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How to Wear Pantyhose In the Summer

How to Wear Pantyhose in the SummerWith only a few weeks to go until summer officially begins, it’s a great time to discuss how to wear pantyhose in the summer — because even if your office is freezing, your commute won’t be. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: This is very much a “know your office” situation. If you’re new, assume that pantyhose are required and wear them at least the first day and all significant events to follow after that (big meetings, court appearances, etc.) — change that assumption if you see mid-levels going barelegged at big events.

Big work events aside, though, there are some women who love pantyhose — including many Corporette readers. (In fact, last time we talked about pantyhose in the summertime, readers seemed split on the topic, with only about half of them being on Team Bare Legs!) We also had a debate on underwear with pantyhose — to wear or skip? (One reader said she thought of them “panties with legs” — an interesting take.) If you do wear underwear with them, 100% cotton is best (although increasingly hard to find!), and even those who wear pantyhose sans underwear suggested making sure your stockings have a cotton gusset. By the way, make sure to check out our Guide to Pantyhose for Work, as well as some of our favorite brands of hose!

For those of you whose office dress codes mandate pantyhose year-round, and for those who just like wearing them to work, we’ve gathered a few tips from readers on staying comfortable if you have to wear pantyhose in the summer:

Tips on Surviving Pantyhose in the Summer

If you dread wearing pantyhose when it’s hot out, put them in the freezer for a few minutes when you’re getting dressed — at least you’ll get a brief respite before your commute.

Alternately, just don’t put them on until you’re at work. One reader says she carries hers in her work bag so she doesn’t have to wear them during her hot commute, then stops in the ladies’ room before she goes into her office.

Another option is to skip full pantyhose altogether and just wear thigh-highs. We talked about wearing them at work in a previous post, so check there for Kat’s brand recommendations and some tips from readers.

Hack your hose — literally. One reader swears by this tip shared by a friend: She cuts off about half an inch at the top of control-top or regular stockings (making sure to leave some elastic) to make her pantyhose less itchy and more comfortable. Of course, as she notes, this trick is best for cheaper brands that won’t last long anyway. (Have any of you tried this?)

Keep dryer sheets in your desk. A couple of swipes with a dryer sheet will stop the static electricity that makes your skirt stick to your pantyhose — and won’t it be nice to walk without constantly stopping to peel it off your legs?

Benefits of Pantyhose (Stay on the Sunny Side!)

If you’re still cursing your office dress code for making you wear pantyhose in the summer, check out these reasons that some readers prefer wearing them instead of going to work with bare legs. Pantyhose can:

  • Stop your shoes from giving you blisters.
  • Keep your feet from getting sweaty — which protects your shoes, too.
  • Protect your pedicure.
  • Make your outfit seem more professional and “pulled together.”
  • Cover bruises, scrapes, and scars — and anything else you’d rather hide.
  • Even out the skin tone on your legs.
  • Allow you to go a few days longer without shaving.
  • Provide shaping and control.
  • Keep you from sticking to chairs/seats when it’s hot.
  • Prevent friction from your thighs rubbing together. (Alternately, you can use this.)

Readers: Which are your favorite brands of pantyhose? Do you wear them in the summer because of dress code rules or just because you like to? Or, do you just not wear them — or use them in certain situations?

Photo credit: Shutterstock. 

Comments

  1. I find this post very helpful, but I did want to point out that those of us who commute on public transit might still be freezing. At least where I am, the trains, buses and subway have the AC cranked to the max as soon as the temperature gets even a little warm.

  2. I really hope as more women in my generation (the oldest end of the so-called “millenials”) take over leadership positions, requirements for pantyhose will go away. More power to you if you like to wear them (for the reasons Kat listed above), but I cannot stand them and never–and I mean never–wear them. Tights, yes, in winter. But never hose. Luckily my job (where I am a director, fwiw) doesn’t ever require them.

