This post was last updated in January 2023.
If you were to write someone a guide to pantyhose for work, what would you say?
Reader H wonders, and since pantyhose is one of the biggest topics we’ve talked about through the years, I thought I’d give it a go.
Here’s H’s question:
Hi! I know you write a lot about pantyhose/tights/stockings–sorry to bring it up again–but I am so confused about them. I grew up in Southern California where no one wears pantyhose, ever, and tights only as a fashion statement or on very rare cold days.
I know you’re supposed to wear nude pantyhose to an interview and in very formal situations like court, but on a regular day in the office, is it okay to wear sheer or opaque black tights in the office? How about with a suit in the office? Or with a pencil skirt? Are there color rules e.g. no black tights with a black suit?
I suppose what I really need is a Dummy’s Guide to Wearing Stockings.
Thanks so much for any sort of information that could help sort me out
We have talked about this a lot, but I still see a lot of confusion about it. So let’s get into it — I’m curious to hear what readers say.
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2022 Update: Hunting for pantyhose for work? These are some recent reader favorites! one / two / three
Wear nude pantyhose when:
You’re interviewing, you’re in a formal situation (like court), or it’s a big day where you’ll see lots of big wigs.
Another good time to wear nude pantyhose: when your legs don’t have any color yet (from sun or fake tan) and you want them to have a more even consistency.
Also: wear them whenever you want to. (Here’s our last big guide to wearing pantyhose in the summer.)
Wear bare legs when:
It is not a big day, AND you have seen a superior or mid-level do it at your office so you know it’s acceptable in your office. (See our general breakdown of workwear don’ts for the summer.)
If you commute in flip-flops or other sandals, it’s good to get in the habit of changing into traditional pumps or flats as soon as you get to work.
(If chafing is a concern, note that readers have loved both Jockey Slipshorts in the summer, or anti-chafing cream like Monistat or Bodyglide.)
Psst: if you’re looking for body makeup, these are some of our favorites as of 2022…
Wear bare legs with body makeup when:
Honestly, when you want to! If you’ve got bug bites or tattoos to cover, these could be good options for big days (interviews, weddings). If you have veins or whatnot that you’re sensitive about, this is another option.
Above: some of the best tights for work as of 2022: one / two / three / four
(here are two great fleece-lined options — and here’s a great way to store tights!)
Wear tights when:
it’s the dead of winter and you need/want the warmth, or it’s a more casual day at the office.
Yes, you can wear them with suits — however, know your office; note this is usually more of an “everyday” look, not an “I’m going to court today” look.
(The most formal look is always going to be nude-for-you pantyhose plus a skirt suit.)
Fleece-lined tights do exist. (So do translucent fleece tights that look like pantyhose!)
Do not wear dark tights when it is hot outside.
Wear sheer tights or pantyhose:
When you want to, but particularly during spring/fall where opaque tights are too dark.
Back when I started this blog, I always wore off-black hose when interviewing — and I did just fine in terms of callbacks and offers.
Still, a lot of people equate this either as a more casual look, or a nighttime, almost sexy look — so know your office.
Color rules for pantyhose for work:
I was going to say “there aren’t any!” and then I realized I meant “wear black, gray, or nude-for-you.” Some general rules of thumb beyond that:
- skip white stockings unless you are under 12
- skip colorful stockings unless it is the weekend (or you can do this monochromatic look, which I still think is awesome)
- note that tights with patterns (swiss dots, ribbed knits, fishnets, lace, etc) are always going to be more casual
- we had a whole post on what tights to wear with navy skirts
2022 Update: Here are some cute colored tights for work! If you’re looking for something high quality check out Falke’s opaque tights in sedate colors; if you want affordability, these $17 Amazon tights have 7700+ great ratings and tons of colors.
Ladies, would you agree with these guidelines on pantyhose for work?
This all varies widely by region and office, of course, so while commenting, please leave a general, broad note about where you’re located and what type of office you work in. Thank you!
Social media picture credit: Shutterstock / ludmilafoto.
I do think colorful tights/stockings are a good way to knock an outfit down a level of formality if you work in an environment where that’s desirable/appropriate. (I work in academia, and especially in fall/winter a not-uncommon outfit for me would be an outfit that would otherwise be pretty appropriate for a more formal office — say, pencil skirt + blazer + shell + pumps — with contrasting tights. My wardrobe is by and large very neutral and most of my pops of color come in my hosiery and accessories.)
I agree. I work in an art museum and tend towards more formal/professional attire than my colleagues, and usually wear brightly colored tights with more neutral clothing.
You don’t mention brown or camel tights, which are an autumn staple for me. They are more casual than black, though.
I try to avoid hose since I don’t like them. Basically I never wear them except for a big networking event and sometimes not even then (esp if it is hot). I never go to court and haven’t interviewed lately – when I did interview last I wore pantsuits instead of skirt suits to avoid the hose + heels issue.
If you are as skeletally white as I am, pantyhose are pretty much a must in skirt situations (which I also avoid for other reasons). I mean, white as rice, never will tan, incredibly white. That makes “nude” quite tricky because “nude” is really tan compared to my normal skin tone.
