Wearing Thigh-High Stockings at Work

thigh high stockingsWhat if you like your legs covered when you wear skirts — or your office dress code doesn’t allow bare legs — but you don’t like wearing full pantyhose or tights? Are thigh-high stockings acceptable to wear to work? Are some more appropriate than others? Reader N wonders…

I was wondering if you might consider doing a post on thigh high pantyhose that are functional and work appropriate. I hate the feeling of full pantyhose, but can’t go without, so I want to try thigh highs but have no idea where to start. Thanks!

Great question! We’ve talked about how to care for pantyhose, whether you should wear them in the summer, how many workplaces still require them, the appropriateness of fishnets at the office, rounded up everyone’s favorite lingerie brands, but not this. (Blast from the past: this 20-year-old Chicago Tribune fashion Q-and-A actually recommends layering opaque tights under thigh-highs.)  I’m going to apologize in advance for the sure-to-be-interesting AdSense ads that will follow us all around the interwebs, but I do think this is an important and legitimate question for working women — I’ve had a number of friends who preferred thigh-highs for hygiene, comfort, or other reasons, and there’s no reason they should be stigmatized.

The good news: it seems like there’s a HUGE variety to choose from out right now, in part (perhaps) because over-the-knee boots are so popular. Thus, we’re seeing a ton of “over the knee” socks and tights. Some of the bestsellers that I’m seeing:

Ladies, let’s hear from you — what are your thoughts on thigh high stockings at work? Which are your favorite brands?


N.B. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course we highly value all comments by our readers, we’re going to ask you to please keep your comments on topic; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. Thank you for your understanding!


  1. How could thigh-highs not be work-appropriate? No one should know how high they are, or whether they are hose/tights, unless they’re worn with a skirt that doesn’t cover the thighs. And if it’s cool to wear a skirt that short to your workplace, it’s hard to imagine the hosiery being an issue!

    Also, is anyone else thinking of the Clueless outfits?

    • Co-sign all of this. If it is obvious you are wearing thigh-highs (with or without a garter belt), then your skirt is either so short or so tight that either (1) you work in an establishment that condones visible undergarments OR (2) your problem is the skirt, not your choice of stockings.

    • +1, was just about to say this!

    • Squiggles :

      Agreed… but what I have noticed is that some women do not take into account the slit up the rear in pencil skirts. Remember the thigh highs need to be above the top of the slit.

      Sidenote: I actually quit wearing them because no matter how new they were, one always ended up sliding down the leg by the end of the day. That and the whole pantyhose thing was no longer an issue in my office.

      • And the chub rub — even with only having to toss one leg if it got a run in it, the cub rub was unbearable (and made worse since the elastic muffin-topped my thighs).

        NOT for DC summers.

      • Anonymous :

        All I can think about is the scene in Mrs. Doubtfire when he gets on the bus and notices the driver staring at his legs, because his thigh highs had come down and were showing his hairy legs.

  2. As a note: thigh highs are awesome when you’re pregnant! I don’t wear pantyhose, but I lived in my opaque black thigh high tights during my pregnant winter.

    • Oh my gosh, thank you! I have a few holiday parties that I wanted to wear hose to, and didn’t want to shell out for pregnancy hose that I will wear maybe 3 times since I rarely wear dresses or skirts. Thigh highs did not occur to me at all.

  3. I have the Commando thigh-highs and they are surprisingly long. I tried to wear them like the model, but the circumference was too big and they gaped, so I had to pull the allll the way up. They were the weirdest fitting thigh highs, but they would work nicely if you want them to look like tights or if you have thighs that are larger than what most sizing accounts for.

    • Anonymous :

      Okay, that’s a ringing endorsement as far as I’m concerned. I am tall and have fat thighs. I may have to try these.

  4. I love thigh highs but you do have to be careful of the slit in the back of some skirts. It’s good that skirts are getting longer! I have no problem with them staying up. I hate the constricting feeling of pantyhose.

  5. Can you wear thigh highs without a garter belt (is that what it’s called?)? The one time I attempted it, I had an entire thigh high rolled down to my ankle before I made it the 2 blocks from the subway to my office. I had to pull over and take it off on the street. Embarrassing. I do carry the bulk of my weight in the thigh region so maybe it was a fit issue.

    I love the idea of them, and second what was said above–no one should know you’re wearing thigh highs instead of hose, so can’t see a problem with them.

    • I have the same question as Nikki – never worn them because I’d be afraid they’d roll down to my ankles while I was walking into a meeting or getting on my bus. Wardrobe Malfunction = completely embarrassing. Reminds me a of a former boss who was wearing a wrap-skirt while traveling in Morocco: Said wrap skirt fell to the ground, exposing her and her th0ng to the passers-by. Oh, my.

    • Joan Holloway :

      I have a pair of the Wolford Fatal 80 Denier Holdups, and they’re great. Totally secure. I like thigh highs because I hate the falling crotch I get in regular tights (I can never figure out what size to buy in different brands; however, I’ve lost 50 pounds–now 5’3″ & 135 lbs–and my size M Wolfords now wrinkle around my ankles although they’re still completely secure around my thighs).

