What’s Off Limits in the Winter?

Up to my ankles in snow, originally uploaded to Flickr by Lollyman.Reader A wonders if and when it’s appropriate to have bare legs in the winter…

With the crazy weather in DC and other east coast cities this winter – windy and 35 degrees one day, 65 degrees and sunny another, and raining yet another, how do you suggest approaching the issue of tights or pantyhose? I work in a fairly conservative office, with a dress or skirt and blouse dresscode for women with no casual days and no jeans, ever. In February, is it ok to go to work sans tights or pantyhose if its particularly warm or very muggy? Is there a temperature guideline that you or others follow?

I’m curious to see what others say here. For my $.02: even though I don’t have a problem with bare legs from spring to fall (know your office, though!), something about bare legs in winter — even if it is 60 degrees — bugs me. Are tights or pantyhose really that “heavy” that you can’t wear them with a lighter-weight jacket? The problem with looking “out of season” is that it is a judgment call — as in, if someone thinks your outfit looks weird, they may think your judgment is out of whack, which may affect how you’re perceived at work.  It kind of reminds me of stories I’ve heard about little kids who refuse to dress seasonally, refusing to wear anything but shorts in the wintertime or corduroy pants in the summertime.  (Pictured: Up to my ankles in snow, originally uploaded to Flickr by Lollyman.)

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I suppose there are other things that fall into this category, as well. For example, here are other things I would think twice about wearing in the wintertime:

  • Short sleeves, unless they’re a) sweater material, or b) worn as a layer under something.
  • “summer” fabrics like eyelet cotton, seersucker, cotton pique, and linen (although I have seen linen blended with things like cashmere for sweaters and the like, so I suppose those are
  • summer prints like large florals in pinks/greens or “yachting” wear like striped cotton sweaters
  • white shoes — winter whites have come so far, but I still think a white shoe in the winter would strike me as odd

Readers, how about you — would you wear bare legs in the winter? What else would you avoid wearing in wintertime? Do you use temperature as your guide, or do you go by the seasons?

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  1. Regular Anon :

    This may sound harsh BUT…

    It’s one thing to re-purpose content… it’s another to take a reader question verbatim from *another blog* that was posted on Feb. 6 and claim it as your own. You could at least credit the discussion that was initiated over at Capitol Hill Style. I’m just saying…

    • Wow, you don’t think the reader could have posted it to two blogs?

    • OR- the same person may have sent the same question to two outlets. Kat usually attributes, so I would not assume the worst.

    • Okay, why don’t we give Kat the benefit of the doubt? I’m sure the same reader wrote into both blogs asking the same question.

    • Well, now I’m annoyed ar reader A. Anyway, post the link to CapHillStyle, i obviously havent seen it.

      • Merabella :
        • Anon for this :

          I read both of these blogs and think that the comment was indeed a little harsh. A lot of times it seems like Belle’s advice could come off this blog without it being cited (but to be fair when she does bring up a specific dicussion topic from this blog she cites it). But to assume that the question was ‘stolen’ assumes that Kat has the time to read a blog that lacks a lot of the same substance that this particular blog provides…. There certainly was a much more ladylike way to bring attention to the overlap.

      • Magdeline :

        I think that it is helpful to get additional perspective on this anyway. I hadn’t seen it on CapHillStyle, and I wonder about this issue all the time.

        • Just to round out the exoneration: I didn’t know it was a faux pas to ask for advice on the same topic from more than one source. I have never written to any blogger and am not Reader A, but maybe she, like me, just figured there was such a small chance of getting any answer that she would try more than one person.

          Now that I think about it, it makes sense though. I guess either only write to one advisor, or disclose that you’re writing to more than one.

          • This happened recently with the NYT Ethicist and Dear Prudence. Can’t remember the topic but they both answered the same question, and iirc they answered it differently. So submitting your question twice might not even be helpful!

          • I’m guessing the point of asking multiple columnists would be to get multiple viewpoints, Bluejay. I’m kind of surprised that it’s a faux pas, too.

    • Dear Regular Anon,

      Clearly, you are not very bright. It seems obvious to all of us that the reader could have posted the question to two blogs – afterall, many of us read more than one newspaper, watch more than one channel on TV and frequent more than one restaurant.


