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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The death of the pantyhose industry

I'm not sure when or why I first noticed it, but women don't wear pantyhose anymore. None of the women at work do, and my female friends and relatives have all quit wearing them.

Now Michelle Obama has delivered the coup de grace - appearing with Barbara Walters on The View today (as reported by Ann Althouse) , she revealed that she never wears pantyhose:
Barbara raises the hot topic of pantyhose. They say not wearing pantyhose makes you look young, so she (Barbara) went without pantyhose to some event and someone yelled "No pantyhose!" Funny, especially since Barbara Walters is nearly 80. But the point here is: Michelle Obama is not wearing pantyhose. Michelle says: "I stopped wearing pantyhose a long time ago because it was painful."

When JFK appeared at his inauguration without wearing a hat, the men's haberdashery business collapsed overnight. Michelle Obama has now made it official: wearing pantyhose is un-hip. If you've got money invested in the pantyhose industry, sell immediately.

I'm kind of curious about the end of this tradition. I'd appreciate input from any female readers: When did this happen? Is there any occasion where pantyhose are still worn? Is it a generational thing?

UPDATE: It's official: stylish women don't wear pantyhose anymore. Kristi Gustafson at the Albany NY Times-Union issues the verdict:
Above all else, do not wear pantyhose. I repeat, Do.Not.Wear.Pantyhose. Sometimes we have to be uncomfortable so as not to scare the fashion gods. This is one of those times.

Nude nylons (as my grandmother would call them) are never appropriate (although tights are quite trendy, but not applicable with a cocktail dress). Even first lady-elect Michelle Obama passes on the hose. Translucent stockings are acceptable only for older women who need support hose for medical reasons. Since I imagine you are not suffering from water retention or swelling, you should bypass the leg condoms. (Notice how celebs have become our fashion inspiration, and they never wear hose.)


Eowyn said...

Eric, you've hit on a very quiet phenomenon I myself have been aware of for some time (and intend to blog about too, thanks to you, whom I intend to link!)

I started noticing the trend in the mid-1990s. The "Dallas"-style fancy clothes and big hair faded -- but instead of new dresses and skirts taking their place, jeans and pants did, more and more.

Confession: Though I wasn't a tomboy as a kid, I HATED dresses. All through my 20's (I'm in my 40's now) I still didn't like wearing dresses and skirts, but I HATED pantyhose. The feeling is something akin to a blood-pressure cuff if they're "support" hose, and those meshy onion bags if they're not.

Dresses, skirts and pantyhose are going the way of the dinosaur, I think. Jeans, khakis and other comfortable pants are much nicer. Now, many of my guy friends lament the decline of dresses, etc. -- and I do try, halfheartedly, sometimes to accommodate them and put on a dress. But it just feels icky, so I don't do it too often.

Weddings, funerals, the occasional christening -- I'll don traditional attire for these. But watch how fast that stuff is shed as soon as I get home!

Jack said...

You have me laughing. Bookmarked and I'll read it again in the AM.

If I still laugh, you're up tomorrow.

George WB said...

I stopped wearing pantyhose two years ago. They don't look good on me whenever I wear, I mean sandals. Sandals with pantyhose don't go well together.

hunter said...

Panty hose are impossible to get on, they do not breathe, and if you have stubble on your legs, it makes it stick up through the hose (Yuck).

That being said, they are warm in the winter.

Gini said...

Sad, very sad! I hated pantyhose when they first came out, but I went "over to the dark side" years ago!!!
That said, I never buy the US brands anymore ... give me my Pretty Polly and my Aristoc and I'm a happy girl!

Gladys said...

I'm 44 now. I decided to quit wearing pantyhose/stockings about 10 years back, and have never worn a pair anymore since then except a couple times on very special occasions. I wear slacks and socks in winter, and go bare-legged in summer, and I'm happy with that. Like many other ladies I know. I, too, believe pantyhose is doomed by now, and - in my humble opinion - good riddance!

rosabell said...

I am 37 , from Europe. i DO wear pantyhose because of the following :
- it looks great - the shape of the leg changes ,making it look longer and slicker,especially with high heels elegant shoes
-there is no other way a woman could wear a suit ( blouse with long sleev, jacket and skirt )
- how could I go to office in winter and spring and autumn ? We ahve here 4 seasons, covering from - 15 degrees in winetr to + 35 in summer, so, no matter if we hav air conditioning and so on, no sane person could walk around in bare legs...
- wearing koses has nothing to do with shaving legs :)) First of all, only very poor women shave . A normal woman would wax every 3 weeks so she could have nice polished leggs all time. Shaving leggs - yuk, we are not men to shave.I never understand why american women say the shave so they don't need to wear hoses... It has nothing to do with it
'cause here in Europe we do not wear them to camouflage the hair ! What a strange ideea !
- even under trousers ( yes, and jeans also , if worn with an elegant high heealed boot) we would normally wear hoses.
-there is nothing painful about it. In fact, it is just a piece of garment on you.... it's like wearing high heals or putting on lipstick... or cleaning your face with a demaquillant every evening , or like wearing a bra... Are these painful ? How can a silk/ nylon hose be painful ? It's an object, it doesn't bite...

