Well, let’s see whether any of our female readers here wish to chime in now with their own views. Hope so.

      Thanks again for your questions, Tracy.

      • Thank you Robin.

        I almost forgot about that time of pondering. I appreciate you sharing your personal side with me, as well as with everyone else. Makes me again appreciate your blog and your goals. Maybe “2 cents” to you, but to me a million bucks. Couldn’t enjoy more wealth than that!

        May you always be successful in you endeavors.

        Truly grateful,

        Tracy

  • Hello again Robin!

    Enjoyed the article, as usual very entertaining. Just wanted to drop a line to let you know at my daughter’s elementary school, the school principle is a very devoted pantyhose wearer on the job. She and I chat from time to time and every day I spot her, she is wearing either nude or beige pantyhose. I don’t ever see her in heels, but mostly she wears flats. Thats ok for her dresses are modest and still looks nice with the hose.

    As for the teachers, not a one wears pantyhose. Just dress for convenience I suppose. Not like my younger days. At least the principle tries to set an example. Looks professional.

    Hope you are doing well!

    Tracy

    • Thanks for your comment, Mike T.

      It’s amazing how the advice columnist in this case (and most of them in general) cling to their ridiculous notions on this subject, even when it is clear that they are dead wrong. They refuse to accept what the rest of the real world knows is true: It’s more professional, classy and elegant to wear pantyhose when dressed for business, or a special occasion, such as the wedding in this case. Even at least a few writers and editors of fashion magazines are starting to come around regarding what is reality, as evidenced by the many millions of women all over the world who still embrace the wearing of pantyhose.

  • Went to a Christmas party recently and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of women (young and older) wearing pantyhose. Some were tights, one was lace and a few tans and nudes. I was shocked to see so many in this day and age. I’m not one to say women should always wear ( although that would be just FINE with me, lol ) because i don’t like it when the haters say women should never wear, just the same. It should be personal choice and there are some women who have the legs to pull off going bare.

    With that said, I want to wish everyone here a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a safe and Happy New Year… and a new celebration that lasts all year round. Happy Hosing everyone!

  • I go on various blogs where the topic of pantyhose comes up. There are some women that did not know pantyhose went out of style or is still being worn. Pantyhose has always been in style and women still wear them but it was pushed aside from the mainstream due to the fashion experts’ anti-hose agenda since bare legs have ruled the last decade through casual and comfortable fashion, Sex and the City, and Michelle Obama. There is no doubt in my mind that Kate and Pippa Middleton are mentioned in the media for bringing pantyhose back into the mainstream, but there are other celebrities such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Alba, and Lady Gaga that have worn hose even during the Sex and the City bare legs era and long before the Middletons entered the spotlight. Those celebrities should have been credited for keeping pantyhose in style, yet they keep getting ignored, and not getting any respect from the media, because of all this no hose propoganda from the fashion experts. Had the media gave those celebrities credit (as Robin says “Give Credit wear Credit is due”) instead of allowing the fashionistas to push their anti-hose agenda in the last decade, it would prove that pantyhose is still in fashion and that the younger generation still wears pantyhose. It would also dispell those myths that it is out of style and nobody wears them anymore.

    • Thanks for your comment, Brian W.

      To our new readers: This blog has featured, or at least mentioned, each of the celebrities Brian W. listed, and many others in the column, Credit “Wear” Credit is Due, the “wear” being an intentional play on words.

      Likewise, this blog has criticized the so-called “fashion experts” (and the other notable figures in Brian W’s comment) for their anti-pantyhose propaganda.

      And stay tuned because next year, there will be a resurgence of this blog’s column, The Grizzly Awards, which will spotlight those pantyhose haters who favor what I call the “Bear” Legs Culture.

      Your nominees for Credit “Wear” Credit is Due, and The Grizzly Awards are always welcome.

      Robin

      • Speaking of Grizzly Awards, another celebrity that I would like to add as a nominee for a Grizzly Award is …Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from Jersey Shore. I am not a fan of her nor the show since I don’t watch it, but Snooki is a hose hater who believes that tanned legs are better than pantyhose. She even pushes her anti-hose agenda by telling her best friend Jenni “Jwoww” Farley, who is a frequent pantyhose wearer, and Deena Cortese not to wear hose again at her recent baby shower. At least Jwoww and Deena showed class, professionalism, and femininity by wearing hose, while Snooki is a typical pint size attention seeking bimbo that wants to degrade that.