      • WorkingGirl :

        Moreover, the comment section of this blog often references that blog, and Kat obviously knows that the readership of the two blogs overlaps. She is not stupid enough to steal a question from that blog and risk someone noticing.

  2. I agree with Kat on this. I read Belle’s response on CHS, and agree with commenters there that it just looks odd to wear a wool coat when you have bare legs. For some reason, it seems pretty case by case to me though.

  3. I live in the SF bay area, where most of winter the temp floats around 50-60 degrees. (To us locals, that IS cold!) Usually I let the weather guide me. If its unseasonably warm (70+ degrees), capris and skirts and open toe shoes are all OK!

    Side note: I never think its appropriate to wear shorts to work in a professional environment. Remember, dress for the job you want, not the job you have!

    • But…but…but… I saw them on the super cute model and express and wanted to look as awesome as her!


    • Haha yes. But what if it was the weekend and you were just popping into the office for a couple hours of your own accord? Would that still be “questionable judgment” (in a NYC biglaw firm)?

      That’s an honest question, really. I’m obviously a clueless young’un. I”d err “no,” but want to know where the line is since some seem to toe it.

  4. I would stick with the tights or hose until at least late March. Breaking out the bare legs for a balmy day in February reminds me of college – when all the girls would wear miniskirts (with Uggs) at the first hint of spring.

    Plus, who doesn’t love tights season – ability to wear skirts without worrying about how closely shaven you are! (Just me?)

    • MissJackson :

      Definitely not just you :)

    • I agree on the tights. I love wearing them. If it’s a little warmer, I’ll wear lighter-weight tights (I have sweater tights, patterned tights, and lighter weight opaque tights) and flats instead of boots.

    • Miniskirts with Uggs is a great analogy.

      Bare legs:Winter Attire :: Miniskirts:Uggs

    • Hey, I would wear opaque tights all year round if I could get away with it. I love me my black tights.

      • Me too! I’m always sad to put away my tights.

      • third, I love my black tights. The opaque-er the better.

        There was a period of time where they were apparently out of style (late 90s early 00s) and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I was desperately hoarding my supply from the late 80s early 90s. I am so happy everyone likes black tights again and I have my pick.

        The most recent brand I’ve tried is the Spanx tight end (not the reversible -those give me bags around the ankle) and I love them – they are so dark and thick there is almost no gradation of color around the calf where the fabric is more stretched out – if that makes sense. And although they were relatively expensive for tights (~$26) they seem like they’re going to be super durable.

        That said, in terms of seasonal items, I definitely feel wrong wrong wrong if I wear them on one of those borderline spring days that starts out chilly, yet turns out to be warm and gorgeous by the afternoon.

    • Wow, I’m the definite minority here, I hate tights, don’t have ’em, don’t want ’em.

      But I am also wearing a short sleeved blouse today for work. Hey, it’s 60 degrees and sunny here!

      • Magdeline :

        I’m moving to CA in a few months, and when I do, there is no way in h*ll that I am going to continue to wear black tights for half the year like a do in Chicago. I think that you are just fine wearing short sleeves and bare legs if it is 60 and sunny.

  5. Wow, it never occurred to me that it might reflect poorly on me to have bare legs in the winter! Maybe because I grew up in the south? I live in nyc now and work for a fairly conservative law firm, and today (like many days) my legs are bare. I wear a long warm coat and have a short commute; I usually wear tights when it is below 32ish, but otherwise I often go bare-legged. Perhaps no longer… but interested to see other responses!

    • I think it’s a little weird to wear a long, warm coat and have bare legs. To me, if it’s warm jacket weather, it’s tights/pantyhose weather.

    • I agree with Rosie. This looks “off”, especially when the rest of your outfit (coat, etc) says winter.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I think this looks super weird. For example, yesterday I saw four girls (I think probably high school students) exiting a movie theater near me, and they were all wearing wool peacoats with short skirts/bare legs. It just looked jarring, and I thought it might be hazing or something. Even wearing sandals looks really weird, which I saw on the subway this morning.

      • I also find it really jarring looking. When its actually warm though, even in the winter, I don’t think I would. I think my rule is if you are wearing any sort of winter coat, bare legs look weird

        • This is one of my main complaints with a lot of fashion blogs. Skirts with bare tights. Its just not practical in the winter. Coat + skirt + bare legs looks so odd to me.