I’m the same, plus veiny and moley. My office is casual and I almost never have to go anywhere fancy, so I pretty much just role with it in the summer (and I’ve seen my very fair boss do the same). But I think that hose are definitely a better look, and would definitely pull them out for interviews or high-level court appearances (but they are really hard to find in a good color for me).
I wear tights on the regular in cold weather, but I admit that I don’t really always like the look – I think that it looks juvenile and silly a lot of the time, particularly with a skirt suit. But, as with the above, it’s just easier and works for my office/lifestyle.
Although I don’t love them, I’ve never really understood the passionate, venomous hatred towards hose, particularly from people who think tights are just fine. Other than the color issue and the annoyance of runs (which are the things that keep me from reaching for them), I can’t see much difference.
I think hose just feel different. I find them hotter and less comfortable, not sure why.
Why cover your legs if they are pale? Show them off as is. There’s nothing wrong with pale skin.
Former Big Law
I don’t think fair skin is something to be ashamed of or barred from view. I do think, though, that women with very pale legs can look a bit ridiculous wearing a dark skirt suit without hose. It’s the visual equivalent of white tights.
I’ve never understood some people’s hatred of hose though. I wear them frequently and wouldn’t feel comfortable even in my biz casual office without hose on (although I don’t mind wearing shoes without socks with certain pants).
Lindsay & erik
Agreed “Former Big Law”.
We agree (all 3 of us on the topic) that there is nothing wrong with very pale skin. There certainly is a gigantic difference between ‘pale’ and ‘pasty’. (For those of you that don’t know, one is a shade/colour and one is a texture).
But pale or tan or black or pink, surely there is nothing wrong with any colour skin, but a quality pair of smooth Pantyhose will always look so much BETTER with any outfit. The term ‘dressed-up’ even refers to being dressed well on every part of you from toes to head. Therefore without lovely Hosiery one is simply not dressed-up.
This is a great page / great advice.
They make pantyhose, tights and stockings for A REASON…you’re a woman, start DRESSING like one.
Nonsense. My legs are just as pale as yours and I think they’re lovely. There’s nothing offensive about the sight of pale skin. By all means cover up if you want but don’t go claiming it’s necessary for all of us.
I agree – there’s nothing wrong with pale skin. Except that I’m close to 50 and I have both visible veins and spider veins (no varicose, luckily), moles, scars on my pasty pale skin. Hose is akin to 3-D air-brushing. Though I worry that wearing hose make me look even older and out of fashion.
Agree – I am only in my 30s, but my legs are incredibly veined (have been from my mid-20s) so I wear hose. I would not feel comfortable without hose. (Kind of like how, if I have visible acne, I wear concealer to work.) My colleagues who go without have better leg genes.
I know that I am not fashionable but I am hoping that Kate Middleton will succeed in changing the world’s opinion on hose so that I can be less unfashionable.
If it’s good enough for Kate Middleton, then it’s good enough for me! I changed my opinion on the age-appropriateness of Breton tops after seeing a photo of her in one.
Me too, exactly! And a slight tan seems to make this less noticeable.
Attorney in hose
I totally agree with both statements:
Hose is akin to 3-D air-brushing.
It makes me look older and less fashionable.
Oh, and they make shoes much more comfortable.
We have had such a warm summer here that I was just dying in pantyhose. So I tried the Sally Hanson “Air Stocking” can that I had previously tried and OMG what a difference. It goes on ugly but if you blend it (just like normal facial make-up) it really works. It looks almost like hose from a 3-4 feet distance and up close doesn’t look like makeup. It’s really given me confidence to go without hose on these hot days. I wouldn’t wear it with a formal suit to a presentation or an interview but it really does a nice job. Of course, having hair-free, moisturized legs to start with helps make it look more natural.
Yeah, I think the idea that you have to be tan to look good went out at least a decade ago, when people started becoming more aware about skin cancer and the like. Pale is totally “in” right now. And who cares anyway.
Early 30s and I wear hose (or tights in cold weather) any time I wear a skirt or dress to work. I’m pale but that’s not really the reason. Quite honestly, I just feel more put together and confident in hose. I wear skirts and dresses pretty often and don’t mind the hose aspect. I buy 6-packs at the L’eggs/Hanes outlet for less than $20 – I think they’re Sheer Comfort Control Top – and rarely get runs. I also prefer how hose reduce the friction in my shoes; when I wear pants and shoes that show my feet, I wear ankle- or knee-hi hose.
Hmmm. I went to court today in a skirt suit and I definitely didn’t wear any pantyhose. Hate them. But if I’m breaking some social taboo I’m going to have to go on a diet to fit back into my pant suits. Because I’d rather diet than wear pantyhose.
It depends on the court, I think. I see women in all sorts of things in court in NYC, both in state and federal. In fact, sometimes when I see someone too “perfectly prim” in court (starched button down shirt, navy skirt suit, nude hose, pearls…) I can’t help but think, “she doesn’t go to court a lot!”