        • Thanks for your comment, Brian W., but let’s be honest — do we really even want to see Snooki in pantyhose? I think even the beauty of pantyhose wouldn’t help Snooki. In fact, we should hope to never have to look at Snooki … period.

          But, yeah, I hate it when bimbos who have no clue, no class and no sense of femininity try to push others to be as gross as they are. I don’t care that Snooki hates pantyhose, but I do care that she tries to make others look as awful as she does.

          • I wouldn’t even give Snooki a time of day to see her wear pantyhose given her tabloid centred attention she receives for her partying, drinking, and confrontations.

            As you said Robin, lets hope that Snooki’s several minutes of fame are up so she could raise her newborn son, and that we don’t have to put up with her again.

  • Let’s face it as a society there are very few leaders like Robin left. A person that can buck the mob mentality and do as he or she chooses instead of falling in line with people that are tantamount to bullies. Look at the comments made on some of these sites the side for pantyhose make logical points while the other side basically resorts to name calling. In the end I’d much rather associate with women that can make a choice and be confident in it rather than needing to run to some site and rally some “experts” to attempt to rationalize a poor choice.

  • Hi Robin,
    Thank you for making a reference to the link that I provided last week relating to the article about Trinny and Susannah. The reason women seem to rely on these fashion experts giving them advice is because they are afraid that they might face the wrath from these experts or their peers who ridicule and vilify them for wearing pantyhose by saying that they are out of style, old-fashioned, granny legs, uncomfortable and itchy. If women hate pantyhose, and don’t want to wear them, then they shouldn’t wear them. It’s their choice. But when they, along with the fashion experts sink to great lengths by making derogatory comments towards other women about pantyhose, it is not just juvenile, immature, and spoiled, but they are insulting and showing a lack of respect towards women who are trying to present themselves in a classy, and professional manner when it comes to wearing pantyhose.

    As you said Robin, women should make their own decisions in dressing up instead of being influenced by these fashion experts from TV shows, fashion magazines and books, and the internet. All these experts want to do is dictate what women should or shouldn’t wear, and what is in or out of fashion instead of making a woman look classy and glamourous for the occasion. Some of their ideas might turn out to be luducrous and laughable. Let’s face it, not all celebrities have the legs and feet to go bare if they are white, pasty, veiny, thin, blotchy, cracked heels, and uneven and crusty toes

    When women wear pantyhose at a wedding, it is considered an etiquette to wear them at a fall and winter wedding which the Divas seem to ignore, so it is not odd. The girl was not dress up for it thinking that hose was out of style when most women followed the etiquette by wearing hose at the wedding in November. If it was a spring or summer wedding with the warm or hot weather, then wearing pantyhose is an option.

    Dr. Ray’s daughter grew up in an era where pantyhose was pushed aside for casual attire including bare legs. But with TV shows like Gossip Girl showing the young characters wearing pantyhose in addition to the young celebrities wearing hose at various events, its going to take some time for her along with young women around her age to get into the pantyhose craze.

    I hope women continue to wear pantyhose, and not let these hose haters like those so called fashion experts and other women get into their mind. Seeing a woman wear pantyhose shows that they are classy, professional, feminine, elegant, and care about their personal appearance, not just to please guys, but to please themselves as well.

  • Having to vs. want to vs. what people think.

    Robin, I think a lot of it is based on what people see on TV and moreso on the computer. Say compared to the 1980’s there is so much visual information … both good and bad on what the average person has access to and touching on this specific subject, what person wears pantyhose and what person does not. Let me toss this into the mix. Class and culture. People are raised a certain way and have parental role models and adult role models and just understand how to dress. Others choose a different route. So you mix all this together ….TV, the net, friends, parents, co-workers, people you seee on the street, fashion journalists and smarmy columnist types…..and you have this wide, disparate variety of opinions and fashions. Sad part is that so many who refuse to wear pantyhose do so because someone they know hated them so they also choose to follow suit. The technology and processing of modern day pantyhose is so advanced that really no one, when properly educated or at least willing to listen, would not try wearing pantyhose if given a chance.

    • It seems like that the vast amount of society has lost the ability the think for themselves…
      Also it seems that the vast amount of society has lost the ability to question what they see and hear….
      People are so easily hypnotised by what they see and hear… Especially by the world media….
      Tel Lie Vision has been the number one changer of society… It “Divides and Rules” almost everything..

      Luckily in some parts of the world Pantyhose wearing is still very popular… In some countries it has gone from low wearing to quite high again…

      I hope this world economic crisis is not going to effect the sales of pantyhose…. Or the wearing of pantyhose….

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