          (she says as she overheats in her office wearing black tights and cashmere cardigan)

        • Yes, I saw a woman this AM on the subway wearing a heavy wool coat, wool scarf, ear muffs and bare legs with peep toe flats. The whole look just confused me.

          • Peep toes with a wool coat and lots of winter accessories. I just don’t get it. I was at dinner Saturday night (which was chilly in DC) and someone walked in in peep toes.

      • Totes McGotes :

        In my twenties (she says at 32), my Favoritest Outifit involved a red peacoat, a jean skirt, bare legs, and these black wedge boots with a furry charcoal-colored ruff around the calf.

        Now I sometimes go bare-legged in the winter, but usually only because I am not up on my hand-washing. (I almost never wear pants to work – maybe once in the last year.) I do generally chide myself mentally when it happens, but I don’t think I’d actively notice it on someone else.

    • Southern transplant to NYC here — I have been known to go bear-legged in 40+ degree weather here, mostly because (a) tights/stockings make me feel like a sausage, and (b) my office is approximately 200 degrees. I prefer to wear tights when it’s very cold, of course, but comfort in my office (where I spend 10+ hrs/day) comes first, even if it does look odd to people who pass me to/from the subway.

      • *bare.

        • I like bear legged. It’s like you’ve stopped shaving.

          • I haven’t shaved in approximately 3 weeks. So perhaps bear-legged IS the more appropriate phrase. And yes, I have not worn hose since my last shave. If you can see my leg hair, you are too close!

          • Totes McGotes :

            I imagined not only long fur, but a lot of stomping and snarling. Probably makes it easier to get some personal space on the subway!

  6. This is funny because everything is different in Texas! Nobody wears tights during the winter unless it is an actually cold day (about two weeks per year). You don’t look out of season at all. The same goes for wearing short sleeves and some summer fabric/prints. I still agree with some of the other things, though, even here — no white shoes, no linen.

    • Georgiana Starlington :

      Same in Lower Alabama. I would say pantyhose are rarely seen here, any time of year. And tights are only worn on the few days it’s actually too cold for bare legs (and I personally tend to wear pants on those days anyway). Today it’s in the high 60s and I have on a skirt with bare legs. Not out of the ordinary at all. Sure, my legs are pale, but they’re just as pale in the summer, and no one down here would suggest I wear pantyhose in the summer.

    • Agreed. I wouldn’t wear a skirt, turtleneck, and bare legs, but I wear a skirt, blouse, and bare legs all year because we have as many warm days as cool days in the winter in Dallas.

      • Anonymous :

        Why has no one mentioned goosebumps? ! If my legs are getting goosebumps, then it is too cold. Plus, how ugly are goosebumps? Oh, I wish that regular panty hose would come back in style. No one thought anything about it when we all wore nude hose, even with sandals. But, then, I started working when Working Girls was made.

    • I disagree. I’m in Houston and I either wear tights or nude pantyhose in the winter time (October through February).

      • We have winter time in Houston? I mean, we did have that one cold day on Sunday, but I consider that an aberration. It’s currently 70 degrees out; I’m wearing a short sleeved wool dress sans tights.

        • I love those random cold days we get in Houston because I can wear my tights. The other days….even if it is winter, I feel odd wearing tights when it’s so warm outside.

          Question….what about wearing white or off white pants? Are those off limits until spring (even though it doesn’t feel like winter here?)

      • anon in Texas :

        I am not wearing them today! Just a wrap dress for a few client appt. no court.

  7. I’m in a business casual office where I’ve seen a lot of atrocities (think ratty tennis shoes, jeans, and a grey zip sweatshirt on jean fridays), so I’ll totally go bare legged during the winter if the weather permits. I agree that it really comes down to knowing your office though – we’re an shared services (IT, HR, Finance etc) outpost from the main office, and most people in my function would love nothing more than to be able to do jeans and tshirts. Thus, I don’t think bare legs in the winter, or other traditional fashion faux pas, would be a big deal in my office.

    Though I will give the skank eye to anyone that wears seersucker or madras outside of the traditional memorial day to labor day rules. I know thats picking and choosing on rules, but wearing such fabrics outside of those dates makes it feel less special.