Anonymous said...

just because YOU don't wear them doesn't mean that the industry is on it's death bed.

The Fashion'ista sway back and forth between the bare leg and a hosed leg. Trust me there are MANY women that NEED to wear something on their legs. Don't think of them as clothing, think of them as makeup for your legs. IMO there is nothing more sexy than a nice pair of hosed legs in a peep-toe heel.

And if you are complaining about being too tight or can't get them on, then you are 1) buying WAY too small of hose or 2) buying very cheap hose (and still may be to small). When buying an article of clothing like hosiery you must admit what size you really are, not what you want to be and if you are between sizes you need to go up a size for the better and more comfortable fit.

canadianhoser613 said...

Just read your post and what you are saying about the death of the pantyhose industry is complete falsehood, and it is just made up by the fashionistas, fashion experts, and the media to brainwash women out there from wearing hose. They seem to pick up this so-called Sex and the City philosophy when it comes to wearing hose especially with open toe shoes.

They said that wearing hose with open toe shoes is a no-no, but that is another myth from those who do not like the look. I still think its still sexy for women to wear hose with open toe shoes, and if they want to show off their pedicure in hose, they should wear sheer hosiery.

Pantyhose (or sheer/opaque tights) is still worn by women around the world mainly in European, Asian, and South American countries, and here in Canada. I still see women young and old whether they are in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50+ wear nude hose to work, casual, or formal gatherings. They also wear opaques or sheer colored hose to enhance the look on their legs.

As for Ms. Obama, she did wear hose at her husband's presidential inauguration last year. If you google "Obama inauguration" under Google pics, you are going to see pictures of Ms. Obama wearing pantyhose. So she probably wears them at special occasions, not very often.

There are even celebrities wearing hose most notably Beyonce, Jessica Alba, Zooey Deschanel, Rihanna, the women of Gossip Girl, and Lady Gaga to name a few.

I am sick and tired of people saying that they are uncomfortable, they itch, and are made for grannies. These are just comments from those who wear the wrong size, style, and cheap brand of hose.

Bare legs can be sexy but only if they are smooth, tanned, and women have the legs to pull it off. However, not all women have the legs to pull it off if they are white, pasty, blotchy, veiny, present scars. I see women try to pull it off, but their legs look hideous as hell. They should treat pantyhose not as a article of clothing but as makeup for the legs, just like makeup for the face. Imagine, if a woman goes bare legged and their legs look bad, its like not wearing makeup for your face. (no lipstick, no mascara, no eyeliner, etc.)

If women want to wear hose, let them wear it. The so called fashion experts shouldn't discourage women out there from wearing hose. Wearing pantyhose shouldn't be a generational or peer pressure issue, it should be a matter of personal preference.

Anonymous said...

Dave says...

First of all, Michelle Obama is not the "poster woman for feminity". Ladies, take a look at any of the magazines that are on display at any checkout at your favorite store. Browse and see a model or Hollywood woman. They look rather attractive from the head down, then go from the knees down and it looks like they want to mud wrestle without changing clothes. From the knees down their legs look raunchy. Keep pantyhose in style and break this bare,boney leg trend. Like a vaccum cleaner, it sucks. Ruffley speaking.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that this blog against pantyhose is already outdated?

I have seen more pantyhose being worn in the past 4 years than anytime since the mid 80's.

I think Michele Obama is okay, though just because she said something, obviously half in jest (w/humor), it does not make an entire piece of clothing obsolete. And it is easy to see that she still does wear pantyhose.

I never stopped wearing pantyhose. Actually the only time that I am ever without them is if we have the most humid day of the year. We are fortunate to have such a luxury. If you don't want to wear them, don't, but if you are slightly undecided or confused about people nit-picking the pros & cons, then treat yourself to a luxury pair. You will pay a little more - but that is how it works.
- Jenna

Unknown said...

I love how American women, will push the "slob agenda"every time. European women will always be more stylish, more classy and sexier than North American women, by far. It only makes sense that American women are naturally adverse to wearing pantyhose, they all want to be men and to well attempting so. God bless women, too bad they don't live in North America.

Anonymous said...

A long time ago a teacher told us why we should wear socks inside leather shoes, to absorb sweat and prevent chafing. The interesting effect that the death of pantyhose has had on womens' footwear. When women wore stockings, they could wear closed toe leather shoes, pumps, heels, whatever without extra discomfort, but with bare feet in leather closed toe shoes, it does not work well. Thus year round, even in the cold climate where I live, bare feet in open toes, sandals, flip flops, etc have become the thing. Many women have beautiful feet, but when I rode an elevator with a 50 something business woman and had to see bent toes, bunion, and a mole sprouting hairs, I became concerned. Ladies, you can paint the toenails, but sometimes your shoes flatter your feet best when shoes are worn. And that means you need socks. Or hose. Or something. Barefoot women used to be a sign of sexist opression of the female sex, (eg "keep them barefoot and pregnant") but now it seems that all women are barefoot.
Pardon my rant.

Anonymous said...

What about sweating in your shoes or thighs sticking together.