    • My advice would be the size that you wear. Always checked the height and weight of the package when you buy thigh highs . If all else, wear them with a garter belt.

  6. Kensington :

    I hate all waistbands, including those on tights and pantyhose, but I have issues keeping thigh highs up. They always slide!

  7. Kensington :

    Also, “is it professional” is to this site what “is it legal” is to Ask a Manager. The answer is usually yes, but he whether or not it is common or beneficial is another question.

    • +1 Million.

      Also, “except in California” often applies to both (b/c of CA’s employee friendly litigation & more laidback attire expectations!)

  8. Garter Belts :

    So assuming your thigh highs don’t stay up by themselves, no matter how much elastic they have (mostly my fault, but those donuts were delicious), does anyone have a favorite resource for garter belts? I bought the industrial belt from Sock Dreams, but I’m not a huge fan of it.

    Sheer stockings will stay up with most of the flimsy belts sold at fancy underpinnings stores, but I haven’t found a good, non-ugly belt to keep up thick socks and stockings. (The industrial belt from Sock Dreams is very… erm… utilitarian-looking.)

    That said, shout out to Sock Dreams for weekend thigh-high socks and super sexy nylons!

    • Anonymous :

      Can I ask why you aren’t a huge fan of the industrial belt from Sock Dreams? I’ve been thinking about getting it — do you dislike it for aesthetic reasons, or is it uncomfortable/impractical/shows under clothes/bad in some other way? The “industrial” thing appealed to me because it seems like it won’t undo in the middle of the day like some other flimsy plastic garter belts.

      • Garter Belts :

        It’s just not pretty.

        I was attracted to it for the same reason, utility, but it completely ruins the sexy effect garter belts and thigh highs should have when undressing for bed. It does also cut into the squishy bits unattractively since it’s so narrow.

        After a quick “duh” moment, I remembered the Lingerie Addict, and found this post: http://www.thelingerieaddict.com/2012/02/ask-the-addict-where-can-i-find-a-good-garter-belt.html

    • Try Stockinggirl.com – they have a wide range of both garter and thigh-high stockings along with garter belts and other lingerie.

  9. Transparenze are my go-to. I found them in a boutique in Amsterdam (I gather they are an Italian brand), and fell in love. They stay up, and look great. Some of their designs are a little more suited to the bedroom or the weekend, but they have some conservative designs that wear well, stay up perfectly, wash up nicely, and look great for the office. They have a “sticky” band on the inside of the stocking to keep it up–and I find it works great and keeps it shape.

  10. I wear them because most in regular hosiery the waistband is too high rise on me coming up past my skirt’s waist band. I just buy the Hanes type ones from department and drug stores, and I wear them probably about a dozen times each before I toss. I’ve never had an issue with them slipping down except once when I had a pretty old one I should have retired. The drug store ones generally have the “sticky band” to keep it up. But yes if I’m sitting down in them there is a bit of an unattractive muffin top factor which bothers me but luckily no one else can see it.

  11. I wear a lot of thigh high socks under my pants in the winter, and I swear by roll on sock adhesive. I’d assume it’d work for thigh high stockings, too. No danger of rolling down! I got mine from Sock Dreams.

  12. Avid thigh-high stocking wearer here. The trick to not having the roll or slide down is to not ever moisturize your thighs before putting them on. No lotion after your morning shower, on your thighs. That’s usually enough.
    If they don’t stick properly, it’s usually because they’re too old, or the silicone is dulled by (TMI warning) skin cells. Easily remedied, just dip a finger in water and run it along the silicone.

  13. A Canadian long time reader :

    Dim Up Sublim Tights are excellent. Many shades, a lot of re-wear, don’t rip easily and stay up all day and all night long.

  14. lawyerdoll :

    What about wearing either knee-length Spanx or cheap knee-length leggings, then tucking the tops of the thigh-highs under then leg hem?

  15. Believe it or not I found a great garterbelt at shopnational.com. “Venus powernet” it’s very comfortable and smooth enough to be nearly invisible. The stretch lace supports well for a femininely styled garter.

  16. Christine Madeley :

    I always wear vintage tan micromesh copper tan nylons and 10D stockings in Summer and 15/20D Bamboo(flesh) tights in Autumn/Winter with a nice below knee skirt. As an older 50+ woman it is part of being feminine in my book. Christine UK

  17. If all else wear a garter belt.

  18. I had lovely lace-topped thigh-highs that I wore to a conference. One lost its sticking power and slid down my leg. I walked around clutching at it through my skirt and taking baby steps until I could get to the bathroom and take it off.

  19. I love thigh hi stockings and have become addicted to Levante brand specifically Velatissima style that have reinforced toes for longer wear and have a great array of colors that are sexy sheer. Problem is I live in USA and have trouble finding them. I buy on line from Zodee and used to buy from Trixan body but they won’t ship yo us anymore.
    Any ideas girls?