    • Whether a woman like or hates wearing pantyhose seem to be a generational thing. I’m in my 50s and have worn stockings and pantyhose since I was 12. I enjoy wearing them and wear them all year round. I wear Hanes and L’eggs Sheer Energy (which requires a trip to WA state as I can’t get them in Canada). My daughter is 25 and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing sheer hose. She used to wear them when I took her to church, but not since. When she wears dresses and skirts, she wears tights or fishnets, or goes bare-legged. She works as an interactive designer for a company where everyone dresses ultra-casual.

  3. I really don’t Iike pantyhose and only rarely wear them for the most formal of meetings. However I would probably be willing to wear them more often if I could find any I liked. I am tall and lower end plus sized and it seems almost impossible to find hose long enough. The part that bugs me the most is when the edges of the gusset do not hit me in the anatomically correct place but rather about one inch down my inner thighs. I get nasty red welts and I’m uncomfortable all day.

    I will say the color selections have gotten better for pale girls. The drugstore Bare and Suntan are both too dark and orange for me but DKNY and Nordstrom both have more reasonable pale shades.

    I’d love any recommendations for truly tall / plus hose that stay up and are not scratchy and awful.

    • Diana Barry :

      I would look at the size charts for the ones you have been wearing, and see where you fall in the size chart. If you are in the middle of the range or below, I would go for tall sizes in the same brand (if they make them) or try a different brand. If you are anywhere close to the edge, SIZE UP. I always always size up (and the ladies in the lingerie dept always try to talk me out of it) because I am long of leg so the size that *should* fit me never, ever does.

      • Diana Barry :

        Also, FWIW I like DKNY The Nudes. Calvin Klein is also OK.

      • Meg March :

        I have the same problem as OP, and the problem I have found is that pantyhose often only come in like 3 sizes. So my height/weight technically puts me in the largest size, but if I weighed 5 pounds less, I’d be in the middle size. So I buy my “correct” size, and they don’t stay up very well, or I buy the medium size, and they aren’t tall enough.

        • This is me exactly. Literally the only pair of pantyhose that ever fit me correctly were a Spanx maternity pair when I was pregnant and had to wear them for a federal jury trial. I don’t go to court anymore, so I’m happy to bid good riddance to hose.

          • I also add that I am 35 and I have literally never re-worn hose. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a pair that I didn’t snag or run by the end of the day or while taking off. So, I truly only wore them for big court dates and interviews and I could factor in the cost of hose to my actual outfit.

    • JCPenney has tall plus hose… I think they used to have it in a really wide size range, like all the way up to 3 or 4 x tall and short as well! I have not been there in years, though. Donna Karan and Berkshires also have talls. Regular length should be fine if you buy it one size up, if you don’t like those brands. I’m not a Q size, but I buy Q for the length. It stretches up. I’ve never had a problem with it falling down from being too big, it usually falls down when it’s too tight/short in my experience. The size charts on the back on pantyhose packages are pretty inaccurate in my opinion.

      I also usually cut off the waistband on my tights – I don’t know if it’s just me, but on any size, even a Q that is allegedly 5 sizes above me, it usually squeezes and gives me a weird muffin top. When I cut it off down to the edge of the binding, it’s so much more comfortable.

    • This is why I’m Team Thigh Highs. I’m tall and not plus-sized, but most hose do not fit me properly (just between sizes, so the smaller one hits an inch below where it should, and the larger size bunches up and wrinkles).

      If thigh highs are an inch lower than where they ‘should’ be, well, there’s a decent range of where they can hit on your thighs and still be functional.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        What brand do you buy? I’ve never found any that actually stayed up.

        • Victoria’s Secret makes some that stay up. I bought a sparkly pair years ago that I love – cannot remember the name – that are also wonderful.

          The key is to buy ones with two rows of sticky bands, spread apart by a few inches. Anything that has about a four-inch topper works fine.

          You can also, in the infamous words of the lady who sold me the sparkly pair, “Keep a garter belt in your purse, honey, for emergencies.”

      • I’m tall and all legs, and thigh-highs literally hit me in the middle of my quads and then just want to jump down all day. I’ve never found any that go up above my hamstrings high enough to want to stay up and not shimmy down to my knees!

