Friday, 27 March 2015

Perplexed by Pantyhoses

So what do you think about pantyhose?


I ask this question because a funny thing happened at work yesterday. A little gal snuck up behind me, bend down and touch my leg and then ran off. I was perplexed by what could have caused this behaviour. But then realized that the only difference in my appearance was that I was wearing pantyhose with a skirt after a long winter of ski-pants, wool pants or fleece lined tights. The little gal was probably equally perplexed by this new look to my leg.

When I retold this story to one of my co-workers she exclaimed, "pantyhose are gross!"

Let's just say there is quite a big age gap between us. I happen to like wearing dresses and skirts. And yes, pantyhose too. I never would have considered them "gross" but her comment and what happened earlier in the day did make me think about the shrinking hosiery department in the retail landscape.  

Linda Przybyszewski in her book The Lost Art of Dress points out that in 1959 pantyhose came onto the fashion scene liberating women from wearing girdles to hold up stockings. But it took the rise of the hemlines in the 1960s for pantyhose to skyrocket as the preferred hosiery choice.

McCall's 7915: 1960's stockings pattern
{Source:  Etsy)
Przybyszewski states, "[b]y 1970, pantyhoses made up 70% of the hosiery market." Hosiery doesn't command the same value in retail as it did in the past. I recall hosiery departments of the past occupying greater retail space and salient positions than they currently do.

Could the decline of pantyhose in the retail market have something to do with the popularity of the maxi-dress or is it a generational revolt? What do you think? Have you ever made your own stockings, tights or pantyhose?

Happy sewing!


  1. Graca I'm not sure what age you are but I'm 37 and wear dresses to work 90% of the time and while I agree with the woman who said pantyhose are gross, I still wear them and go through a lot of pairs. I always look forward to it getting warm enough out that I don't need to wear them anymore though, I hate them. I have a co worker that is 36 and she wears them

    1. My iPad cut me off, no I've never made any :)

  2. I am in my mid-60's and can't imagine not wearing hose with a nice dress or skirt. The only way I can conclude panty hose as gross is if women are so lax as to not wear panties under them.

  3. Haha! By gross she probably just meant "eww, never!"

    I hate pantyhose. :( But I have to wear long pants to work and if I wear a dress it's usually a casual one (sundress, maxi dress) so no stockings.

    I had a pair of actual stockings with that grippy silicone that I LOVED. They were so silky smooth and perfectly jet black (as a black woman good luck finding a "nude" nylon that is actually skin toned) but I got a run in them and have NO clue where I bought them from :/

  4. ah, pantyhose, stockings, nylons. I grew up in the 60s-70s and tights were an important part of fashion. I actually had a pair of neon green tights in the mid 60s-so mod! I wore stockings for a time and then pantyhose as they were more comfortable than a garter belt. Early in my career I wore tights or pantyhose, and even wore pantyhose with pants suits as they were like shapewear. Later they fell out of favor and I slowly stopped. I keep some around for occasions like weddings, funeral etc. Bare legs and high heels look really bad to me, as though a woman got dressed in a hurry. Bare legs and sandals are just right :-) Oh and may I add that teaching involves standing up for hours on linoleum over concrete=support hose are wonderful for that situation. There is a reason some atheletes wear them.

  5. Ok, I'm not keen on flesh tone hose- because it's never really my fleshtone! I always look part Cherokee from the waist down!? But I can't see myself wearing a knee length or shorter skirt at work without them. I'm 44 and not everyone I work with agrees, but our hospital clientele are so many generations- I do it to it offend them. But I don't love them enough to make my own!

  6. Interesting question to raise. I find tights, and for the more formal occasion pantyhose, absolutely necessary. It is to cold in the winter not to wear them, and I find it so disgusting (gross) to sit on the bus with my flesh touching the seat. And, hello, they provide extra coverage from exposing parts that shouldn't be seen (and no--I never wear them commando style) when I bend over, get out of the car, or the wind comes up and I can't catch the skirt in time. Now, tights with shorts---I can't quiet grasp that idea. Would I ever make them...please don't make me.


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