    • Ha on the skank eye!

      I have an unworn pair of spectator pumps sitting in my closet and it’s KILLING me to wait until Memorial day to wear them. :)


      • … why would you have to wait to wear those? They have black in them too, and the white is more of a cream/dirty white anyway. Ugh. Sorry, these sorts of fake “rules” really irritate me because just about every possible thing to wear is probably just fine in some context somewhere, and I feel these sorts of rules make people sad or scared to wear things they love that probably nobody else around would even give a crud about or notice.

        I wear winter white and black/jewel tones all the time in the winter. In fact, I’ve worn various outfits with winter white and just black. So, I would totally wear these shoes, especially considering that white and black and neutrals anyway and generally I don’t feel you can go too wrong with neutrals.

        • I love winter white. I have an off-white tweed jacket and have had to explain to people many times that it’s not a summer item.

          • Seriously. My winter white Brooks Brothers trousers are one of my favorite pairs. I love how they can be paired with jewel/darker tones in winter (I even have worn them with silk beaded tops to holiday parties) and then with lighter, fun silk blouses in summer. I also have a cream colored sheath dress I enjoy wearing with black and dark colored scarves, and I just bought a nice jacket from Ann Taylor (I believe I saw Michelle Bachman wearing it at the State of the Union address) that is winter white and goes with all my darker skirts and heavy wool dresses.

          • Now remembering to wear my winter-white wool jacket…

        • @Frump
          It’s my upbringing. Besides, I like to have “summer” items to look forward to.

          However, if it is truly summery weather and is pre-Memorial day, I will probably break down and wear them because I love them so.

          • PS I love a full-on winter white look, but that’s different to my eye than a summer white look.

            It’s something I don’t really wear myself because, though I like my dry cleaner, I don’t want to be solely responsible for putting her kids through college.

          • I totally think preference are fine. I just feel frustrated when people do things because they think the “rules” say they should do them that way. It’s like, what rules? The Constitution? Some things are not rules! Preferences/opinions/styles/personality-YES. But rules that have zero flexibility? No. I just happen to think there are fewer of those than we presume sometimes.

            So, I am of the mind that the only “rule” per se is that you should wear what you want, assuming it is in line with office culture/standards and makes sense given the parameters of the day (ex, weather, client meetings, court appearance, whatever).

          • Frump, you don’t know me at all, but I hope you’ll trust me when I say I Am The Boss Of My Wardrobe. :)

          • Hooray for being Wardrobe Boss! Forgive me for wanting to be your advocate to wear a pair of shoes you love any day of the year. ;-) I will be the first to fight for that, especially when the item in question is fashionable and perfectly appropriate.

            Then again, this is coming from the person who just spoke about wearing an orange skirt and a turquoise blouse in another thread, so… maybe I am too much “Like A Boss” of my own wardrobe some days if you know what I mean.

      • Amelia Pond :

        On my way in to work today (there is a high of 53 so at 7 am it was probably closer to 35 degrees) there was a gal not only with a wool coat and bare legs but she was wearing a seersucker pencil skirt that she had not cut the threads on the vent so there was the little X on the bottom. I wanted to take her to the coffee shop we were walking by, getting her a coffee and discuss her outfit. I didn’t, but the whole outfit bugged me.

        • Like someone else posted on another thread…. perhaps she reads this blog and it was just very advanced trolling.

          • TCFKAG for the win.

          • Sometimes I think about dressing really badly for a few days, just to see if I can get someone to post about it one here. Just for kicks.

          • I love the idea of “advanced trolling.” TCFKAG does win!

          • I’ve never won anything before in my whole life.

            Do I get an acceptance speech? :-)

          • Go. I just wish Kanye East were here to interrupt your speech. It would be too perfect. “Imma let you finish….”

          • I’d like to thank all the stray hair bands left on wrists, the cut outs in peplum blouses, the peep toe pumps (oh the humanity) and last, but certainly not least, french manicures. Without you…where would we be.

      • anon prof :

        Now I want those shoes. Soooo cute!

        • They really are great – word of warning, though. Amazon’s size chart is off. I always wear a Euro 41 and the 41 in this brand fits perfectly. However, Amazon calls this 41 equivalent to a US 11, which is not true. Most brands call a Euro 41 a US 9.5 -10. So if you know your usual Euro size, order that one rather than relying on Amazon’s chart.

