Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dear Shopping Savage...

Dear Shopping Savage,

A younger co-worker told me that women do not wear hose any longer. I can see that this is true in the summer, but what about in the winter? Is this true only in the warmer places in the south?


Hung-Up on Hosiery


Dear H-U.O.H.,

The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Older women will be more pron to scoff at the idea of no hose since they were required in most professional job settings. Younger women, like your colleague, would think otherwise because she is of the generation that ushered in a more relaxed dress code. One that embraced bare-legged fashion and adopted trousers as an acceptable addition to the women's professional work wardrobe, all but eliminating the need for pantyhose.

Wearing hose dates back just before the fifteenth century, and throughout all of its incarnations, has served as the buffer between bare legs and the elements. In our culture they were thought to provide warmth, conceal a host of imperfections, as well as smooth the appearance of skin, making it easier for women (and their thighs) to wear a skirt.

Unfortunately, pantyhose have also received their fair share of criticism. In addition to being un-recyclable and having the accessory lifespan of a fruit fly, they've been linked to a number of health risks including urinary tract infections, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and heat exhaustion. These are mostly attributed to the synthetic materials used not allowing proper airflow or moisture absorption, which can make wearing them not only uncomfortable but a breeding ground for a host of bacteria.

Today's woman is now armed with an arsenal of tools to remove unwanted leg hair and if necessary, spanx to tame the tummy and thighs without the hassle of hose. Pantyhose and stockings (and while we're at it, knee and ankle-highs) have been all but replaced by the recent popularity of tights and footless leggings. Since women today prefer bare legs in the summer, tights and leggings are worn more so out of necessity in colder weather with skirts or dresses to protect and cover would-be bare legs. In addition to warmth they also come in a variety of materials - namely cotton and other natural fibers (e.g. wool, silk or cashmere) that allow air circulation - colors and patterns, making them functional as well as fashionable. Not to mention they're usually much more durable than your typical nylon pantyhose.

So if women wear pantyhose today its a tell-tell sign that she's either of a generational mindset that wouldn't dare go bare down there or she's a trendy hipster in opaque tights or fishnets. Yet don't take this as a deterrent from wearing them. If pantyhose are an accessory you'd like to wear just know you're still in good company. As long as there are British women, drag queens, pop stars and the occasional fetishist, there will always be a place for pantyhose to run on someone's parade.

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1 comment:

  1. LOVE hose. Especially colored/opaque tights to spice up a rather boring work out fit! Great advice SS!