Last year, we discussed how one of the earliest influences on our pantyhose fetish was seeing pantyhose so many times on our elementary school teachers, mothers, aunts, neighbors, etc. (OK, we didn’t really discuss it; I just wrote about it.)
Another major influence on our delicate psyche as we were growing up had to be the dawning of the superhero characters as depicted in comic books and, eventually, on our television and movie screens.
Often, I’ve wondered just how helpless we were rendered by the super powers wielded by some beautiful superheroines wearing fabulous costumes in which sheer pantyhose played an integral part.
Probably the all-time best female superhero who can still turn our heads today is Wonder Woman as deliciously portrayed by actress Lynda Carter in the popular TV series that ran from 1975 to 1979.
Who can forget the image of her in that iconic red, white and blue skimpy costume, complete with the famous 1970s-style all-nylon sheer-to-waist suntan pantyhose on those legs that seemingly went for miles?
Like its predecessors — the Batman TV series of the 60s and Superman of the 50s — Wonder Woman was never going to win an Oscar for its scripts or acting (and, certainly, not its special effects), but if someone came up with a hall of fame for TV superheroines, Lynda Carter would have to be at the top of the list for enshrinement.
Case in point: There have been many Superman and Batman blockbuster movies made in every decade since the 1990s, but have you seen a new Wonder Woman since 1979? There hasn’t been a live-action Wonder Woman TV series or movie since Carter’s WW days, and the lone attempt by NBC to create one in 2011 failed miserably.
That might be in part because veteran costume designer Robert Blackman, a multiple Emmy nominee, and three-time winner, messed with Wonder Woman’s costume, changing those iconic briefs to (gasp) pants.
“I was vilified and vindicated (by Wonder Woman fans) on an hourly basis,” Blackman told Entertainment Weekly. “There was outrage over everything from the fact that she was wearing pants to the boot color.”
Yes, and rightfully so. What in the world was this guy thinking? Why do people want to change something that’s worked beautifully for decades?
Eventually, in some promotional photos I saw ahead of the would-be show’s release, the costume did include an updated version of the classic briefs or short-shorts, but the star who was to play Wonder Woman was modeling them in “bear” legs.
Uh, yeah … that was never gonna work, folks. You don’t mess with an icon.
What makes a superhero character iconic? Webster’s Dictionary offers a couple of definitions of the word, icon: “Any person or thing that is revered; someone or something regarded as embodying the essential characteristics of an era, group, etc.”
Listen, Lynda Carter is Wonder Woman, and Wonder Woman (at least on TV) wears those briefs with sheer pantyhose. Period.
If we didn’t have a thing for pantyhose already, those of us who grew up watching Wonder Woman during the 70s might have become forever hooked because of the beautiful and charming character Lynda Carter portrayed.
Just for kicks
In my mind, after Wonder Woman, the next great superheroine who very well could have influenced our early pantyhose fetish has to be the awesome video game character, Chun-Li.
Introduced in the original Street Fighter II video game in 1991, Chun-Li is an undercover Interpol agent seeking to avenge the death of her father at the hands of Bison and his criminal organization.
Chun-Li, the first well-known female playable character in a fighting game, was designed with muscular legs because of her strong martial arts kicking skills, necessary to hold her own in combat against the standard roster of powerful male characters.
In the game, and subsequently, in movies, Chun-Li wears a traditional Chinese qipao dress with long side slits to accommodate her powerful kung fu kicks.
But let’s be honest here — it’s those brown pantyhose that make the outfit, and made us fall in love with Chun-Li.
I played that game in the 90s with friends, and I was always Chun-Li.
As far as I know it was the first time anyone had made a video game in which a female character was clearly wearing pantyhose, and that was cool.
Like Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, could you ever imagine the Chun-Li character not being dressed in pantyhose? Icon, people.
Right or Wong
I’m not certain whether another superheroine who captured our hearts first in video games should be counted here or not because in almost half the pictures I can find of her she appears to be “bear”-legged. But in slightly more than half of the others, Ada Wong of the Resident Evil video games, clearly is wearing pantyhose.
Sadly, when Ada Wong finally made it to the silver screen last year in Resident Evil: Retribution, she didn’t appear to be wearing pantyhose through most of the movie.
I say didn’t appear to be, as it is very hard to tell because gorgeous Chinese actress Li Bingbing has such perfect porcelain-like skin.