Definitely depends on the court, and what type of law you practice. In my PNW state courthouse, it is completely acceptable to go bare legged, though I think the civil practice lawyers tend to dress a little more formally than the criminal lawyers. As AIMS says, it’s probably because they aren’t in court as often.
I never, and will never, wear hose. Ever ever ever. Tights, sure in the winter. But hose? Never. Not even interviewing. I’m not a lawyer, but a director level at a non profit and it isn’t happening.
FTR, I’m 30.
I have to ask why. What do you hate so much about hose, but not tights?
I basically only do pantyhose in the winter (along with tights in slightly more casual situations). I’m bare-legged in the summer, which I think is fine for most business situations these days. But when it gets down around freezing, it just feels odd to not have anything on my legs, even though the office temp is still set at the same 70 degrees.
To me, it’s a really changing standard. My mom wouldn’t dream of going to church or a wedding without hose on (in fact, at a family wedding last summer in 90 degree heat and humidity, she wore sleeves and hose, because she insisted it was required, even though she nearly fainted from the heat). I followed the rule for law firm interviews in school (which were thankfully mostly in the fall/winter back then), but as a practicing attorney, I almost never wear them. I wear tights when it’s cold, but otherwise go bare, unless it’s a super serious court appearance during hte time of year I would otherwise be wearing tights. Right or wrong, I veer toward sheer black hose for that too. I’ve read on here that those should be limited to funerals, but I find them more flattering and easier to match than my skin tone.
Since when is Monistat an anti-chafing cream?
It’s not, but they make an anti-chafing cream. It’s great, and is (weirdly) a great primer as well!
Not the feminine hygiene treatments. They make an anti-chafe lotion that works pretty well.
Must be Tuesday
I frequently see other attorneys in court wearing skirt suits with black tights and heels or knee-high boots. I also wear tights to court.
I think I’m the only person alive who loves pantyhose. They keep my shoes from giving me blisters. They smooth everything out. And they keep my shirt tucked into my skirt (yes, I tuck the bottom of my skirt into the top of my pantyhose then wear the hose around my hips so they don’t show over the waistband of my skirt). It makes me sad in spring when we get to bare legs season in DC. Pants do. not. fit. me. And my legs really don’t look terrific bare. It is funny how it’s changed over the years. Maddie Ross, my mom also would not dream of wearing a skirt without hose unless it was really informal. Even when I graduated from college (1999) bare legs in the office wasn’t really “done,” at least where I lived. But since I moved down to DC, I really can’t bear to wear them in the summer, unless I’m going to the Hill or something.
Nope, not the only one. My shoes feel better, and I feel more confident generally. Also, most of my skirts/dresses fall more smoothly, in my view. Agree 100% on keeping my shirts/blouses tucked in as well. Fortunately, my DC office is a fridge in the summer (seriously, they keep it colder in summer than in winter), so I can wear hose year ’round.
+1 – I love pantyhose so much. They are comfortable, flattering, and look polished. Plus they are an extra layer of warmth. I have very pale skin and order from Marks & Spencers which makes hose pale enough for me (and they last forever).
Me too! Just discovered Talbot’s pantyhose. Best ever!
Have you ever gotten clothing from Marks & Spencer?
I wear panty hose to make my shoes more comfortable.
I wear hose all summer and I’m a twenty something. They’re warmer than bare legs in office AC, and they keep my shoes from giving me bad blisters. I wear tights either navy or black to match my suit or dress in the winter. When I wear pants I wear hose with runs in them underneath since that keeps me looking smooth.
Way too many women think there legs actually look good, but they really look bad. This is most often the case because they lack any color and are very white. Really white legs are about the most un-attractive thing on the planet.
I wear hose either when interviewing in a suit, or when it’s cold and another color wouldn’t go with the dress (i.e. cocktail dress). For example, I wore a winter white sheath dress with very sheer hose at a holiday party this year. No one believed I was wearing hose! =
I used to think that pantyhose just looked more formal and thus, we should wear them for work or at least for court. Everyone has to cover their legs, nothing sexist in that, right? And then I heard someone say (female in manager position to subordinate position) “if I can’t tell whether you are wearing pantyhose or not than I don’t care if you skip them.” Sounds nice. Instead, what I heard was “if your legs look perfect than you don’t need hose.” Then I started thinking it wasn’t about just covering our legs (because really, what type of coverage does sheer hose provide?) and more about obtaining a certain perfection style look. Yes, said look is more formal. But, if it is more formal because you don’t show dry patches, freckles, veins, scabs, scars or anything else on real legs and instead try to fake your legs looking perfect than I no longer see it as a business requirement and more of a beauty requirement. Then I started hating hose. If someone wants to wear hose to make their legs look better, have at it. It shouldn’t be a requirement though.
Former Big Law
I wouldn’t let one misguided comment change your view on hose. Some men have very shapely ankles, to be sure. I still don’t want to see them in court though. I expect them to wear socks and I don’t mind adhering to the expectation that I wear hose.
I wear pantyhose because I cannot *!&^@!#^$!&@* stand to wear shoes without socks. I prefer skirts and dresses exponentially to pants, most of which don’t fit or don’t suit my shape.