  8. I work at a sort-of “business casual +” office where you can wear a suit or just slacks, a skirt, or a dress. I have gone sans tights a couple times this winter when it was almost 70 in my city (in the South). For me, tights and nylons are unbearable when it’s humid or warm and if I wear them on those days, I spend all day feeling sweaty and miserable. That being said, no matter what the weather I’d probably wear them if I was going to court that day, if I was going on a job interview, etc.

  9. I agree. I dress for the seasons. It is sunny and going to hit mid 60s here today in San Francisco, but I’m in nude fishnets. To my eye, bare legs look out of place before it really is spring.

  10. If you need any sort of coat, I wouldn’t do bare legs. It just doesn’t look right to have your top half heavily covered and then your legs bare. Also, most winter colors and fabrics look better with tights to me.

    Besides, who the heck shaves in the winter? I cherish my 5 months of hairy legs.

    • I think bare legs are fine with cute spring coats and the like … I assume you mean winter coats?

  11. eastbaybanker :

    I agree with Cat and Rosie. It’s a little weird to have bare legs and be bundled up. That said, I’m an offender! I like to wear knee length pencil skirts with office appropriate boots in the winter, and swap out the tights for knee high socks under my boots (the socks don’t show). I think I generally get away with it in a conservative office. But I do remember being in a meeting with my bare knees poking out and feeling awkward. I slid them under the conference table pronto.

  12. With all the Downton Abbey talk, i hope this Valentine’s Day card isn’t overkill


  13. Equity's Darling :

    I live in a city that has chinooks- which means that it can be +15C in the middle of January, and then a day later be -40C. Or snow heavily in the beginning of May. It’s like that all year, it can be very variable.

    So, I have no problem dressing for the temperature instead of the season, because “seasons” are very fluid , but the temperature is usually pretty obviously cold or hot, etc.

    • I have no idea what chinooks really are other than your description, but they sound scary. I think everyone gets a fashion pass when it is truly cold. For me, that’s less than 40 degrees Farenheit, but as all Canadians know, we in the US are wimps.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Hah, mamabear! I have never heard of a chinook either, other than in the context of salmon. Bay area weather FTW!

        • Next time my badly-regulated office temperature does one of those wild swings from 63 to 74 and back to 63, I’m calling it a chinook.

      • Equity's Darling :

        We love chinooks, though if you’re not used to them they can give you crazy migraines from the pressure changes.

        From Wikipedia:

        Chinook winds ( /ʃɪˈnʊk/), often called chinooks, commonly refers to foehn winds in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.

        Chinook is claimed by popular mythology to mean “eater” but it is really the name of the people in the region where the usage was first derived. The reference to a wind or weather system, simply “a Chinook”, originally meant a warming wind from the ocean into the interior regions of the Pacific Northwest (the Chinook people lived near the ocean, along the lower Columbia River). A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below −20 °C (−4 °F) to as high as 10–20 °C (50–68 °F) for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from -48 to 9 °C (-54 to 48 °F).

        The ch digraph in Chinook is not pronounced as in the word “church” in some regions of the Pacific Coast, but as in French (i.e., shinook) in other regions of the Pacific Coast (e.g., Seattle) and on the prairies. This is because the French-speaking voyageurs of the fur companies brought the term from the mountains. The first syllable in Chicago is pronounced similarly, also due to the original French speaking explorers.

        • Full circle – according to ancestry.com, my people (or at least some of them) were French Canadian fur traders. I of course immediately adopted Les Habitants as my hockey team, much to the annoyance of my Red Wings-lovin’ husband.

      • I only knew what chinooks were because of Little House on the Prairie! (The books, of course.)

  14. … no short sleeves in winter? …really? It’s just not cold enough here some days to warrant wearing more than a short sleeve blouse + coat for outside time and the heated office inside! I guess people must look at me bizarrely that I wear short sleeve blouses on the winter days where it is 50 or higher. I guess to fit in better with all the other people in my office who don’t follow this “rule” that they are apparently all judging me on regardless, I should probably start dressing like it’s rural Wisconsin even though my location’s climate does not demand such attire at all.

