Sunday, December 11, 2011


There!  I said it.  The word gives me shivers, even now.

Pantyhose were the first item of female apparel I played with as a boy -- if you don't count wrapping a bath-towel around my waist in the bathroom and pretending it was a skirt.  Pantyhose seemed to be the epitome of feminine beauty.  Their exotic feel, the way they smooth out bumps and skin-tone, the simple fact that only women wear them and there's no contemporary male clothing-equivalent.


Back in the days when I was growing up, women wore pantyhose routinely.  They were required for most jobs.  Women weren't allowed to wear pants and pantyhose eclipsed stockings when technology made them easier to wear and cheaper to produce.  There were two decades of amazing TV commercials persuading women to leave stockings (popular in the 1940s and '50s) and shift to pantyhose (in the '60s and '70s).  Like this one...

Since then, pantyhose have been disappearing.  Women, not forced to wear them, choose more comfortable alternatives, like bare skin.  In the past, bare legs were considered scandalous; you were supposed to cover yourself with something, even an item as thin and transparent as pantyhose.

One of the raps pantyhose always had was physical discomfort: they cling and squeeze and confine.  They are also delicate and prone to snags, which can instantly ruin an outfit when rounding a corner too sharply.  Pantyhose even raised health concerns (by trapping body-heat) until manufacturers started inserting breathable cotton crotches in them.

Most people don't realize and think of pantyhose as a petroleum product, but they are.  They're made from oil and are a synthetic plastic.  Which is why, when you store pantyhose in a closed coffee-jar underground for months, they start to smell like gasoline and eventually deteriorate.  Don't ask me how I know this.  :)

What's your history with pantyhose?  Did you wear them as a kid?  Do you wear them now?  Do you like or dislike them?


  1. Oh, I hate pantyhose. I always thought they were instruments of torture. They always seemed to twist and feel like they were on backwards. I inevitably snagged or made a run in them everytime I wore them. I don't think I ever got more than one wear out of a pair and sometimes ran them before gettting them on. We were told we had to wear them at work and that is why I rarely wore a dress. It seemed as though it was some sort of control thing that the management (all men) had over us. Like we would corrupt the men if we had bare legs showing. The control top ones seemed a lot like spanx to me. I was so relieved when the fashion went to bare legs.
    Do you remember the hoopla when it was discovered that Joe Namath would wear them under his football uniform?
    I know that they are back in style now, but I still would not wear them. Too many bad memories.

    1. Stop trying to fit into fit into a pair that's two sizes to big... Pantyhose are the most comfortable piece of clothing ever made if you get the proper size!

    2. Haha I meant two sizes to SMALL

  2. A very interesting, well researched and balanced piece. Like Debbi above, I hate pantyhose, mainly because I always associated them with that unnatural 80s look... as in, why should I be wearing something technically skin coloured but about four shades darker than my actual skin. Shudder. They belong in the rubbish heap with perfumed lipstick my mom wore that always made me feel ill in the car! But I very much enjoyed this article. : )

    P.S. Your recent comment was especially lovely; I'm really touched.

  3. I wore some of the most AWFUL pantyhose as a girl, I remember they came in an egg! One of the things that has bothered me the most was when the fit was bad and the crotch was halfway down my thighs! But now, I actually really like pantyhose as long as they're not nude. I think they can add a lot to an outfit, mostly in the cooler months. So, I guess, in a nutshell, I'm all for them!! ~Serene

  4. HATE pantyhose, LOVE stockings. I agree with Serene. Why is it the crotch was always down by your knees?? lol


  5. First of all, loooove the photo of you! Second, love the video!

    I remember when my mom used to wear pantyhose to work. I always wanted to try it because I thought it would make me a lady like her, ha.

  6. I don't mind pantyhose, but only if they are control top (that stops them from sagging in the crotch). They just look clean and elegant to me.

    I used to have to wear them when I worked in a women's clothing store, and that was a pain, as they were expensive and tore easily, but now, I'm fine with them. Of course, I don't wear them much, preferring microfishnets.

  7. I like that picture of you - specially your eye make up.
    As for pantyhose, I did not wear them as a child because I grew up in hot weather so it was not necessary.
    However in my teens and later in work life I have worn them however I still live in warm climate and they are killers here.
    However I do wear colored ones once in a while, if i lived in a winter place I would wear them a lot. Specially colored ones because i could skip shaving !

  8. I absolutely detest nylons. Most synthetic fabrics to be honest. Pantyhose growing up never fit because little girl clothing was always cut for "short legs", so they always slid around.. Definitely had that awkward around the thighs problem! And the waist band always seems to go on way too high.

    I also have nerve/skin problems with compression, and believe nylons (or any too-tight clothing) agitate it.

    I stopped wearing dresses and skirts when I hit my tweens and didn't wear another pair of honest to god tights until I started blogging again. And now as an adult I found wool, cotton, or blended "tights" which I can handle wearing because they breathe and stretch more effectively than nylon tights. I still don't have very many pairs because I'm trying to slowly invest in quality ones. The blends are also easier to wash, don't snag, and are warmer in my opinion.