      • My legs are basically carrot shaped (thigh width steadily decreasing from the top to the knee) and that shape seems to make thigh highs extra willing to roll down.

        If I could wear thigh highs with the regular bike shorts I wear under skirts I think it would be ideal.

    • Anon, I’ve been quite pleased with the pantyhose from Talbot’s. I’m 5’10 and plus-sized. Their 2X size covers up to 5’10 in height and has a generous weight range. I think they have two or three shades of nude along with a brown, black and a nice gray. Never had an issue with them staying up. They often have sales where a fourth pair is free with the purchase of three. You might give them a try.

    • Strange or in-between sizes often benefit from the move to stockings with a garter belt! I despised pantyhose for many of the same reasons, but stockings with a good elastic garter belt provide control, chafing protection, polish, and a very high measure of flexibility.

      • I often wear stockings with a garter belt, especially fishnets. I have a belt with 8 garters that provide a firm fit and flexibility. I like the way stockings feel on my legs compared to pantyhose.

    • I’m not sure this suggestion will help you with color options, but for fit you might try Just My Size shaper. Their nude is not like some of the bland nudes that are out there and they were able to give me a little extra length in the leg when I was at my heavier weight to allow a comfortable all day fit.

  4. I love pantyhose and wear them every day. (For reference, I’m 32.) They keep my legs from getting too cold, and hide the fact that my incredibly fair skin is translucent on my legs, meaning that you can see the maze of veins and stuff under my skin, which has prompted people to ask me many times if there’s something wrong.

    A tips:
    1) I recently discovered that L’Eggs has a no-waistband kind of hose. It has a control top, but it doesn’t have that band of extra elastic at the very top. For me, this has been fabulous, as the elastic band at the top squeezes me a little too much when I’m sitting down. I’ve been stocking up on these and it’s my new go-to brand.

    2) The Hanes Silky Sheer hose are really slick out of the package. I have a hard time with pumps — they tend to slide right off, which makes it hard to walk. But once you wash the hose, they’re fine. So I got into the habit of washing all the Silky Sheers once before wearing them.

    3) I always buy my hose one size too big. I learned that trick with tights, because having them a little bigger makes the tights more opaque. But I find that it also works well with hose, which I think is probably because I’m on the tall side and I hold my weight in the middle — sizing up helps them fit length-wise and makes it more comfortable around my waist.

  5. Great Topic, Kat and Kate–personally I hate pantihose in the summer, but I MUST wear pantihose whenever I go to court, and there is ONLEY one week in the Summer where the court is NOT in session, meaning I get 1 week off all summer (in August fortunateley). But the subway’s are beyond hot, and the street’s often are melteing from the heat, meaning I get very unfresh very quickley. Fortunately the manageing partner let’s me take an UBER to court when I have alot of casefiles now that Mason is no longer here to carry them (and my pump’s), so it is NOT all bad. The manageing partner does NOT let me take an UBER back from the court. He says it build’s character to take the subway, the way he did for MANY year’s when there was NO air condition at all in the cars OR on the platform’s. I told him it is still bad on the platform’s and the 6 line is NOT the newest either. FOOEY! But he still make’s me take the subway back. I also have to walk to and from work b/c of my tuchus, but at least I can wear street clotheing and change IN the office. YAY!!!!

  6. I love pantyhose. I gave up wearing them in summers in DC but since the Metro has basically imploded I’ve been driving to work (and therefore don’t walk to/from, and also never wind up in the hot car — DCQ, I hear you! The hot car is the worst!) and might just wear pantyhose year-round now!

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Especially when the hot car smells like brake fluid. Even just thinking about the combination of heat + smell makes me nauseated.

  7. Anonymous :

    Unrelated questions…traveling to Denver and San Francisco for work. Any can’t miss restaurants or coffee shops? Staying downtown in both cities for conferences, but willing to travel for the good stuff.

    • Blue Bottle Coffee in SF!

    • SF dreaming :

      I still think fondly of the dinner I had Burma Superstar! It is amazing. There’s a location in San Francisco and another in Oakland. They don’t take reservations, so you might have a long wait fyi.

