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.
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)