The Great Pantyhose Debate

the great pantyhose debate are pantyhose back in style The Hearts Delight Stella Compiseno

Pantyhose have been around for generations. Whether for modesty, warmth, body shaping and yes, even skin moisturizing (really, those exist!), women globally have all done the pantyhose routine: sit on your bed, delicately roll up each leg in your hand, pray you did not snag pantyhose, pull each leg on to mid-thigh, then stand up and shimmy, shimmy, shimmy your way into those bad boys.

These days, there seems to be a distinct division about which team you play for: Team Pantyhose or Team Bare Leg. I can’t say either one is right or wrong, but whichever team jersey you wear there are playbook rules you should probably know about. For those of you curious, I am on Team Bare Leg, with the exception of thick, opaque tights which I wear all of the time once the weather turns cold.

So, back to those rules…

1. Be wary of color.

Even with all of the modern advancements in textile and production, machines really cannot replicate the true tones of millions of women’s skin. If you’re on Team Pantyhose, I implore you… beg of you, really… please, please, please do your market research and find a brand with a color that most closely resembles your own. You fudge this step and you either look like someone frosted your legs, or someone photoshopped someone else’s gams on your body.  Neither look is a good one.

Have a glimpse at the image below. Zoe’s look is actually the best here- it’s barely noticeable. Kate Middleton’s legs appear way too shiny and Ariana Grande has a different skin tone from waist down.

Get it? Got it? Good.

pantyhose images

2. You CAN wear pantyhose with open toe footwear. SOMETIMES.

This is probably one of the questions that comes up most in my styling work.

Although I am not a proponent of wearing pantyhose with all shoes, some open toe styles can work if done correctly. Primarily, you must WEAR SEAMLESS TOE TIGHTS… unless you want to look like Estelle Getty in Golden Girls. COLORED PANTYHOSE (black, grey, navy, etc.) also seem to work better than the nude/flesh-toned ones. Next, the open-toe shoes you select should be less of a sandal and more of a bootie, or fuller coverage shoe.  If you want to wear a strappy, sexy, sandal, definitely DITCH THE HOSE.

3. Take a cue from your boss.

The reason I’m not strongly advocating for bare legs is that while they work well for me and my lifestyle, there may be some of you in more conservative office environments and professions. In that case, sorry folks, style takes a backseat to decorum. If there are any senior women in your organization take a peek at their hosiery situation and use that as your guideline for your office uniform.

A few months back everyone made a big hoopla over Kate Middleton and her nude pantyhose.

Who’s her boss?!

THE QUEEN… and that lady is DEFINITELY wearing hose, a girdle AND a slip.

4. Opaque tights are NOT just for toddlers.

If you’re really set on wearing pantyhose, why not give tights a try! They are warmer, more durable and definitely more “modern” than traditional pantyhose. Best of all, they can help transition dressier outfits into something more casual that can be worn more often. They can also infuse a very plain outfit with a ton of color and personality depending on the color and texture you select. Basically, tights are pretty cool.

MIROSLAVA DUMA is a Russian born fashion editor and veritable street style star.  Notice how the black tights give some very conservative outfits a little youth and edge? Another great style trick that you can pick up is the matching of the shoes to the tights. This little trick will make you look taller, leaner and give the impression that your legs go on for miles!

Now, who doesn’t want THAT!?


Where do YOU stand in the great pantyhose debate?


(header image via)

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  • Reply Venice Greel October 28, 2014 at 9:03 am

    What is your favorite brand of tights?

    • Reply scompiseno October 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Hi Venice! I actually have a few favorites depending on the tights I’m buying:

      For fun opaque colors (wine, navy, etc.) I generally buy HUE brand (, or occasionally Merona (

      For basics that will get a ton of wear, I splurge a little and buy Wolford brand. ( They feel so soft and wear really well all season long.

      For textures and knits, I like J.Crew’s selection! (

      Hope that helps! XO -Stella

  • Reply Venice Greel October 29, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Thank you for your suggestions!!!

  • Reply 4we5inelgr January 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    The ironic thing is that if you were to poll men, the majority would say Ariana’s legs (even from the knee down) look the best.

    Set up a poll that features women’s legs (waist down, showing part of the dress or skirt) in various heels, pumps, flats, etc. Same women, same shoes. One of her in sheer hosiery that matches her skin tone and one bare legged. Then one with a women in opaques (tights) and bare legged, same women, same shoes, same picture distance and angle.

    Do the poll without notifying the participant that it’s a poll about hosiery (or bare legs), but start the poll featuring sheer (or ultra sheer) vs bare leg and then opaques vs bare leg.

    100% guaranteed, the majority of women & men will say the legs with hosiery look better. And, most likely, the sheer hosiery would win the most “up” votes. And, more than likely, a higher percentage of men will like the hosiery look in dresses and skirts vs. bare leg.

    Hosiery completes the look. Leg looks better, smoother, more elegant, etc.

    Bare legs are…well, bare. Good for shorts, good for swimsuits, good for wearing with flip flops. Not good for wearing with dresses or skirts.

    • Reply scompiseno January 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      You make a great argument and set the scene for an interesting fashion/science experiment!

      I think a lot of the questions people have about hosiery are actually a product of geography (where they were raised/where they reside), and age. In some regions/countries tights/pantyhose/hosiery — whatever you want to call it — is just the norm and people are comfortable with that. There are also places where climate dictates fashion. Cold = TIGHTS!!! The same can be said about age. Women who grew up in the much more conservative eras, would never think to leave the house with their legs bare.

      That’s what I think is so fabulous about personal fashion- it’s constantly evolving and changing based on places, people and social standards. Let’s also not forget about personal tastes. What I tell all of my styling clients is to wear what makes them feel BEST about themselves. Whether that’s bare legs, sheer stockings, or opaque tights, I leave up to them.

      Thanks so much for reading! XO, Stella

  • Reply Ward March 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Let me start by saying I am a man, and have a real appreciation for pantyhose. I guess you could say it is a fethish I wish I didn’t have but I do, and I try to deal with it the best I can. My loving wife of over twenty five years still lives me and supports me. I could say I wear them for the support it gives my tired legs, and they really do, but to be honest I wear them cause I love the feel of them on. Just that simple. Sorry, a bit off topic. You may not be interested in my point of view and I understand if you stop reading now.
    I am impressed with this blog, you made it known you are not a fan of pantyhose , but didnt bash the women who still like to wear them. I applaud you! I truly believe every woman has beauty and the right to wear or not wear what she would like. What I didn’t understand until just recently is fashion. I always thought that fashion had to do with what looks good, I now realize fashion is just what is common today. I can’t see how anyone could argue that bare legs look better then pantyhosed legs, of any skin tone or color. Women just look completely dressed with hosiery. Most women wouldn’t leave their homes without make up, because they want to look their best, but don’t give a thought about how their legs look. That’s where my confusion came in about fashion and what looks good. The right pantyhose make legs look flawless! Again I fully support your right to not wear them , but am really bothered when fashion people make women who want to wear them feel as if they are doing something wrong.i am very fortunate to have a wife who still wears them and doesn’t care if its the in thing not to. I hope it was exceptible for me to comment and if you read all the way through, Thank You!

    • Reply scompiseno March 25, 2015 at 7:09 am

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and comments. Fashion is a personal expression of who we are… as we are all obviously very different and unique, our fashion tastes are a direct reflection of that diversity! People dismiss fashion as purely superficial, but I think you might agree that it goes way deeper than that! xo, Stella

  • Reply October 4, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    The Great Pantyhose Debate – The Heart’s Delight

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