  8. Shopaholic :

    Does body glide actually work? I’ve been having chafing issues recently and I’ve been wearing shape wear or shorts under my skirts and dresses but I’d much prefer to skip the extra layer, especially once it gets warmer.

    TIA!

    • It does work, but you need to reapply. Arm and hammer also makes a less expensive version that I buy on drugstore dot com.

    • Monistat anti-chafing cream. Once I started using it–no need for underlayers. It’s worth every single penny. A tube usually lasts all summer, but I like to buy the 3 pack and keep one everywhere!

    • Just regular deodorant does the trick, too – I buy a sample size cheapie just for this purpose.

      • I’ve had great luck with Run Guard, and like it even more than Body Glide. Comparable in price, lasts far longer, and has a better feel on.

  9. I am still shocked that anyone would not wear underwear with hose. And even more so because I remember when this first came up, people also said they will rewear tights/hose without washing. I’ll rewear a lot but to me that’s a no-go.

    • I used to be a non underwear wearer with hose (though I washed them every time). Then, fortunately on a day where did wear underwear, I tripped and fell at work and flashed one of my male coworkers – trying to step backwards and tripped over my shoes. He got the full Monty. If I hadn’t been wearing underwear that day I shudder to think.

  10. After having to wear compression tights while hugely pregnant in July to combat varicose veins I will never complain about standard hose. They looked like figure skating tights and took a good ten minutes to get on (thigh highs) as I navigated around my stomach. But thankfully they largely did their job

  11. AnonEngineer :

    I wear hose every day, for a different reason than most. Although my office is business casual and hose are definitely not the norm, I work with medical devices where I am constantly in and out of the cleanroom, which requires legs covered. Once I developed the habit (out of necessity for the requirements of my position), I found that I actually like wearing them, mostly for smoothing skin (and delaying having to shave!) and smoothing out VPL. I now occasionally wear them when I dress up outside of work, because they’re such a staple in my dressy wardrobe now! I’m 23 and in a tech industry, where this is definitely not common except in cleanroom environments, and none of my friends in other industries or tech jobs wear them.

    My favorite is Calvin Klein hose– they’re the only ones I’ve found that match my skin perfectly. I’ve had several people actually ask me if I’m wearing anything (since they know I have to wear them for the cleanroom) since they blend with my skin so well. The Calvin Kleins last the longest without a run of all the brands I’ve tried. I can get them at Stein Mart for $6 a pair.

    • AnonEngineer :

      I strongly agree with the comment above about buying them large. I should be right in the middle of the “2” category for the CK size chart, but I buy them in 4. The color looks a little better, I think, and they last much longer since there isn’t as much stretching and pulling at the toes and waistband.

  12. The lovely “summer in pantyhose” tread is back!

  13. I work at a law firm in southern california and I never wear pantyhose, and never have I ever felt underdressed for lack of it. I rarely if ever see women in pantyhose here. I can see the benefits of wearing it, but I am so hard on any sort of tights that I would probably have to wear a new pair every day and that just seems wasteful (landfills anyone??).

  14. Back when I used to wear pantyhose, I would cut the top half off the elastic (only on the front part, so it wouldn’t constrict my waist), and that definitely made them more comfortable. They survived repeated washings, too. Now, I stick with thigh-high tights (Commando) in the winter, although I do have one pair of Donna Karan sheer thigh highs if needed for very formal work events.

  15. I have to wear nylons or tights at work, but I also don’t really mind wearing them overall. I am super super pale, i burn instead of tan, and my legs are usually both see-through white and bruised … A good pair of sheers looks better on in my opinion. I’m also bigger, like a size 14, and kind of need the Spanx effect anyway. I haven’t minded them in the summer because I’ve either lived in places with mild summers or in DC, where it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, you’re just dying regardless.

    I used to have great luck (both tights and nylons) with the cheaper Assets by Spanx brand from Target, but they recently got rid of all but the max shaping pantyhose (which don’t work for me) and I’m SOL again.

