Into – and out of – pantyhose by
(34 Stories)

Prompted By What We Wore

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I was probably eleven when, for a rare treat, my mom took my sister and me to see a movie.  It was My Fair Lady. Since this was clearly a special occasion we dressed up and, inexplicably, I was allowed to wear stockings. Please note that in that day these were thigh high and held up with a garter belt. Of course I have enjoyed seeing that movie many times in the ensuing years. That night I don’t know what I could have told you about the film, being totally focused on the mystery (and damned discomfort) of being ushered into an adult secret world.

I was stopped dead in my tracks one day when a young coworker said she had never worn pantyhose.

Fast forward to a full time office job and the continuous expense of pantyhose. Did you buy L’eggs brand in the plastic egg? I kept a bottle of clear nail polish in my desk. When your pantyhose got a run, you attempted to stop this unraveling by painting a gob of clear lacquer onto the hose. Of course it seeped through the hose and adhered to your skin. As the day wore on, the hose would stretch out, but that spot glued to your skin stayed in place, giving a draped old-theatre-curtains effect. So attractive. I am sure no one was fooled.!!


Fast forward again, to the new millennium. I was stopped dead in my tracks one day when I overheard a young coworker telling a friend she had never purchased, indeed never worn, pantyhose. Hussy! Wait, maybe not. Time for me to adjust to a changing world once again, and embrace the bare legs look?

I turned to the arbiter of all of life’s big questions and did a Google search for when to go bare. One clue..most answers were several years old. A more sobering answer was that panty hose might be worn in more formal situations like court!   Farewell, the mysterious rites of women’s fashion hosiery. On to greater glories. Support hose, anyone?

Profile photo of Susan Susan

Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. Toby says:

    Oh did that bring back memories! Including the the recollection that in high school (pants were not allowed) we wore girdles (!!!!) to anchor our hose. Can you imagine? I sported an orange one.

  2. Suzy says:

    Wonderful story! I remember those garter belts so vividly, which you had to wear underneath your underpants so that they wouldn’t fall down. And then the advent of pantyhose, which at first seemed wonderful, until you realized that if you got a big run in one of the legs, you had to throw out the whole thing. Just last week I threw out an entire drawer of pantyhose, when I realized that I hadn’t worn them in at least 10 years. Bare legs rock, especially in warm climates like California!

  3. Constance says:

    How come I don’t remember us going to that movie? How come I do remember nylons pre-pantyhose? And girdles. I couldn’t possibly be that old.

  4. KCS says:

    Snork! Hilarious. I went bare-legged at my sister’s wedding four years ago and still feel like it was one of those dreams where you’re naked at school.

  5. Wendy Ng says:

    I love this story and identify so much with the wearing of pantyhose. I never think that the “bare leg” looks is a particular fashion style today. Of course now garters are making a come back. For various reasons. Ahem. My mom was very resourceful with her nylons that had runs in them. She saved them up and used them when she made stuffed animals and toys for us. She would stuff them full of pantyhose and they were soft and pliable, not stiff like the poly-foam stuffing.

  6. Just checkin’ on the graphic, Susan. Back in the day, did anyone remark that the L’eggs kiosk bears a resemblance to a phallus. I mean, there it is, standing tall amidst all the ladies clothing and accessories. Just askin…

  7. Patricia says:

    The first (eagerly awaited) outward sign of impending womanhood for my sister and I was trading our ankle socks for hose, and we were not allowed to do that until we shaved our legs. And according to my mother, once we shaved we had to keep shaving. I guess the sight of our long, dark leg hair flattened inside of sheer hose would have been a terrible faux pas.

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