So it’s skirts and pantyhose, since I can’t go barefoot (and would not want to!). Peds are completely useless–even when I use fashion tape to stick them to my heels, they slide down and even if they did not, they show and look sloppy. I very much look forward to the fall (and to spring months which stay cool!) so I can stretch the tights-wearing window.
You’re not alone with the shoes without socks. Unless it’s flip flops, I’ll have socks on.
I’ve got a lovely blue mess of spider veins (joys of being pregnant!) on one upper calf, but I still have bare legs in my business casual biglaw NY office. My legs look like I have natural skin and I don’t feel the need to hide my well-earned marks of age and pregnancy. That’s just what adult women look like.
The last time I read a thread on this topic, several people were recommending nude fishnet stockings as a more stylish alternative to nude hose. Curious, I ordered a pair of the recommended brand, but they look very fishnet, and I haven’t felt comfortable wearing them to work.
+1 me too
Sorry–accidentally hit “report comment” on anon 6:32 pm.
The nude hose you mention probably were micro fishnet, but I’m not sure since you didn’t mention it. I’ve tried wearing nude micro fishnet to work and still felt odd. But then I also just felt self-conscious because I feel like everyone else where I worked at the time was bare legged even when it was cold outside…
And always keep a backup pair of pantyhose in the office. You never know when you might need them.
I always wear nude or sheer hose whenever I wear a skirt or a dress. It also helps smooth out the pooch at the belly, and helps tuck a shirt in for when I wear with a skirt. They’re washable, and if you treat them right they will last you a while.
And I always wear hose to an interview. Sometimes even with suit pants – yes, hose with pants. Sometimes I wear tights with pants if it’s really cold.
Government litigator here. Personal preference is black or grey opaque hose almost always, which defies Kat’s rules. But for personal and semi-religious reasons, I rarely bare my legs. The opaque hose option has always looked more professional and pulled together than any other option (longer than knee-length skirt suit, pant suit e.g.). Of course, it helps that I live in the Midwest where a snow storm is totally normal even in May. Anyone else feel the need to keep their legs under wraps?
There is no such thing as “opaque hose”. Are you talking about tights?
I prefer to wear hose…but does anyone else have this problem–?
I get shoe polish on my hose :-(
I’ve had black and brown shoes leave a colored rim on my hose on warmer days. I hate it, but I can very rarely do bare feet inside closed shoes. They’re just too irritating.
I’ve had black and brown shoes leave a colored rim on my hose on warmer days. I hate it, but I can very rarely do bare feet inside closed shoes. They’re just too irritating.
I bought a pair of black hose from walmart yesterday, some weird brand, as my Wolfords had a run in them.
Oh my god they sagged and look terrible.
What brands, what denier, under what circumstances?
I like Hanes silk reflections! They come in a wide range of skin tones and are great looking for how inexpensive they are.
In all honesty, this is why I wear pants. Nylons are a bit of a nuisance but look better on me, but then I start worrying about all the people who say that they are so dated, indicate that you don’t fit in with the office culture, etc.
I have very dark hair and very pale skin and there’s just no way to manage waxing or shaving perfectly – there’s always days (or hours! very dark hair, end of the day!) when my legs can’t be smooth. And I don’t really care – I don’t mind leg hair on me or on others – but it certainly doesn’t look good with a skirted suit, absent some fairly serious nylons.
Thus pants all the time – and finding summery yet work appropriate pants is the trickiest wardrobe issue for me.
At 17, I’m probably the youngest respondant here. I agree with this guide. When I interviewed for my current job, I wore a skirt suit, nude sheer pantyhose and pumps. Got the offer the following day. Soon after I started work, I learned that pantyhose are required with skirts and dresses so glad I wore them to the interview. My job is at a high-end spa retreat and the attire is formal. It makes a difference as to how you come across when you wear hose and it’s much more polished and professional. I know this at 17. Sadly, so many women just don’t see the importance of looking pulled together. Everybody seems to want to go into work looking like they just rolled out of bed and make a myriad of excuses for not looking professional. For hose, the excuses are endless – the heat, too expensive, getting runs, using the bathroom, out of fashion, looking like an old lady. Heat is no excuse. I wear hose to work even in summer and I live in Texas so 100 degree days are not uncommon. These are just excuses for being lazy and not caring and only wanting convenient beauty. These women are the same types who won’t wear makeup or nail polish. Strangely, most of these women who hate on pantyhose can always seem to justify wearing tights.
You are so right Michelle! I’m slightly older than you at 23, but I feel the same way. Those that are too lazy to wear hose will offer any excuses not to wear them, including but not limited to the reasons you cited above. I certainly take other women more seriously when wearing hose with a skirt suit or appropriate dress, and I believe it simply looks better. Hopefully Kate Middleton will help eliminate some of the taboo surrounding wearing hose.