    What I really need to figure out is how to wear tights that don’t give me weird, high-waisted muffin top.

  16. What about open toe shoes and nylons? Is there any situation where the combo is okay? I really like nylons for the reasons stated above, particularly because I have very pale blotchy skin (my hair follicles are always bright red too!), but I also really like cute sandals and open-toe pumps. And my office is fairly laid-back, so these shoe styles are definitely the norm. So I’m always torn in the summer months on what to do when I want to wear a dress or skirt — bare my ugly legs, and show off the pedicure? Or wear my stodgier closed-toe pumps/flats and put on nylons? I don’t think anyone at my office really cares what I do (not a lot of nylon-wearers here, and a lot of the women wear pants every day). I really wish I could wear nylons for the coverage and the shaping, but I love my sandals. I’m 37 for what it’s worth.

    • I’ve actually seen nylons that have a thong-like thing between the big toe and next toe, and the other toes are open. Never tried them, but you can get them from Donna Karan, Hanes, Berkshire, and others. I really hate seeing “nylon toes” with open-toed shoes. It looks very matronly to me.

      • My mother gave me a pair of these a couple years back. They did the job for a couple weddings that summer, but I never did repurchase them when they went toast.

  17. FWIW, I wear nylons with open-toed shoes when wearing dresses and skits. I usually wear nude hose but sometimes black with a black outfit. One thing I make sure of is that the toe seam isn’t visible. And I don’t worry about what the fashionistas think. Does anyone else wear nylon knee-hi’s with pants and heels? I don’t see them mentioned much.

    • I almost always wear nylon knee-highs with pants and heels, mostly because it makes my shoes so much more comfortable. It is unbearably hot where I live/work, and if I didn’t wear nylons my feet would completely stick to my shoes. Problem is that it is getting harder to find them.

  18. I too love and enjoy panty hose and wear them even when it’s in the 90’s. I found that ultra sheers are the most comfortable as the leg area is 100% nylon. I think the Berkshire and No Nonsense brands are wonderful and when these hose are donned inside out, any friction between your legs as you walk is completely eliminated! My shoes seem to last much longer than when going bare legged or wearing regular socks.

    • I’ve also find ultra sheers the best in hot weather. I’ve never tried wearing them inside out before, but I will tomorrow when I put them on, though I don’t wear those brands. I will try to remember to wear them that way. I also wear a very fine fishnet in either beige or ivory in hot weather. They allow my legs to “breathe” through the mesh and I find they don’t stick to my legs like nylons do. I agree about shoes lasting longer when worn with hose. I hate wearing heels without hose, so hard on my feet.

  19. If you are going to have to wear nude nylons, have some fun with it. I like an ultra sheer nylon with some shine, for two reasons: They aren’t nearly as hot, they have a very unique silky sensation which feels amazing on your skin, and the little bit of shine will get you compliments on your legs all day long (though you may or may not want this, depending on the situation. As with car manufacturing, the Europeans do it better. Try the Gabriella Exclusive 10 pantyhose (you can order them from a place like Hosieree.com, they are based in the states and sell the good European hosiery ). If you want the sheer without the shine try the Fusion 12 by Cecila de Rafael.

  20. Anonymous :

    my granddaughter is going to her first formal dance in the 8th grade .she has the low length in the back and the short length in the front. she bought thong pumps with “bling ” on the shoe to match her belt. what kind of hosiery should she wear?

  21. my granddaughter is going to her first formal in the 8th grade,she bought blingy thong pumps to match her belt on her high low hemmed dress…..what kind of hosiery should she wear?

  22. I wear them all the time no matter what the weather is and how they invigorate my legs. I have found that No-Nonsense seem to hold up much better than other brands and are more comfortable as well. Ultra-Sheer pantyhose are very comfortable in the hottest days but run so easily and I usually get a day out of them at the most so it is not worth buying them. As far as the panty or no panty debate, I always go commando when wearing pantyhose.

    • I hear you Josette about ultra-sheers not lasting. I find Leggs Sheer Energy wear well, though I’ve been wearing micro-fishnets a lot lately.

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