    • In rural Wisconsin, 50 degrees would be a heat wave and everyone would be in shorts. Just sayin’ :)

      • And here in the Twin Cities, the tops would be down on the convertibles….for real.

      • Left my heart in Madison :

        When I was in college (go Badgers!) a sunny day would mean shorts, sweathshirts and gloves, no matter that it was 45 degrees out.

      • WORD. I live in rural Wisconsin and if it were 50 degrees I’d be in a cotton skirt, ballet flats, and bare legs because that means summer is coming!

    • Agree with you Frump. This year I chose not to put away my summer shirts and have actually worn them a lot.

    • No, Frump. IMHO you need to fly your Fashion Freak Flag proudly and do your own fashion thing and flip off the unwritten standards of your workplace.

      • Heh. I am fine with more or less conforming to workplace standards of course (not advocating people refuse to wear suits, for example, in a place where that is mandated), but I just cannot imagine in a million years anybody in their right mind in my office (or in any office for that matter)… noticing, caring, or thinking it some sort of “rule” to NOT wear short sleeves in the winter (even though we do get some rare days here in the teens/20s). Pretty much every woman in my office wears short sleeves in winter, and honestly I notice very little difference between people’s summer and winter wardrobes. We tend to break out hose in winter and wear cardigans or blazers more often in winter, and there are of course more skirts in general in summer, but other than that… it’s just business attire through and through.

  15. This might be regional. I can see bare legs in Florida in the winter. I wouldn’t do them in NY or DC. Part of the reason that look works in late spring/summer and not in winter is because everyone is less dressed in those months and your bare legs just don’t look as jarring. Part of it also just has to do with how your legs look. I don’t tan especially much, or even at all, but my legs look a lot less pasty in the summer months once they’ve seen a few days of sunlight than they do all winter long.

  16. MissJackson :

    I always wear tights in the winter. But, I live in the midwest where it can be 60 degrees in the morning and snowing by my commute home. So tights are a defense mechanism! Or an insurance policy! My feet are seriously cold just thinking about going bare legged before spring. And even then, I’ve had too many “warm spring days” turn cold and rainy by commute time so I end up shivering waiting for the bus!

    I agree that it looks a bit jarring to see a winter coat with bare legs. If you live somewhere that a winter coat is not necessary or is sometimes unnecessary in the winter, the rules might be different.

  17. MaggieLizer :

    My secretary is sick today and the secretary who is covering for her is awful. I asked her to draft four shell documents. She did two. When she handed them to me she said, I don’t think this is right and I don’t know how to do it, then walked away. Uhh how about you look up an example? Or google it? Or ask someone? So I don’t have to bill the client for ME to do that and take time away from my other work??? Sigh. I miss my secretary. Please come back, wonderful secretary who does what I ask her to do and then some. I miss you :(

    I think I need to get her a card when she comes back.

    • You definitely should, that was one thing that I was really oblivious to when I had a good secretary. Then I got a bad secretary. I’m still in touch with my good secretary because I secretly hope someday to be able to hire her away!

  18. I am with you on this, no bare legs in winter. Another odd thing I’ve seen is bare legs with boots. That too just gets me. I think pasty winter legs are just unflattering. Come on girls, we can do better than that.

    • It doesn’t matter what color skin your legs are. Why do people say this? Who cares if they’re pasty-colored or not?

      • Totes McGotes :

        Awwwww, and after this and AIMS’ comment I was hoping maybe it’s okay for me because my legs are brown!

      • Pasty doesn’t really bother me – blue because you are cold, might be an issue…

      • I don’t know, but for my 2c there is something about really white pasty legs that never see the sun…you know, maybe because here in CA we might do weekend stuff that causes bare arms, so the tan/pasty balance is off? I’m looking at my arms right now and they’re not THAT pale, but my legs are kind of grossly pasty right now. (although I went jetskiing with bare legs two weekends ago and actually did get a little color!)

        I usually just wear pants, the last 6 weeks have been a rotation of about 4 pairs. No wonder I’m feeling sick of my wardrobe!!

        • Some of us only pink in the sun, never tan. And then the pink goes away. Sorry if you think that my legs are horridly pasty. I am still going to wear skirts and shorts when weather-appropriate.

    • law talking girl :

      My natural skin color is not a fashion choice.

