Is what’s considered fashionable a case of art imitating life, or life imitating art? Everyone knows that fashion was influenced more by the golden era of Hollywood than anything else, and I am sure it’s every bit the case today.
Life Imitating Art
By now you know that Sarah Jessica Parker is “credited” with creating the “bare legs movement” with her “Sex and the City” TV show and movies. When everyday women saw the show’s high-profile characters strutting around New York City – fashion capital of the world – all dressed up minus the pantyhose, they completely lost their minds, adopted the idea, and from the mid-1990s to present, pantyhose practically disappeared as a fashion staple.
Art Imitating Life
As the bare legs culture grew in popularity among non-celebrities, naturally, more and more actresses and entertainers jumped on the bandwagon, too. It was almost as if celebs felt obligated to sport the new fashion look since they are expected to be the trendsetters in such things, and it had become clear that anti-pantyhose fever already was firmly established among the general population.
Coming full circle
While pantyhose were disappearing in society, even in the workplace, the entertainment industry’s role in it was evolving from instigator in creating the bare legs culture, to one of jumping onto the bandwagon, to now becoming the one place where pantyhose most likely are seen and appreciated today.
There’s one thing you can depend on about fashion – no fad lasts very long. What’s “in” eventually becomes what’s “not in,” and you can be sure that as soon as what’s not in takes off and everyone gets enough mileage out of it, ultimately, it will become what’s in again.
Today, entertainers appear to be split on the wearing of pantyhose. Thankfully, some truly professional stars, such as Geena Davis, Julianna Margulies, Linda Fiorentino, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Fran Drescher, Holly Hunter, Goldie Hawn, Shelley Long, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman to name a few, never bought into the bare legs thing and, as long as the role or the scene they played didn’t preclude it, they always wore pantyhose. And there are some bright new stars today who are contributing to bringing pantyhose back into popularity, among them the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, and for the most part, Katie Holmes, Kate Moss, Megan Fox, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Alba, Milla Jovovich and Olivia Munn.
Pantyhose on display
Already this year, stars wearing pantyhose has been a frequent scene in many TV programs, movies and entertainment venues.
I have to give props to Paula Abdul, who always wears pantyhose as host of her new show, “Live to Dance,” and always wears when she makes appearances on the late night talk shows. To me, that shows that she is professional and classy. Good for you, Paula.
So, it seems that the best we can hope for these days is this pantyhose love-hate relationship in the entertainment industry. Last week, I saw Gwyneth Paltrow on Jimmy Fallon. She wore a short dress and very sheer nude pantyhose. Sadly though, lovely little Sandra Oh appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, wearing a slacks outfit.
Those who have seen Sandra only on “Grey’s Anatomy,” might be surprised to learn that she has gorgeous legs (and feet), and she’s shown them off in pantyhose in several movies. Sadly, she mostly does the bare legs thing during red carpet or publicity events. I just don’t get that. She doesn’t seem like the follow-what-everyone-else-is-doing type to me. She is one celeb I really wish would glam it up a lot more because she can do it so well, and it would show a totally different side of her. Oh well. I still love her.
Also last week, I couldn’t wait to see Maggie Q on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno just to see if I would win the bet I made with myself that she would wear a short dress and high heels but no pantyhose.
Sometimes, I just hate being right. Then again, with someone like Maggie Q and her perfect Asian skin, whether she’s wearing in this picture or not can be difficult to tell.
She really looked good on Leno. Here’s a small pic I found of Maggie on the Internet. Is she wearing? Could be. I doubt it, but I want to believe that she is.
This weekend, I re-watched the movie, “Get Smart,” with Steve Carell, who did a great job as Maxwell Smart.
When the movie first came out a few years ago, and when I saw it again on Saturday, I was so disappointed in Anne Hathaway for not wearing pantyhose in her role as Agent 99. (She “Missed it by THAT much!”)
UPDATE (See the Reader Comments on this post. Looks like I was wrong about Anne Hathaway. One reader provides compelling evidence that, at least in one scene, Agent 99 indeed was wearing. “Sorry about that, Chief!”)
And speaking of spy shows, another celeb I am disappointed in is Piper Perabo, who stars in TV’s “Covert Affairs.” She’s really lovely, but she did the bare legs thing on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson last week. Sorry, I just think that shows a lack of class, and I had a different image of her than that.