Yes Michelle and Ashleigh! Why is it fashoinable for women and men to be lazy these days. Because they WANT to? That never flew in my day. Pantyhose finish off the look and if you get some that fit correctly and feel good on, they are empowering because males love them. My pick for a budget everyday brand is Legg’s Sheer Energy. They fit perfect, feel good on, look good with my heels, and have the right amount of shine to turn heads. Screw what these fashionistas think! Be you, not what someone else thinks you should be! Especially some idiot fashion critic. I’m not much of a nude shade girl, I like suntan, taupe, off black, and black. I know nude is the deal these days but I like and seem to get more compliments wearing the mentioned shades. I hear people say, oh don’t wear suntan those are so granny pantyhose. HELLO, Hooters is Hooters because their girls wear suntan pantyhose, NFL Cheerleaders wear suntan pantyhose, so don’t give me that crap. Do you want to blend or do you want to stand out? I prefer to stand out and be classy doing it. Ordering them from the Leggs website 6 at a time saves me lots of money. So do what empowers you and don’t hate something just because someone else does. Rise above and know that pantyhose will turn more heads in a room than blah bare legs everytime. Be well ladies :)
I used to always wear Sheer Energy before I switched over to the ultrasheer styles. These were money-savers because they are so durable. They have just enough sheen so people do notice I am wearing pantyhose. When my job required that I stand most of the day, these have light support properties to liven up my legs. I switched to the ultrasheer styles because I believe they keep me a little cooler in the region where I live. But I do agree that Sheer Energy was great for me, and it did turn heads my way. Yes, Nki, it made me feel so empowered as a woman.
Wow, it’s refreshing to read your opinion which I agree with completely. I am older middle-aged and work as a social worker in a hospital outpatient clinic. It is shocking to me how many of my female colleagues come to work in tight strappy tops, bare legs, yoga pants, flip flops and stiletto heels. While all except the stiletto heels (interesting!) violate our dress code, nothing is enforced. Occassionally, stiletto girl gets sent home to change her innapropriate outfit. Since I was 14, I was aware of different dress for different settings. Dressed up for church differently than for school. After school,we changed into play clothes. And as an adult, would never wear my club outfit (leopard mini skirt) to work! All this has changed, and I wonder if this contributes to this lack of awareness about appropriate workplace attire.
With your spelling and “eloquence” the only profession that you could possibly have is trolling.
Whats up with the FOOEY
I haven’t hear that since I was a girl guide! Troll troll troll
Thanks, glad someone said it! It’s not possible anyone with such atrocious grammar has a job that would require dressing up in anything but a clown suit! Ellen, your hot dog cart is ready, and you don’t have to wear pantyhose, cuz why would you want to LOOK like a woman? Prude!
Wowie,stop picking on people. And actually contribute something.
I, myself appreciated the article.
You do realize, Maxi, that they are referring not to the article, but to the comment by “Ellen,” which exhibits dreadful spelling and grammar and refers to some soap opera-like story about hook-ups, and is clearly the work of a troll.
Hello everyone. I work in a professional office and most of my female coworker do not wear pantyhose. I, on the other hand, wear pantyhose daily with my skirt and pant outfits. I am so used to wearing pantyhose that it is now routine that I put them on in the morning. My clothes and shoes just slip on so much easier. I usually wear Hanes or Berkshire ultra sheers because they are the lightweight, very sheer, and keeps my cool. I’ve learned to be very careful to prevent snags and runs. I think they add to my overall feminine appearance. The other thing I learned to live with is the swishing sounds when walking with these types of sheer hose. But I’m used to that too.
Couldn’t agree more. Hose just polish the look off.
I always find it amazing that women never seem to realize how most men love to see women in pantyhose. They are a quintessentially feminine item of attire, and make a woman’s legs look sleek, smooth, and consistently colored. Ask a man whether he prefers bare or nylonned legs, and see what he says.
Well, I do wear Pantyhose all of the Time for work. Yes, when it is Very Cold, I will wear Tights also – I know, In England they call Pantyhose Tights. I mean the Heavy Weight Pantyhose here. Usually, I will wear Beige, Nude, Smoke, or Sheer White, but have also worn Sheer Black, especially on a Friday. I also have been Known to wear Christmas Themed Pantyhose, or other Themed on Special Occasions.
Hey Stephanie- I live in a warmer non-humid part of the USA so I don’t own any of the thicker tights. All of my pantyhose is the very sheer (around 15 denier) type. If the weather does turn colder, I may double-up by wearing a pair of ultrasheers over another. Seems odd that I don’t just buy a few pairs of tights, but this works for me. It doesn’t look bad or feel strange that I have two pairs on as long as they’re the same shade.
I noticed that women in England wear pantyhose, not just to work. Is it the weather, culture or fashion that differs? I’ve replied here once already, and I do wear pantyhose even outside of working hours. I am an older woman and when my mother introduced me to proper attire for teen girls back in the 60s, the habit just stuck. Back then, we had a choice of stockings or pantyhose. I wore a girdle ( with stockings, but sometimes with pantyhose when they sag. I don’t usually wear girdles anymore because I buy the control top. Only on certain occasions I wear a girdle or Spanx over pantyhose.