      • amen. it is what it is, not ‘better’ or ‘worse.’

      • I’m as pale as they come, but people dye hair so they don’t see the grey, wear makeup to smooth out their skin, I don’t see why people don’t view hiding pasty legs the same way. If they don’t look good, don’t show them. Or do but know it is a choice just like all the other choices we make everyday.

        • Comfort > Aestheticness :

          Not everyone dyes greys, not everyone wears make-up to smooth their skin, not everyone gets botox for their wrinkles, and not everyone wears tights or hose to cover their leg. Aesthetic

          • that’s totally fine, but this blog is dedicated to what those choices reflect about ourselves to the working world. I just think people should acknowledge that pale legs is one of those things, otherwise your doing all of these things (tweezing, dyeing, shopping, heels, etc, and then are going to pull out the “I was born that way!” card).

        • law talking girl :

          You can dye your own hair, wear makeup, and wear hose if you would like to. But do not police my choices about my own body. This is akin to telling a curly-haired woman she needs to straighten her hair to be “professional.” No, people need to stop judging women’s bodies in their natural states. Come on girls, we can do better than that.

          • law talking girl :

            Yes, baring your legs is a choice. You do what you want and I’ll do what I want. But let’s not make this about what color the bared legs are, or about how attractive they are. Women should not have to hide a body part that is generally accepted as suitable for exposure in public on account of its being unattractive.

        • But would you actually say “Ugh, old women, get Botox already! No one wants to see your wrinkles. We can do better than that”? Because that’s a pretty offensive thing to say.

          • law talking girl :


          • No and I wouldn’t say it to be pasty people either (I’m pasty!) But I don’t understand the “I’m born that way!” argument while we are doing everything else. Women should not have to hide a body part that is generally accepted as suitable for exposure, but we do it everyday. (tweeze eyebrows, shave legs, cover up, hair dye) You don’t have to do any of those things! But not showing unattractive parts is a decision, and we make different ones every day. I would never tell people to get botox, but people get it to look better. I would never tell someone to hide their pale legs, but people do to look better. I’m not policing anyone’s choices.

          • whoops sorry roomie. Just fyi the cfm comment is from me, cc.

          • law talking girl :

            I agree with you that we all make choices about our appearance. I do some of these things myself (tweeze eyebrows, brush hair, cover my legs, wear high heels). But I do detect an undercurrent of body policing in a few of the comments here, not really in yours but definitely in pnd’s. The “ew, gross” attitude towards any part of a woman’s body, whether attractive or not, should just not be a part of the conversation.

        • I’m blond haired, blue eyed and as pale as they come. Mind you, lot’s of people comment on my ‘goregeous white skin’. It doesn’t tan, only burns and even self-tanner doesn’t take or at best looks unnatural. I’ve tried everything.

          Since several years, I’ve decided to accept the thing I can not change and embrace my snow-white skin. I stay out of the sun, wear lots of sunscreen (high cancer risk with my -6 skin type ;-)) and wear contrasting colors of lipstick. Never gotten more compliments.

          Sometimes it’s impossible to change something. Yes, I wax, shave, use make-up (another thing, why are most brands so determined to meet the requirements of dark skin, but not the very pale ones?) but does that mean I should necessarily start covering up my legs even in summer? They’re pale, not ugly. No spider veins noticable yet, even colored, no hair (it’s white, my leg hair, and gets shaven daily). My legs are OK, a bit big, but shapely. Why should I cover up? If you don’ t like my white legs, you probably won’t like my white face, arms and chest. Should I wear a burka?

    • Magdeline :

      My skin is “pasty” year-round.

      • Me too. I wear sunblock because my natural skin color > skin cancer or eczema. Plus, I think there are some areas where the natural look is seen as more professional than the fake look.

  19. I seriously don’t get the bare legs craze, but I admit I’m a bit older and perhaps my age is showing. That being said, many women my age have told me they feel really passe wearing hose and compelled to go with the bare leg look even if they would be more comfortable with hose. Does everyone under 40 really have that great a set of legs these days??? Hose evens out the skin tone and hides imperfections like spider veins, etc. Isn’t it just putting your best leg forward? ( no pun intended) In the summer when its hot and open shoes are worn, bares legs are more comfortable and can be understood, but in winter it seems a bit out of place in an office. Hose creates a more polished, finished look with closed toe shoes.