I would swear that Miss Li is wearing very sheer pantyhose in some of the scenes and in some of the promotional photos for the movie, but as thoroughly as I’ve investigated, the truth is I just can’t tell.
Still, I included Ada Wong here for two reasons: First, the official artwork for the Resident Evil video game clearly shows that her legs are smoother and have a slight shading, which is different from the rest of her skin, indicating she is wearing sheer pantyhose;
Second, the majority of professional and everyday cosplay models who portray her do wear pantyhose with the costume.
I’d like to think that means those models consider pantyhose integral to the Ada Wong costume, but I could be just as happy thinking that they at least have the brains and class to wear pantyhose just to look good in the costume.
Hopefully, the models who don’t think it’s necessary to wear pantyhose with their Ada Wong costumes regret their decisions when they see the pics of themselves later on.
Either way, Ada Wong in pantyhose totally rocks her beautiful red qipao dress better (in my opinion) than Chun-Li because Ada wears black pumps, whereas Chun-Li’s clunky white army boots are so less feminine looking.
Super supporting characters
Naturally, there are many other female superheroes in comic books, video games, TV series and movies, but I can’t point to any who are always depicted wearing pantyhose. But there are some very significant supporting characters whose beautiful pantyhose-adorned legs might equally have helped to nurture our pantyhose fetish in the early stages.
One of the most iconic is Lois Lane, originally portrayed by Noel Neill in the 1950s TV series, The Adventures of Superman.
While, of course, pantyhose weren’t around during the 1950s, Neill always wore nylon stockings in the role, and set the bar high for future Lois Lanes.
And of all those who’ve played the part since, so far, my favorite Lois Lane is the one turned in by Teri Hatcher during the 1990s TV series, Lois & Clark, The New Adventures of Superman, which ran from 1993 to 1997.
While the show was mostly pretty goofy, it was fun, and no expense was spared for Hatcher’s wardrobe, which dressed Lois Lane in some great business suits, dresses and gowns, always with high heels and sheer pantyhose.
As the dreaded “bear” legs movement was just taking off in the late 90s, I was happy that Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane never compromised on class and glamour, and I hoped her example would do much to keep pantyhose from being “run” off too soon. Either way, I like what she contributed to the role.
Smooth as silk
A special nod must go to another great supporting character to a superhero — Mary Jane Watson, the love interest of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Actress Kirsten Dunst deserves credit for her great performance as MJ in the Spider-Man movies of 2002, 2004 and 2007.
Likewise, the costume designer for all three movies should be commended for consistently dressing MJ with the class, grace and femininity of her iconic comic book character, as Dunst was always in dresses, heels and sheer pantyhose.
And Dunst had never looked better.
“The truth is out there”
“I want to believe” there’s another great character who might have influenced late bloomer pantyhose lovers. While she wasn’t a female superhero, she certainly was special — Special Agent Dana Scully, that is, on TV’s The X-Files.
In the breakout role of her career, Gillian Anderson gained international recognition, winning several awards for her portrayal of Scully, including an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards for “Best Actress in a Drama Series.”
In the lead female role on the series, which ran from 1993 to 2002, Anderson was fantastic playing the strong, independent, intelligent FBI agent. The character was extremely professional, as were the outfits she wore, which often consisted of skirt suits, complete with pumps and sheer pantyhose.
The costume designer and Anderson are to be commended, as so many female cop characters are dressed like men, down to the pants suits and ugly shoes. Worse, those characters come across as masculine as they look.
But not Special Agent Scully. Even during the times when she wore a pantsuit, she wore those pumps and sheer pantyhose. She was professional, but always feminine and quietly glamorous.
There have been many great superheroines and even more super female lead characters that we grew up with during the awesome pantyhose era of the 1960s to the mid-1990s.
Who could forget Stephanie Zymbalist as Laura Holt in the TV series Remington Steele, opposite Pierce Brosnan as the title character?
In that private detective series, which ran from 1982 to 1987, we could always count on Laura Holt to wear beautiful dresses with high heels and sheer pantyhose.
And how about Cybill Shepherd opposite a young Bruce Willis in the private detective TV series, Moonlighting, which aired from 1985 to 1989? Like Laura Holt, Madelyn “Maddie” Hayes always wore dresses, heels and sheer pantyhose.