I am a 41 year old woman. I wear pantyhose 10 months out of the year.I don’t wear them in July and August when I am going to the beach twice a week and my life is overrun by sand and I am nice and tan. September thru June I wear them everyday with dresses and heels even on a Saturday just going to the grocery store. I am most comfortable this way. I don’t own any jeans and I only own 2 pairs of pants which I have not worn in over two years. I have two long warm winter coats for when its freezing out. Woman today like to wear the northface, jeans and uggs uniform and its not an attractive look. Ladies put the ipads down, go to bed a little earlier so you can get up earlier and spend a little “you” time to do your hair, make up, dress nice and put those pantyhose on. People will look at you differently, treat you differently and believe me, I know, its empowering !
Don’t wear them if you don’t want to… but it can be really gross actually sometimes. I mean some seriously ugly legs that look like the plague is back. Don’t know what else to say… just gross frankly.
I’m a law student in mock trial. I have blue and purple legs ( the whole leg) due to a vascular disease and horrid disfiguring varicose veins. Are there any stockings and that would be good for court ( most of our courts require skirts) ? I’ve tried makeup and bare legs spray Etc. It doesn’t work. Thoughts?
Try Dermablend makeup. It’s made to cover things like you mentioned.
I don’t care to wear pantyhose, tights,etc on my legs and I live in DC area. In winter I usually try to wear tall boots with skirts and dresses to keep warm, but I have debated wearing hose with skirts that don’t look appropriate for boots. My problem is that wearing pantyhose and heels causes my feet to slip in my shoes and I fall, sometimes twisting my ankles. I much prefer to wear heels without hose, as I can walk sturdier with our slipping. Also, I don’t work in a formal office, wear I could get by wearing jeans most days, though I feel my level in the company and being only a few women, it is better to dress a little more formal.
Lastly, my legs are pale year round and with freckles. I don’t particularly care for the look in hose as I think then my legs looks awkward and my arms are all pale and freckly on their own. I am completely happy with the way my legs look without hose and think there is personally something sexy about not wearing them.
Hello! I’ve been researching this issue due to the now longstanding trend in businesses toward a more casual appearance. As a male and as somebody who is responsible for setting workplace standards in our corporation, and as someone who has enforced the hosiery requirement for a long time, I’ve run across objections similar to what I find here.
By far and away, the most common complaint I hear about hosiery is how hot and uncomfortable they are, especially in the summer. In a corporate environment where air conditioning is as common as a telephone, and with most automobiles having the same, please help me understand this complaint. Moreover, if “pantyhose” are that hot, what’s the problem with wearing knee-highs or dress socks with slacks or thigh-highs when wearing shorter skirts? I wear knee-high socks, wool pants, a dress shirt and a necktie every day, regardless the weather. I only get hot when I spend a lot of time outside. I’m not hot in the car or in the office, so that complaint rather befuddles me.
Given the wacky fashion trends I’ve seen over the years, “comfort” doesn’t seem very credible to me. When guys and gals wear heavy “gangsta” coats or hoodies in the summer, when guys are still wearing slouch pants below their waists, and when girls are wearing super high heels (how’s that for comfort?) when they think it’s in style, the discomfort complaint strikes me as rather odd. My feeling is it has more to do with what’s fashionable over what’s comfortable. I’ve seen girls in freezing weather go bare-legged and complain how cold it is! How’s that for comfort?!
If it’s really a matter of comfort, then I’d say that employees represent their company, and their desire to wear their beach clothes should be subordinate to the success of their company. The overwhelming number of opinions I’ve heard or read (here and elsewhere) affirm that hosiery looks better (most of those who are loath to wear them acknowledge they make the leg look better), especially in a business environment. When setting corporate policy, we have to have a consistent standard across the board. Many women’s legs simply do not look good under florescent lighting or their legs have unsightly blotches, uneven skin tone or other features that detract from the professional image we want to present. If I want to be comfortable, I’ll take my tie off at home and change my clothes. When I’m on the job, I’m there to maximize the professional image of my company.
The many complaints about hosiery that I’ve read/heard while researching this gives me no inclination to change our policy. I would no sooner relax that standard than I would relax the requirement that men wear socks with their suits, regardless the temperature outside.
First off, I thrive on pantyhose. My legs feel awkwardly naked without it, and I make sure I’m always wearing it if in a skirt suit (though who cares when wearing pants).
But I’ll say this for the heat issue — seeing as how you’ve never actually had to wear pantyhose yourself.
Socks are made out of cotton. Hosiery is not (at least I don’t think it has been in decades).
I’ll say this one more time. Socks are made out of cotton. Hosiery is not.
As a result, hosiery doesn’t breathe. And that makes hosiery EXTREMELY uncomfortable if you need to spend even a moderate amount of time (like, say, the amount of time it takes you to walk from the Metro station to the office, or stand around on a platform waiting for a train) outside in summer–especially a hot, humid, DC summer. It’s not comfortable in the slightest.
I don’t disagree that hosiery is more professional, or that I personally find it to be more flattering on me. But I DO agree that there are at least some times of year in which I hate wearing it (and therefore wear slacks or pant suits instead). And comfort is subjective anyway, so please, don’t denigrate the feelings universally of people about issues that you will never experience.