    • I’m 28 and wear hose most of the time year round. I don’t care if its passe, closed toe pumps are brutal without them. :-P

    • Former MidLevel :

      I’m 30 and wear hose. I don’t think it’s passe – it’s classic.

    • I don’t have a problem with hose in theory, I just think it’s so hard to find good quality ones that give the right amount of coverage without looking too “granny” (ie, think matte, bunchy, too orange stockings). I bought a pair from a line of Hanes over the weekend and was so excited to put them on this morning in that the color and amount of coverage were perfect- my legs looked smooth, sleek, and just a touch shiny. But the quality monster reared its ugly head and the hose ran with a HUGE hole as I was putting them on. Sigh.

      If I could find a reliable brand of hose that gave that perfect amount of light coverage and lasted 3-5 wears a pair (or more like the slightly thicker Target Hanes brand that I settle for because of their durability, sacrificing on the coverage level), I too would probably wear hose a lot more often. I don’t blame people for not wanting to put up with the dance.

      • MaggieLizer :

        Nordie’s brand is pretty good and doesn’t break the bank. I hoard Donna Karan when they go on sale. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I returned a pair of hose to Nordie’s when they ran when I was putting them on. I’m sorry, but if they run before I’ve even worn them, that’s a design flaw and I should get my money back! True to their great customer service reputation, they took back the hose without making me feel like a huge jerk for bringing them back.

        • I have tried the DK pairs before and just thought they were okay (my skin tone must be weird/particular). The color was average on me, as was their durability, so I couldn’t justify the effort to stalk for sale prices.

          Right now, I primarily use the Target Hanes brand (as I said, they are a little thicker than I’d like, but I have gotten about 10+ wears out of pairs sometimes) and there is actually a CVS brand called “On the Go Hose” that is very very light/thin (but made out of a slightly weird material and cut kind of strangely so they don’t always stay in place the right way), but I like them because they are semi-durable and very sheer for occasions where I want to look really polished (but they are too uncomfortable to wear every day). I can’t believe the other Hanes pair I bought died so quickly because I feel my face visibly lit up as I put them on because the color/coverage was perfect.

      • I posted on a thread a while ago looking for nude hose suggestions. I think they’re fairly unstylish too, but there are occasions where they are just necessary and I can’t find any good ones.

        Hanes Silk Reflectons in Travel Buff are a good really pale color. But as Frump says, there is a quality problem. They run really easily. Additionally, the color is so pale I think they look like borderline nurse hose.

        I have tried Nordstrom’s store brand, too, as recommended on that prior thread. I like that they make a size long enough for me (I’m 5’10” and disproportionately tall in the legs) but their palest nude color is a bit orangey for me and makes me feel like I’m wearing the dreaded Suntan L’Eggs.

        For an everyday non-black-tights day, I still prefer nude fishnets. But I would still really like to find my perfect sheer nude hose.

        • Haha I wore these today (they are my go to nude hose) and I so looked like Nurse Ratchett. Granted, my legs are that color under the hose, but it was really jarring to remember that. If I can find them, I’ll buy the big pack of them at the outlets.

          • yes, my legs are basically that color under the hose, too, but there’s something extra glowy about wearing the hose. Maybe that’s why they’re called Silk Reflections. :)

            I wore them a couple of weeks ago for a Big Meeting in New York, where I thought my black opaque tights would be too punky. I was wrong. The tights would have been OK.

        • Merabella :

          what brand of nude fishnets do you suggest?

    • I’m over 40 and I have a great pair of legs. Yup, I’m owning it and No, I’m not Ellen. I go bare-legged from April to October, but here in Boston it’s damn cold right now. So I agree bare legs look weird at this time of year, but I see it all the time on teenage girls – winter coat, mini skirt, bare legs and uggs.

  20. If its cold enough for you legs to get goose-bumpy, then it’s too cold to go bare legged. If your feet are going to be cold without something on your legs, then it’s too cold to go bare legged.

    If it’s a fancy dinner out and it has been below freezing all winter and it finally gets above freezing, but not quite 40, then by gum, that’s a heat wave and to h*ll with stockings. But not the coat. I’d still need the coat.

    Dress for the weather, not the month.