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Baring Legs in the Office

Poor, Unfortunate, Pantyhose: The Right to Bare Legs

Pantyhose and I are not friends. We have never been friends, and I don't even like the way it sounds when I say "pantyhose." Fortunately, I haven't been forced into wearing them since childhood, and apparently I should consider myself lucky. Some offices require that women wear hose, and The Wall Street Journal did some serious investigation into the world of women and their legs at work.

They unsurprisingly found that there's a distinct generational divide when it comes to pantyhose preference, but it hadn't occurred to me there would still be a geographical divide as well. Jim Holt, president of a small financial institution in Wichita, Kansas attended a seminar and received this advice regarding women's business casual wear: "Nylon hose and dress shoes are to be worn at all times. We're not New York or San Francisco. We're the Midwest."

Here's their video of New Yorkers of both sexes weighing in on their opinion of pantyhose. Where do you stand?

Join The Conversation
JaimeLeggs JaimeLeggs 9 years
Judging by the comments, I must be the exception to the rule. I almost always wear pantyhose with my dresses and mini-skirts; and with them I always wear dress sandals. I feel my prettiest in these combinations; and believe me, they get noticed!! I've been buying many floral mini-skirts and heeled dress sandals. I bought a pair of strappy white sandals on e-Bay from a couple in their 60s; and the man absolutely loves the fact that I wear pantyhose. So much so that he calls me Miss Canada. lol Men in general seem to prefer the sight of pantyhose with heeled, wide-open-toed shoes (sandals). When I wear them with one of my floral mini-skirts at the bus stop well, you can imagine what happens. If my legs end up being on their minds all day...mission accomplished. After all, I don't want them to notice. I want them to drool!!
Glitter650 Glitter650 9 years
I think for work they should be worn, especially with like a suit or the like... it's just more professional, and like many others.. it feels yucky with nothing between my feet and my shoes. IF its a sun dress go ahead and go bare legged. But I have also belonged to two organizations that required hose as part of dress codes for meetings, so I'm used to wearing them when I "dress up" also they don't honestly bother me. PS I live in San Francisco. =)
absolutromantic absolutromantic 9 years
Wow, I had no idea people were so against pantyhose! I'm 22 and live in New York City, and I always wear them if I'm wearing a dress/skirt to work. I agree with those who said wearing shoes without stockings is gross - I wear knee highs if I'm wearing pants just so I don't have bare feet in my shoes. We don't have a dress code at work, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone go barelegged. I think if I saw someone without stockings I'd be a little surprised at them, because I'd consider that really inappropriate. For the record, I work in management consulting.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I live in AZ, and I never ever wear hose. I agree that it is generational and locational. My hippie mom barely wears a bra, so really what can you expect from me? I guess this hatred probably explains why I pick pantsuits for my trials, since a skirt would probably necessitate them in the formality of a courtroom... but beyond juror impressing, in my normal work life, I just wear slacks with whatever foot coverage is needed, or skirts with bare legs (the closest I come is fun tights in winter if I'm ashy from lotion laze or b/c I will freeze). Hate hose. Don't care what the benefits are, they are uncomfortable and annoying.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
It's too hot in Florida for pantyhose.
hihowareya hihowareya 9 years
I like wearing tights or fishnets, but they have to be in some sort of bold color. Otherwise, I am so pale that I feel like 'pantyhose' (I, too, hate that word, though I also despise the word 'panty') look just way too goofy: I mean, how come my legs look tan but the rest of me doesn't?
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Okay, I guess I'm on the far side of the age divide. I wear them almost every work day. In Los Angeles. If I have a long dress or slacks, I cheat with knee highs. I probably overdress a little for my workplace, though. However, I plead innocent to charges of unhipness because I have *really* pale legs. Like, cave-fish pale. Glow-in-the-dark pale. I hate messing with fake tan stuff, and I've never seen one that looked remotely natural. And I'm still pale, even with it. The only time I go bare-legged out of the house with a dress is if it's mid-calf length or below. Really, for those of you who say they're uncomfortable, you probably just haven't found the right fit. I'm "rubenesque" and my best fit is cheap drugstore pantyhose (usually "No Nonsense"). Also, I can't stand to wear shoes without some kind of socks. It's hot, chafes, and I have to think it can't be good for the shoes. I like most of my shoes and want to prolong their useful life, I don't want them sweat-stained and smelly.