Hi, babylawyer. Dress slacks are perfectly acceptable in a corporate/business environment, and our company allows dress socks with the same. There are also non-nylon knee-high socks or thigh-highs that women can wear with their skirts/dresses. One doesn’t have to wear nylon in extremely hot weather. So, regardless the weather, there are reasonable alternatives to going bare-legged.
As to denigrating the feelings of others, given the reasonable alternatives, I do not hesitate to question the motives of those who default to bare legs. The fact that it coincides with the current fashion trend, and the fact that there are all kinds of uncomfortable clothes/shoes that people wear simply because they’re fashionable renders the appeal to comfort suspect. Comfort is subordinate to professionalism, and that’s the ultimate point I am making. I’m also glad that we can agree that hosiery is more professional.
Although you are correct that as a man, I cannot relate to the discomfort of nylons, I can say that my wife is very professional and always wears hose in a professional setting, regardless the weather. She tells me that nylons are very uncomfortable in very hot weather (other women have said the same in the course of my research), but that doesn’t change how she dresses.
For me, I think it’s sad to walk into a bank and see employees look like they’re at a backyard barbecue. I’m tired of seeing scruffy, messy, casual clothing in an office setting. And I’m very glad our company has resisted that trend.
Bill one thing. It’s expensive. I rip a pair of hose on the second or third wear. And at ten dollars a pop, if I word them to work, it would cost me $50 a month! Also your comment about portraying how well a women’s legs look without them is a bit sexist! Nothing looks worse than a hairy guy without an undershirt under his dress shirt, so I hope you hold the same standard there! As I expect the men get really hot with all those layers
If you’re paying $10 per pair, you deserve to go broke. My God, you can get a box of 4 at Walmart for $5.87. Leggs. Not to quality but rip away, that works out to be $1.17/day. Your choice, but I TOTALLY agree with Bill, though a woman shouldn’t be FORCED to dress like one! Women should dress like women, stop trying to dress like men. Bare legs, no matter how perfect, are disgusting!
Thanks for your reply. First, as I said, I’ve researched this issue on behalf of my company. Women have told me, including my wife, that nylons are not expensive at all (depending on where you buy them). My wife buys nylons at Walmart, and she says she’s very impressed with how long they last (other women have said the same thing). Sure, you can buy very expensive nylons that won’t last beyond two wearings, buy why do that? Second, my remark about appearance has nothing to do with sex because we have exacting standards for men too. My comment on appearance deals with uneven skin tone, varicose veins, etc. You cannot run a large operation and tell some women that their legs look unprofessional without nylons while exempting others. Again, even people loath to wear them admit that they look nice, and that’s the point behind a company being concerned with its image to the public.
What my research has shown is that the prevailing fashion is to go without hose and to be more casual. A requirement to dress more formal makes many people feel out of place, so they petition corporate managers to “get with the times” and get rid of “dated” expectations. The motive is convenience and fashion. A company’s motive is be professional. Whatever people wear on their private time is their business. In the workplace, its the company that matters.
I just hope for your sake that if you write the corporate policy because I don’t want to see your varicose veins you don’t get fired. Maybe you require women with uneven skin tone on their face to wear foundation, etc. Your comments on appearance are appalling. You can think it, but it isn’t nice to STATE it!
I really wish that if you’re going to reply to my messages, you would at least address my arguments instead of trying to insult me or attack my consistency. I’ve already said that we have very exacting standards for men. My veins won’t be showing because we don’t allow men to wear shorts. Women may wear slacks too, so what’s your problem? Men wear slacks with dress socks. Women may wear the same or may wear knee-highs.
I have a right to my opinion like anybody else, and that includes what I think is unsightly in an office setting. In fact, many of the complaints I’ve heard about women’s legs have come from women! We show up to work to look professional. Again, it’s not about your personal comfort; it’s about the success of your company.
Okay that is fine – I just have different ideas on what makes a company successful and that is not whether or not a person’s varicose veins are in view. I honestly, don’t think panty hose or not has any bearing on the success of a company. But who knows, maybe I could be wrong!
Nobody has said that appearance is the only thing that makes an operation successful. It’s just one component of professionalism.
I’m a woman and I think we have more leeway on dressing than men. Men must wear those suffocating near ties over their buttoned up shirts. In hot weather that would be awful, but they do it. We have such latitude in the styles of clothing that we should be comfortable in most weather conditions and still look professional. I wear pantyhose daily and I don’t have a problem with that. If men must wear neckties, then women can wear pantyhose. Mine don’t cost $10 each. I wear the ultrasheer style, but they last a long time because I learned to be careful with them. I spend approx $20/month. If I get a minor run, then I wear them with my pantsuits. I look professional and I don’t complain. I believe guys have it tougher with their very limited choices.
Hi, Cindy. I think you raise some interesting points. In some companies, men aren’t allowed to wear earrings, eyebrow rings or tongue jewelry whereas women are allowed to wear them all (more or less, depending on the company). Women may show their legs (with hose) but men cannot show any part of their legs. Women may wear open-toed dress shoes whereas all men must wear closed dress shoes.