There’s no doubt the decade of 1980 was great for pantyhose, but probably nothing tops the 1970s as the ultimate pantyhose era. There were so many TV shows that might have helped to shape our love of pantyhose, starting right in 1970 with The Mary Tyler Moore show. That show, which lasted until 1977, featured the title actress/character in mostly professional attire that always included heels and pantyhose.
Then, there was the sitcom, Three’s Company, which aired from 1976 to 1984 and featured Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers, both of whom became known for their legs in pantyhose.
But it was Joyce DeWitt, perhaps, the greatest pantyhose ambassador of all time, who outright refused to be shot on the set in any outfit that didn’t include pantyhose. Fortunately, she most often wore dresses or skirts, but regardless of the scene, whether she appeared in a towel, a robe, gym shorts or pants, DeWitt’s character, Janet Wood, always would be in sheer suntan pantyhose.
Of course, later, DeWitt went on to star in many TV commercials for L’eggs pantyhose.
From 1966 to 1969, the original Star Trek aired. As iconic characters go, could you imagine Lt. Uhura not wearing pantyhose with that skimpy uniform?
Am I wrong, people? Do you doubt that these classic and iconic characters could have influenced our love for pantyhose during these early years?
I vividly remember a scene that really moved me. For this post, I tried to find a still picture of it, but couldn’t. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a You Tube video of it either. It was from the original 1960s British TV series about secret agents, The Avengers.
Now, peter_a (once, a frequent commenter), don’t be outing me here. I am hereby stating that I was way too young to have experienced first-hand this show, which aired from 1961 to 1969, so I guess I must have seen the reruns a couple of decades later during my tender formative years. [Insert snide remark here]
I remember my sisters and I watching this show and cracking up every time we saw this scene in the opening sequence intro:
The female lead character, Mrs. Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg), is driving (very fast) in a hot British convertible on a remote road in the English countryside when she comes across a hitchhiker.
One of televisions first strong female characters, Mrs. Peel is an expert in karate’, judo, guns and fencing, and often kicked some major booty in the long-running espionage series.
Mrs. Peel picks up the hitchhiker. Of course, she’s wearing the iconic mini skirt of 1960s England, complete with very sheer nude pantyhose (that’s about the only kind that was made back then). Well, the hapless hitchhiker playfully places his hand on Mrs. Peels pretty thigh just as the car is entering a tunnel. For a second or two the viewer sees only the other end of the tunnel from the outside.
Then, the speeding car emerges from the tunnel and we see Mrs. Peel … but no one else in the car with her. Even as dumb kids, we knew that meant Mrs. Peel dispatched the poor slob without skipping a beat.
I don’t know why, but we laughed over this scene every time. We just thought that was so funny, but I never could get that image of the guy’s hand lightly atop Mrs. Peel’s beautiful pantyhose-adorned thigh … if only for a brief ecstatic moment for him.
Note: OK, apparently, I am wrong here. I was called out (politely) by a reader, Tony, who wrote the comment below.
The scene you mentioned about Mrs Peel picking up someone…it wasn’t Mrs Peel. The scene you refer to didn’t happen on The Avengers. I’ve got every surviving episode of The Avengers and I can confirm that there was never a scene like that. You seem to refer to Sharron Macready (Alexandra Bastedo) in ITC’s The Champions episode, Full Circle (and shown in a shortened form in a later episode). It happened in a short scene right after the opening credits. A show that was shot at the same studio as the Rigg/Thorson episodes of The Avengers from early 1967-early 1968.
Thank you for that, Tony. No wonder I couldn’t find any art from that scene anywhere.
In any event, naturally, I could never have dreamed way back then that I’d end up the president of my own pantyhose company. At least now, you all have a clue as to why I make the kind of pantyhose ActSensuous are.
Could the classic and iconic superheroines and other strong female characters who looked amazing in beautiful outfits, complete with high heels and sheer pantyhose in comic books, TV shows, TV commercials, movies, and even video games, which have captured our hearts and minds, be responsible for influencing our love for pantyhose today?
I think so.
Official disclaimer: It would be impossible to even attempt to mention every superheroine or strong female character whose lovely hosiery-adorned legs graced comic book pages and TV and movie screens from the 1950s through today. Please let us hear from you about which ones I left out who influenced you the most.
Meanwhile, here are some photos of iconic characters we loved during the amazing pantyhose era of the 1960s through mid-1990s: