The Feminine Leg – Uncovered

Posted on May 2, 2012


The real thing – minus a cover-up

I grew up in a household of oozing estrogen (five sisters), where laundry days were filled with a multitude of various sized bras, panties, girdles, garter belts, and a few stockings. For easier sorting, each of us girls were assigned a particular colour code, a tiny, discreet embroidered marking in a waistband. It certainly helped relieve some of the chaos when a few of us were so similar in sizes for a time. Kudos goes to my mom for devising such a simple but effective system.

There came a joyous time back in the 60’s when us girls could finally toss that #$!* garter belt idea for the comfort of pantyhose. After all, wearing trousers – let alone anything that resembled jeans – was still a bit of a pooh-pooh idea in some circles, especially schools and churches. Skirts and dresses were still the expected and acceptable style of choice, complete with hosiery. As a rite of passage, the proper miss was required to endure some nuisances in the name of conservative decency. Too bad if you felt you had a vapour barrier on your thighs in the humidity of a West Coast summer, or if you had to brave the frigid November storms with rain beating relentlessly against your legs. As a young lady preparing for a college or future job prospect, it was something you accepted into your normal routine. Besides, we were told (by girlfriends, not our mother) that a young man’s eye enjoyed the sleekness and silkiness of fine hosiery on a pretty leg – and by gosh, you wanted to land a man didn’t you?!

Through the ensuing years, before and into marriage (guess it must have been the Hanes or the L’Eggs hosiery after all that cinched it), I faithfully purchased umpteen pairs of pantyhose, some nude beige and some patterned, opaque and sheer. They were reasonably inexpensive, but were easily snagged and ruined. (Frugal hint: If you bought multiples of the same nude colour and one leg was too badly snagged with runs to wear again, you simply cut that leg off at the panty line and recycled it with a similar one-legged set. Voila! – two good legs.) After childbirth, with a few added pounds, I was gleeful to find the next generation of pantyhose with control tops and sheer high-quality legs, a boon to us horizontally gifted gals who didn’t relish the idea of squeezing our girth into any corset-like, one-piecer. Even if I looked like a dishrag after a day of mothering kids, I still felt “pulled together” when I put on some proper tights and a nice outfit. It actually made a difference.

Curiously, for the last couple of years, I have noticed that almost all of the A-list celebrities in magazines who wear those stellar wardrobes are going hosiery-free, obviously choosing to go for an au-naturel, bronzed (tanning bed) look. Self-tanning lotions seem to be the way to go for the savvy cosmopolitan gal; it’s some safe golden rays in a little bottle or spray. I get it that it’s a whole lot more comfortable and cooler to not parade around in pantyhose. I also get it that you can forget about the frustrations of runs or “ladders” in your tights, too. I even get that many businesses have more casual dress codes now than even five years ago. But what I find interesting is that of the on-line polls I’ve read and fellas I’ve questioned about this, the majority of men still love the look of a feminine leg wearing lovely hosiery (and they’re not fantasizing about black fishnets all the time either, just sometimes). It’s still a sexy look.

What I want to know is this: Is pantyhose going the way of the dinosaur? Are women just more casual about their polished looks? Will hosiery make a comeback like Bermuda “walking” shorts did?

Speaking as a seasoned (but not sun-baked) female, I kinda hope that there is a resurgence in wearing attractive hosiery, especially in formal settings. I will also keep an open mind and lather my pastey-white legs with sunless tanning lotion and hope the weather warms up sufficiently not to freeze. I have to be flexible with changing styles and attitudes, including wearing pantyhose or not. It’s just that I have seen too many bulging varicose veins and inflamed ankles on the other side of the retirement threshold to believe there isn’t a place for good supportive hosiery. (Please, I don’t even want to hear all the pros about “mantyhose”!) It’s really for the benefit of the ol’ boys who enjoy a glimpse of leg. After all, what’s wrong with a bit of glam that brings an admiring glance your way?