Pantyhose in the Summer

pantyhose-summerDo you have to wear pantyhose in the summer? The pantyhose-at-the-office question comes up so often, but I don’t think we’ve addressed it in a while — and Reader N wonders…

I had a question about wearing pantyhose. I’m about to start my first internship in finance (a mid-sized hedge fund) this summer and I’m really confused as to what to wear. It’ll be in London, so I don’t know if that changes business formal guidelines. Anyway, I’m 20 years old and a southern girl, and I’ve never worn pantyhose in my life. Is it really necessary to wear pantyhose with a skirt suit, even in the middle of July? I’m tempted to just wear a pant suit the first day and see what everyone else is wearing, but then I’ve heard people say that pantsuits aren’t conservative enough and I should wear a skirtsuit the first day just in case.

Obviously, I have no idea what I’m doing. Oh dear.

Congratulations on your summer internship — it sounds excellent. There is a really big range in what’s acceptable at conservative offices, and so — for my $.02 — it’s always best to get started on the right foot, which is to say the safest foot. You don’t want people’s first impression of you to be of your clothes — you want it to be of your work, your accomplishments. So for the first day — probably even the first week — I would suggest wearing:

You may realize pretty quickly that your female bosses all wear skirts without hose, and after that point you have my go ahead to ball up your pantyhose and pack ’em away until interview season. Similarly, after a few days of observation, you may feel confident in bringing out your peep-toes and your sleeveless dresses. But the point is that you have to know your office.

Now, if you do get stuck in a firm where you have to wear pantyhose all summer… there are a few things you can do to make the summer go more comfortably.

– If there’s a problem with your hose (they fall down, they run, they cling to your skirt), odds are that you just haven’t found a great pair of hose for you yet. Readers have sung the praises of everything from Jockey to Wolford, so you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money; you just have to find a great pair that works for you. Personally I’ve always been a fan of control tops (even when I didn’t need the control) because the hose stayed up better, but that’s me — Spanx even has a higher-waisted version to prevent rollover.

– If you constantly feel sweaty while wearing your hose, first switch to all cotton underwear. (A reader asked me once if you needed to wear underwear with hose, and my answer there is yes — I’m not an expert but going commando in hose sounds like a recipe for a yeast infection.) If that still doesn’t work, you may want to look into thigh-high hose — a lot of women prefer those, particularly in the summertime.

– You may want to review my older advice on how to care for your pantyhose (as well as how to put them on).

Readers, which are your favorite pantyhose brands? For those of you who wear it even on the hottest days, what is your advice for Reader N?

Comments

  1. I just got back from London and I saw tons of stylish professional women wearing pantyhose (both nude and black). It seemed like much more of a thing over there so I would probably at least start out with them.

  2. londonlawyer :

    Having worked in a magic circle law firm, I can safely say that pant suits are absolutely fine. Feel free to wear one to work if its your best one! :) That said, a lot of women wore dresses to work because they’re easier to co-ordinate with cardigans (which, I’m sorry to say, are somewhat of a necessity in London, regardless of seasons – the weather is quite unpredictable!)

    Like someone above said, its about looking good, so don’t worry whether you’re in a skirt suit or a pant suit. Good luck – and enjoy yourself – the Olympics are a maddeningly good time to be there!

    P.S. On the pantyhose debate: I wore them all through winter in greys and blacks because of the weather, but I rarely do in summer. I’m brown skinned, and have a tough time finding hose that matches my exact skin shade!!! A lighter tone and I look pasty from the knee down, and brown from the waist up, a darker tone and I look like I’ve tanned just my legs – so I safely avoid one and it hasn’t affected me in the least in my work! :)

  3. Mousekeeper :

    Start out the first few days of the internship wearing pantyhose TO and of course in the office. After you’ve made your initial impression, carry your pantyhouse in your bag on the way to the office (yes, that means bare-legged in transit) and when you get to your building, put them on in the ladies room in the building before you actually go into the office. I’m assuming there’s a ladies room on the first floor of the building. To me, panyhose are the most uncomfortable during the commute when you’re actually out in the heat. I can also assume your office is air-conditioned, so it won’t be so bad once your in the office.