  9. never use pantyhose, i only seen in the movie :D i love your picture, look so gorgeous. perfect make up :))

  10. I love them in winter. It's madness in summer, but the technology has become grand from when I was young and had to wear hideous ones for school and of course, compared to what my mother had to deal with - we now have 17 decitex and higher (not sure why that's important, but apparently it stops them feeling like straight-jackets). I do like the ones with a little control as they don't suffocate you like shapewear does ;-) and make certain lumps 'n bumps smooth out nicely. They are super feminine though.

  11. I dislike pantyhose for some reason. I think it's sexier to go out with bare legs, unless for example like now it's too cold and you need tights.
    Pantyhose bunches up and I feel so awkward in them sometimes : | just because they are transparent I might as well wear nothing right? Love the pink nail polish btw


  12. When I was little I loved wearing pantyhose. I think because it made me feel so grown up! Now I can't stand wearing them and in face I don't even own one pair!

  13. I remember that my mom used to make me wear pantyhose all the time when I was a kid, but I would get so.mad. at her anytime she tried. Finally, she gave up and let me go bare-legged. Much better. I still don't wear pantyhose. I wear leggings. I wear knee-highs. I will not wear pantyhose. They are way too complicated.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  14. no history with those!!

  15. Enjoyed reading the history.
    I don't have a great relationship with it. I hated black cause it made my skinny legs look even skinnier. I loved the nude colored ones but it was always hard finding the perfect shade. Some looked so obvious in a really tanned skin tone or too creamy white. When I found the perfect tone I loved it but would usually snag after one wear for a $15 hose.
    When opaque tights came out I was in love. They added bulk and even the black one looked good and they would last for a long time.

  16. I've missed a million posts! I've been sick and not visiting my friends as I should be. Sorry, honey. You look amazing in all of your outfits. And you look so happy jumping around outside in your red dress. That brings joy to my heart.

    I HATE pantyhose. I was forced to wear them when I worked in the banking world. So uncomfortable and expensive since they tore almost every day. No matter how careful I was.

    So, I'm happy to be free from them. I like a pair of sheer black hose, though. Or tights. Love tights.


  17. My mother used to not let us out of the house without stockings or panty hose. I think I still have a 'job interview' pair in my closet somewhere. But other than a really dressy event I avoid them like the plague.

  18. I am a dyed in the wool pantyhose user. I love them. I usually only wear them in cooler weather and will even wear tights in the winter. I think with a skirt they just finish off the look and with a beautiful dress they just look polished. I think if you find the right brand they can fit impeccably. I prefer the brand Silks, they are amazing, they are sheer, comfortable and fit well.

  19. I hate pantyhose too! Tights are good just NO pantyhose. Did you get the package I sent you?

  20. Haha that cheesy commercial made me laugh. I love thick tights especially with hosiery but thin hosiery are not for me. Sure they look fabulous but I snag every single pair :(

  21. Loved the commercial! I think in changeable weather like ours stockings and hose are a saviour when the icy wind comes racing at you.
    Also needed to add, you can totally pull off a dress like mine with a long coat over it with ease.

  22. I actually remember that commercial! When I was a little girl there were several things I couldn't wait for - wearing nail polish and "nylons" as we called them, were in my top two! My mother was very strict about such things and therefore insisted I wear tights. The closest I could come to wearing nylons was wearing nude colored tights!

    One time I stole a pair of torn panty hose from the wastepaper basket of my best friend's mother... I snuck them home, put them on, and attempted to wear them to school! My mother was always one step ahead of me and I was BUSTED! She made me take them off and put on the old thick and childlike nude tights in their place...!

    I can remember this so distinctly... Ah the pains of growing up! I can totally relate to your fascination with these Shybiker!

    Did you know Byonce wears about 4 layers of hose when she performs?

  23. So you do know by now that every time I think of your pantyhose in the can, I get all teary-eyed, right? Why do you keep doing that to me? ;)

    If you have not opened my gift yet, don't read any further than this or else you will know what it is. You can come back and read the rest later. :)




    Okay, this line... "Wearing nail polish and 'nylons' as we called them, were in my top two!" This is why I got you what I got you. I honestly had not read this post yet when I ordered it for you...I just knew how much perusing colors in the aisles and wearing polish on your toenails as an enjoyable validation of your true nature mean to you. (And I hope they will make it onto your fingernails as well!) I feel like a broken record, but I hope you never get tired of hearing me say how proud I am of you and how far you have come. I will smile every time I look at your card with you in a tutu on the motorcycle. Such a defining moment and one I am thrilled to have played any type of part in helping you develop that courage.

    Now, onto your question. I'm not a huge fan of pantyhose now but liked them when I was little because my mom always wore them to work...I wanted to be like her in every way. I do still love tights, though. They're not always comfortable, and I hate when you have to keep readjusting them, but tights can really make an outfit!

    And in response to the above THAT'S how Beyonce does wonder!!

  24. I've just realised that tights for you are leggings for me and tights for me are pantyhose to you. So I like the latter. I have a waxing routine for my legs so I never show bare legs unless they have just been done and I rarely show bare legs, I don't like mine. I feel much better when my legs are covered, by trousers or tights/pantyhose

  25. Back in primary school in the good ole 1970's my mother would make my sister wear tights during winter. The girls uniform was a short dress. As a prepubescent deviant I was fascinated by dresses tights and everything girly.

    To stop them sagging mum used to make her wear garters made of elastic sewn into a loop to hold them up. By her final year when she was 12 her dress was very short and dirty young me used to challenge myself to see these elastic garters when she sat or stood.