brielleblonde brielleblonde 9 years
who wears pantyhose any more?! and how can this be enforced in the workplace... are managers going to come up to ur leg and pinch it to see if ur wearing anything? just self tan if its going to be that much of an issue and they won't even know the difference.
Marci Marci 9 years
I only wear tights in the winter. But I'm interested in reading all the comments because lately I keep seeing all these girls in pantyhose and I've been so surprised by it. And that's in New York on the subway and stuff, not some little town somewhere.
flyinggrip flyinggrip 9 years
I agree with MsTyque, it depends on the setting. I work in a hospital so it wouldn't be appropriate to have bare legs when wearing a skirt, even with pants I usually wear knee-highs.
MsTyque MsTyque 9 years
I think its more a matter of what industry you work in than your location. I work in manhattan but in the Financial industry so the dress code requires pantyhose. That said, I do skip them if I'm not meeting with clients. Pantyhose are such a waste and they are uncomfortable!
verily verily 9 years
I'll wear 'em. My legs are blindingly white. But dresses and skirts are a very occasional thing for me. If I had to dress up for work, I'd just wear pants instead.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
never! i live in new york, and i never see young women wearing them. yeah, dark opaque tights are great in the winter, but nude hose? i'm not a golden girl.
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
When I was in college, I worked as a waitress at a restaurant where we had to wear those hideous polyester knee-length dresses. Hose were required, but one of my coworkers refused and agreed to only wear knee-high hosiery. It was hysterical when she would have to reach for something, causing her partially-hosed legs to be exposed!
emalove emalove 9 years
Pantyhose??? Like the nude kind?? I honestly am not sure I've EVER worn those. I wear tights and black or neutral nylons in the winter when I wear dresses/skirts, but that's it for me.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
Ew, I loathe pantyhose...and I agree Buzz, the word pantyhose is kinda creepy. :-) I'll wear opaque black tights with a skirt or dress in the winter -- IF I truly believe I might freeze AND I can't get away with leggings, but other than that I let my legs breathe!
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
rowan tree - I'm with you. I actually think its grosser to go bare foot in shoes. It is probably the cause of stink foot too.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
shanimalcracker, I use Spanx and I love them. My grandmother use to make me wear a girdle (Southern family and all) since I was 12. When Spanx came out it was a godsend even grandma now loves them over her girdle especially in the Southern heat. They come in all types of varieties --you should check them out.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
P.S. Does anyone here like Spanx? I'm thinking of investing in a pair from that brand, but wonder if they hold up well!
RowanTree RowanTree 9 years
Ok, (1) I love support top. I think more people need to embrace the control top, if you know what I mean. (2) I don't know how people walk around in shoes with no stocking/sock/nothing! My feet just slosh around in sweat and then rub against the leather and get sore and raw. As much as I think I should hate hose, I just have to say the benefits outweight the burden least for me!
britelime britelime 9 years
I go bare unless it's wintertime having nylons on mkaes my legs look tan and keep them from getting too cold. I have to wear them for the office , I wear kneehighs daliy. I think they are comfortable when wearing heels .
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
I used to have to wear them for Speech & Debate during high school. I went to college in Los Angeles and didn't really have a need for them even with jobs because of the location. Right now, the firm I'm working for is pretty casual so it isn't seen as imperative to wear panty hose. I will probably have to get used to it for interviews and summer associate positions during law school though!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I abhore panty hose, only wore them once in 8th grade to my grandfathers funeral, and i took them off halfway through. my office doesnt require you to wear pantyhose. they never ever look natural, ever.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I wear tights in the winter but I haven't wore hose since I do not know when. It is definitely a generational thing.
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