I remain convinced based on my studies and others I’ve read that the bottom line with hosiery is fashion. If nylons ever become as popular as they were in decades past, and if some companies prohibited their women from wearing hose, the women in those companies would complain long and loud about it. They would petition their managers to get with the times and to jettison dated attitudes about hose. In other words, the exact opposite of what we see today would occur. Today, women who are required to wear hose resent the fact that it’s out of fashion and they don’t want to look out of step or out of fashion with society. Feeling out of place affects self-esteem which of course fuels their resentment. Personal comfort is merely an excuse to cover the real reason— they’re uncomfortable arguing that they merely want to be fashionable.
At bottom, the better, uniform, professional look that hosiery provides is more than sufficient to deflect complaints about comfort or cost. If fashion trends indicate anything, comfort or cost take a back seat to peer approval. Right now women are throwing down lots of money to buy faded jeans with holes up and down the front of the pant legs. How in the name of sanity can that make any sense? In the corporate environment, appearance is a necessary component of professionalism, and it is selfish to throw that out in the name of personal convenience. Since hosiery provides a more professional appearance, we refuse to get on the beach party bandwagon, and we’ll continue our success in the marketplace.
I’m a partner in a BigLaw firm in Chicago, and I do a lot of interviewing and recruiting. I’ve been at other firms as well. My view: sheer black or nude hose are safe bets for interviewing and court appearances. No hose is probably OK with most interviewers in Chicago but could be a risk with very senior people, so I would avoid this for interviews. I would not recommend tights for interviews or court appearances.
For everyday, I would look around and see what successful people are wearing who are senior to you. If most of the men wear dark suits, white shirts, and ties, you are in a formal environment and will not do yourself any favors by being casual. If the successful women at the firm tend to wear pantyhose, you are safest following suit.
Once you have been hired and have established yourself as a superstar, you can decide whether to try to change the office trends.
A formal suit (dark suit, silk blouse, and pearls) looks wrong with bare legs any time of year. Bare legs also look (my view) a little silly when there’s snow on the ground or it’s really cold. A cute casual suit in twill or a fun color can look great with bare legs.
I don’t understand people’s antipathy to hose except when it’s really, really hot. Pumps are much more comfortable with hose than without. And I know women who think a thong is a more comfortable way to avoid panty lines than hose — this proves that anyone can get used to anything!
I work for a woman and she requires pantyhose be worn everyday. She believes that it helps keep a professional setting at all times and to remind me that she is in charge. It pays well and I generally enjoy what I do, so it’s not that big of a deal, except for the fact that I’m a guy, but whatever.
My husband and I had a fight today because I was wearing a dress that hit just above the knee and wasn’t going to wear hose. He said it was inappropriate and asked me if I was interested in someone at work. Can’t a 50 YO make her own decisions about what is appropriate and not?? I work in a small software start up with less than 15 people who mostly dress in khakis and other casual clothes. I am the most professionally dressed individual there. How absurd that I should have to listen to my husband regarding this issue. FYI, I wore something else rather than give in to his ridiculous notion. I will wear the dress when he is out of town!!!
I think it is inappropriate for you to bring your private family squabble online. That should remain between you and your husband. If you have an opinion on the subject, it should be sufficient that you simply state it without trying to besmirch your husband to others.
Your company appears to have a very lax dress code. I think that’s sad, and regardless where management ultimately stands on hosiery (obviously nowhere), professional, office operations should be professional in appearance.
The problem is defining “professional”. It obviously varies from region to region and field to field. I hire lawyers. I wouldn’t disqualify a female interviewee for wearing pantyhose, but she would strike me as less familiar with professional norms in my region than a bare-legged one (if I even noticed).
All of this discussion makes me insanely grateful to live and work in Los Angeles…where very few people or corporations give a damn about whether or not women wear pantyhose.
OKAY LADIES,AT THE THE RISK OF BEING SEXIST,I THINK WOMEN ARE SEXY IN NYLONS.HOWEVER,I ALSO THINK THEY ARE DRESSY AND MAKE LADIES LOOK INCREDIBLY SMART AND WELL PRESENTED.I DON’T GET THE TREND FOR BARE LEGS,I MEAN A MAN IN AN EXPENSIVE SUIT WOULD LOOK STUPID WITH NO SOCKS ON.HERE IN ENGLAND IT IS FAR FROM TROPICAL EVEN IN SUMMER,YET SOME GIRLS HERE DISPOSE OF HOSE AT THE FIRST GLIMMER OF WEAK SPRING SUNSHINE.EVEN WORSE THAN BARE LEGS ARE TATTOOS;YUK!!
BARE LEGS ARE SCRUFFY,AND LACK SARTORIAL DISCRETION.
I love pantyhose and wear them most of the year but come on, a woman in August wearing pantyhose looks ridiculous, let’s be realistic about it.
At a farmer’s market in mid-August when it’s 102 degrees, yes, you have a point. In an air-conditioned business office that moves millions of dollars every year, you don’t have a point. As I said, the vast majority of offices and cars have air-conditioning, so that undercuts an appeal to the weather. What you wear on your private time is your business, but what you wear on company time is the company’s business. That’s “realistic.”