  4. Absquatulate :

    A good trick to putting on hose when it’s hot out: stick them in the freezer for a few minutes. Then they’re nice and cool at least while you’re pulling them on.

    Definitely go more formal, and then adjust once you get a feel for the corporate culture. Good luck.

  5. I don’t understand the pantyhose hate. I LOVE pantyhose. Totally serious.
    here are the reasons:
    -they provide a little control and shaping, making my skirt fit better
    -they even out the skin tone on my legs
    -they cover bruises/scrapes/scars (I’m a klutz!)
    -they mean I can go a few days longer without shaving my legs (not too long, obviously!)
    -they prevent that gross suctiony feeling when taking shoes off at the end of a long day.

    If you buy the right size they aren’t uncomfortable. For realz.

    My mother wears pantyhose every day. Even when she wears pants. I don’t go that far, but I’ve thought about it.

    • Dear Heidi,

      I agree with all the above reasons for wearing panthyhose–you go girl!

  6. I do not have a favorite brand for tights but there are a few websites that can give you more info on tights, stockings and panythose. I love mytights.com and hoseriee.com. Check it out! For summer tights, I recommend sheers or tights with a denier of 10 or less. You want the crotch to be cotton or cotton gusset. Wolford, which is luxury for legs, have tights called lux 9 tights for $30. It is an investment and last for a very long time. I have the same tights for 2 years now. Another brand similar to Wolford is Falke. They are very comfortable and it is a little bit cheaper than Wolford. The Shelina Falke ranges from very fair to dark skin tones. Calvin Klien and Pretty Polly tights are nice too. If you want cheap, Berkshire ($6-$7) is ok. Some women prefer tights closer to their skintone but most of the time I wear black.

  7. I wear pantyhose as a personal preference rather than an office requirement. I find it more comfortable in the summer. Unless someone has a better suggestion for keeping your legs from sticking together when you sit with your legs crossed?

    Once I was promoted 6 months ago, I DID start noticing that many of the most motivated younger women in the office look to me for fashion cues. Can I encourage the polished, professional look without passing along personal preferences (like hose and lack of anything but dainty jewelry)?

  8. My work requires all women to wear pantyhose with their skirts. It’s about professionalism and polish. If they weren’t required, I’d still wear them. Yes, even in the Texas heat! I want my legs to look nice and smooth. I prefer sheer nude hose with control tops. The Nononsence brand is my favorite for quality + price. I buy them at huge discounts on their website in bulk. If I cause a run with my nails, I have 30 other pairs in my drawer to take their place.

  9. Call me old fashioned, but I think not wearing stocking/pantyhose to work is like walking around in a store in a swimsuit. Too exposed and not at all put together. Appropriate hoisery makes a big difference between looking nice and looking truly polished and professional.

    • I agree Sabrina. My work requires all women to wear pantyhose and even high heels. Even if they didn’t, I’d still wear pantyhose. It’s proper and professional for a career woman to be dressed appropriately and that means exposed legs should be in pantyhose. Plus, it makes my legs look their best and offers some modesty as well. Companies I think are going to make a slow return to requiring pantyhose on their female employees and this is a good thing. The corporate dress code has become way too relaxed and sloppy. My job would send me home if they saw me come in without my hose on. Back when my mom was working in the 80’s & 90’s, she wore hose every single day even with her pants and open toed shoes. The dress code was super strict and pantyhose were not optional. The female employees couldn’t set foot in the office without their pantyhose on.

  10. Definitely skirt suit and pantyhose for the first week. Look and see what everyone else is wearing. If most women are wearing skirts and pantyhose than you should as well.

  11. Definitely skirt suit and pantyhose for the first week. Look and see what everyone else is wearing. If most women are wearing skirts and pantyhose than you should as well. I think women should be wearing pantyhose (dark or tan), skirts and high heels as it is more professional and gives a better impression.

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