I have written before about my disappointment in the way she often doesn’t wear pantyhose with her otherwise professional attire on “Covert Affairs,” despite that advertising spots almost always show her in pantyhose.
Again, I don’t know who’s at fault – Perabo or the show’s costume designer – for Perabo’s character not wearing pantyhose on “Covert Affairs.” I wonder how much say Perabo has about the matter, and which way she’d lean if she did have a say.
It’s interesting, as one reader commented, that advertisers don’t miss the opportunity to show off Perabo in pantyhose during promotions for the show.
Check out this site: http://www.emrahyucel.com/tr/entry/category/all/company/5/customer/0/page/8
and scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’re looking for page 16.
On page 16, the “Covert Affairs” set is about halfway down the page. These are some beautiful publicity photos, and hopefully, a sign of the outfits to come on this show.
And it’s not just on TV and in movies that pantyhose are finding their legs again. One of this blog’s devoted followers, Peter A., pointed out earlier this month that everywhere he looked, he saw the professional models and visitors wearing pantyhose during the Jan. 18 Detroit Auto Show. I love that. Thanks for the photo, Pete.
Hollywood has always blessed us with glamorous actresses who set the beauty standards of the day.
From the late 1960s through the mid-1990s, nylons were as much a staple in Hollywood as makeup. So while it wasn’t unusual (until now) to see a TV or movie star wearing nylons on screen, a few actresses actually distinquished themselves as what I am calling Pantyhose Goddesses.
Julie Newmar appeared on Broadway in the 1950s, and had many starring roles in television and movies during the 1960s, possibly none more auspicious than her role as Catwoman on the Batman TV series.
At 5’11, 135 pounds and with 37-inch legs, it wasn’t hard to notice Newmar, but she was more than just a Hollywood glam-girl. She did one thing that will link her to pantyhose forever – she designed her own, actually winning a patent for her design in the mid 1970s. She called the pantyhose “Nudemar” and marketed them during the 70s and 80s.
She said she invented them out of necessity:
“I have two drawers of pantyhose, but I don’t like what they do for my backside.
“It’s a simple improvement. I just gathered the back seam, but it gives a woman the firm fanny of a 12-year-old.”
I like the fact that she had two drawers full of pantyhose.
In the 1970s, Catherine Bach played the character, Daisy Duke on the Dukes of Hazzard TV series, wearing short, tight cut-off jean shorts, which would become known as “Daisy Dukes.” Apparently, network censors believed that the cut-offs were so short, that the the producers could get them on air only if Bach wore sheer-to-waist pantyhose with them, to ensure that the shorts didn’t reveal more of her than intended.
Bach certainly created a pantyhose identity for herself, if not an entire fashion trend.
But, perhaps, no actress aligned herself with pantyhose more than Joyce DeWitt during the 1970s TV series, Three’s Company. On its Web site, Central New York Promotions states:
“Being an avid pantyhose wearer, DeWitt is famous for refusing to do any scenes bare-legged. When shooting Three’s Company (1977), she always wore either pantyhose or tights, and refused to work bare-legged. Though this caused conflict between her and the show’s producers, it endeared her to hosiery manufacturers, and she became the spokeswoman for L’eggs pantyhose in the late 70s.”
That kind of professionalism, commitment to femininity and just plain good taste is very rare today. I liked Joyce DeWitt’s style back then, but having learned her story, I’m even more impressed with her now.
I wonder: What other actresses could or should have become Pantyhose Goddesses back in the day?
Again, during the 70s, 80, and 90s, pantyhose were the standard of class, elegance and glamour, so actresses wearing them on screen wasn’t at all unusual. Still, some stars just stood out from the crowd, and in the process, pantyhose gained cult-level status.
During the 80s and 90s, I have to say that my favorite stars who could have earned the title of Pantyhose Goddess were Kim Basinger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Linda Fiorentino and Geena Davis.
And then, there was Markie Post, Goldie Hawn, Shelly Long and Christina Applegate — all truly lovely and classy pantyhose babes.
Honorable mention could go to Jennifer Tilly, who was almost always seen in pantyhose and looked awesome in them; Fran Drescher, who really did align herself with pantyhose; and one Parker Posey, who actually was known as “Miss Pantyhose.” This was never more evident than in the role she played as a vampire in the third installment of Wesley Snipes’ Trinity trilogy.
