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:

http://askville.amazon.com/honest-opinion-Stacy-London-Clinton-Kelly-Wear-show/DiscussionBoard.do?requestId=8011723&page=1

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:

http://tlc.discovery.com/videos/what-not-to-wear-how-to-wear-pantyhose.html

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

Why the ‘Visitors’ are really here


     Twice before, I’ve written about Anna, the beautiful and charismatic leader of the Visitors from another planet. 

Morena Baccarin as Anna, the boss lady lizard, on ABC's "V" TV series is stunning in pantyhose during each episode.

     She claims the “V”s “Come in peace.  Always.”   Yeah … not sure anyone’s really buying that, Anna.    

     While Anna’s been selling the Visitors’ unselfish desire to share with us lowly humans their vastly superior medical and environmental technology, clearly, there’s something else going on here. 

     Besides, if the Visitors are so nice, why is there so much fighting going on lately between them and the members of the 5th Column, the resistence group? 

     To discern what’s really going on here, it might be helpful to understand the players – who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?    Well, that’s easy – Anna and the “V”s are the bad guys and the members of the 5th Column are the good guys, right?   Wrong! 

     You see, ABC is clever.  They’re making it look like Anna and the “V”s are the bad guys, but trust me, that just isn’t the case.  Anna is awesome!   First of all, any alien with legs like Anna’s could never be the bad guy.  Secondly, she shows up each and every week decked out in another gorgeous dress or designer suit, complete with high heels, and wearing an absolutely delicious-looking pair of sheer pantyhose.  Clearly, she and the Visitors are the good guys here. 

     So, what’s the real reason the Visitors are here?   Simple:  Anna secretly is a good alien, sent here to heal the hurt and damage caused by an earlier visitor who really was an evil alien – one Carrie Bradshaw.    You remember her – that really terrible character who singlehandedly “ran” pantyhose out of Hollywood, and subsequently, the rest of the planet, with that awful TV series of the mid-1990s, Sex and the City.  

     Anyone who’s ever seen Sarah Jessica Parker – an evil alien visitor to Earth in real life – and that stupid TV series of hers, knows who the real bad guys in the “V” show are.

     Let’s review: Carrie/Sarah Jessica Parker = bad, evil, ugly alien; Anna = good, awesome, beautiful alien.

      Yes, I think it’s clear that Anna and the Visitors are here only to save Earth from itself.   She wants to help Earth women recapture their sense of beauty, femininity, class and grace, but to do this, she and her innocent Visitors have to win us over, while battling members of the resistance group who are intent on ruining the planet by encouraging women to wear dresses, suits, even formal gowns, with gorgeous high heels and, gasp, BARE LEGS. 

     I say let Anna and the Visitors take over the world.  I’d follow her anywhere.  We less-than-exotic Earthlings can really learn from the example she’s setting.   We should thank Anna for being the supreme example of what women should be — or at least how we should look. 

     Please do take over the world, Anna, and make us a more beautiful, glamorous people.

When Pantyhose Attack


     Anna is out of this world.  Way outta this world.

    Not sure what planet the head alien in ABC’s “V” television series is from, but we have been promised that these visitors come to Earth in peace.  Or is that “in piece,” meaning they’ve come for a piece of us humans?

     These visitors bring with them a seemingly innocent desire to share with us their medical and technological superiority.
 
     But c’mon.  What’s the catch here?  What do they want from us?  After enthusiastically watching the series last season, and then the premiere of the second season at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 30, 2010, I believe I have figured it all out.
 
     I think we can all agree that the “V”s are an obviously advanced civilization.  And Anna, its beautiful, classy and elegant leader, appears to be on a one-alien mission to see that women on all planets in the universe assume such power roles. 
v-ph
     Anna knows that the only way she can accomplish her goal of having women run the world is to first win over all the men on Earth.  To do that, she has to dress for success, so she routinely wears incredibly awesome designer suits, high heels and some delicious-looking sheer nude pantyhose.  Upon beholding this absolute goddess, all men on Earth instantly pledge total loyalty to Anna. They will kill or die for her.  And rightfully so.  
 
SPOILER ALERT:  Now, with control over all men, Anna turns her attention to training women in the finer art of beauty, grace and glamour, preparing them to fulfill their destiny as rulers of the world.  After all, if the charismatic leader of such vastly superior beings wouldn’t dream of going out in public without wearing pantyhose, how could mere human women?
 
    Anna definitely has the right idea here, and I for one, salute her most ambitious goal.  Females are more highly evolved creatures and clearly should be running things.   But we’ve got to start looking the part again. 
 
     Thank you, Anna, for being the shining example of what all women could be.   So ladies, if you’ve always wanted to be an alien (or just look like one) tune in to ABC at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday nights and start supporting the cause. 
 
     Unfortunately, at the end of the show, I read this disclaimer, which I’ve written word-for-word below.  This is very discouraging to me:
The characters and events depicted in this motion picture are fictional.  Any similarity to any actual person, living or dead, or to any actual events, firms, and institutions or other entities, is coincidental and unintentional.
 
Darn.  Somewhere, Sarah Jessica Parker must be smiling.

Even Aliens wear Pantyhose


Robin Maryland
Robin Maryland, president, ActSensuous

Earth girls, you should be ashamed.

So many of you think that it’s not hip, or you just plain can’t be bothered to wear pantyhose, yet, Anna, the leader of the VISITORS from another planet showed up at 8 p.m. EST Tuesday Nov. 3, looking totally hot in a gorgeous suit, high heels and some absolutely delicious looking pantyhose.

Hmmmmm, what should we make of this?  I mean the “V” are a highly advanced civilization from another world.  They’ve come to Earth, ostensibly, because they need some of our water to enable them to make it back home from their intergalactic roadtrip,  and in exchange they’ll give us low lifes some of their superior technological knowledge.

I think there’s a lesson here.   If you’re visiting another planet and trying to make a good first impression, especially when you bill yourself as the female leader of an advanced civilization, you and your female beings should wear pantyhose.  Otherwise, your bare legs might show themselves for what they really are — scaly-skinned reptile limbs.

I don’t know about you, but the “V” got my vote.  I like them.  Not that I am falling for this whole “We come in peace” line of theirs, but hey, if we Earthlings are gonna end up as din-din for a bunch of reptiles disguised as humans, I want their leader to at least have the good taste to wear pantyhose with her designer outfits.

“Take me to your leader.  I want to tell her she is a real credit to females of the human race — er, to looking like one, anyway.”

OK, I know it doesn’t take much to make my day, but I am just delighted that the costumer for the “V” didn’t lower himself or herself to Earthly standards of dress, or what is supposedly the fashion of today, and dress the aliens in bare legs.

I love that these highly advanced alien beings come to Earth and, in trying to fit in, go with a look that isn’t what’s supposedly hip right now, but rather the one that is classy and in good taste.  It kinda exposes the bare legs culture of today for what it really is — a fad that won’t last because when it comes right down to it, wearing beautiful dresses, skirts or suits with high heels and bare legs just isn’t attractive, and certainly isn’t classy.

I ask you, readers: Do you like “V” and its star alien, Morena Baccarin as Anna?

Also, please take our new poll, and feel free to write in your own choice in the last space.  (Or, if you prefer, leave a comment and tell me who your celebrity choice is).