Today more than ever, we need a Pantyhose Goddess in Hollywood – someone whose beauty, class and grace is so awe-inspiring that, when she permanently aligns herself with the wearing of pantyhose, it would make for an irresistable combination that would once again propel pantyhose to cult-type status.
She’s always been so classy, and, until I saw The Proposal, I didn’t think I’d ever see her not wearing pantyhose. She kinda let me down on this one, especially because her role in this movie was a corporate executive.
Even though she is beautiful and classy, I don’t really see Sandra in the Pantyhose Goddess role. I think deep down, she’s sees herself as kind of a tomboy.
I believe she’ll usually choose to wear pantyhose for the proper occasion, but I don’t think it would be for any reason other than just good sense.
I don’t know if she’s been around long enough, is sought-after enough or revered enough, but I would love to see Nicole take this title.
Lately, I never see her on screen not wearing pantyhose, and it would be hard to find someone who looks better in them than her.
I’ve always liked Nicole, and I think she’s got the class and grace to be the one.
The more I see her, the more I love her. She is beautiful, but she’s also powerful and edgy. And she’s here and now.
I love her in the Resident Evil movies, and I’ve seen her in many public appearances where she almost always is wearing pantyhose. Not only that, but she also is a professional model who more often than not is shot in sheer pantyhose.
Milla is classy and cool, and I think she deserves to be considered a true Pantyhose Goddess.
Catherine always carries herself with class and grace, and I never see her not wearing pantyhose.
There’s just something very captivating about her.
She has the beauty and the charisma to be the next Pantyhose Goddess, but also, she’s got the credibility and the relevance that it would take.
That’s right, Anna, the head alien visitor on the TV series, V.
If an evil overgrown lizard who’s out to take over Earth can look that incredible in pantyhose (and she is never not wearing them on the show) she gets my vote for Hollywood Pantyhose Goddess.
Update 2013: OK, I had based that opinion when this was written in 2010 only on what I saw of her in V, having never heard of her before that show. Since then, I’ve seen her on many a late night talk show where she wears beautiful dresses and heels, but no pantyhose … ever! And I’ve seen many photos of her during publicity appearances, also mostly “bear”-legged.
Just goes to show that at the end of the day, you really can’t trust an alien visitor trying to take over the world. Too bad because Baccarin certainly looks amazing in pantyhose. Yet, “The truth is out there:” She doesn’t look good at all “bear”-legged.
She might already have this title, and that would suit me just fine. As The Good Wife, she always dresses professionally and looks great in pantyhose. Better still, she most-often makes public appearances and guest spots on late night talk shows dressed the same way.
It really bothers me when the big stars, even when they wear pantyhose for their roles on screen, think they’re somehow obligated to follow the “trend” and go bare-legged out in public, especially, if it’s a talk show with a younger host who caters to a younger audience.
But that’s not the case with Julianna. She always dresses beautifully and does the right thing by wearing pantyhose. Maybe she should be the Hollywood Pantyhose Goddess. Maybe she already is.
Update 2013: All that might have been true when this was written in 2010, but it seems Margulies has allowed herself to be brainwashed by the masses, as I’ve seen her “bear”-legged a few times during public appearances. That seems to indicate that it’s the professionalism, class and good taste strictly of the costume designer and producers of The Good Wife and NOT Margulies herself who deserves the credit for her wearing pantyhose on the show.
Meredith already is a Pantyhose Goddess. Here’s why: Not only does she always wear pantyhose on TV shows and in public appearances, she actually has gone on record saying she “likes wearing pantyhose,” even admitting that she doesn’t wear anything underneath.
Meredith definitely deserves consideration for Pantyhose Goddess. The question is: Is she relevant enough today?
Obviously, Anne Hathaway and Zooey Deschanel deserve consideration for Hollywood Pantyhose Goddess. Of the two, Zooey is the more devoted and consistent wearer for all occasion and venues. I didn’t feature Anne and Zooey here only because I think they’re too obvious, and both already might be Hollywood Pantyhose Goddesses.
Finally, I’ve got to say that I like what I see from Megan Fox, Kate Moss, Jessica Alba and Kate Beckinsale. And, thankfully, there are many other young actresses out there who seem to understand the allure of pantyhose. Are they ready to become Hollywood’s next Pantyhose Goddesses? Perhaps.
OK, who’d I leave out? I know you have your favorites, and I’d like to hear who they are and what you have to say about them.