Hosiery…The Final Frontier?

Sneakers+tights

Image via Pinterest.

When I recently spotted this image on Pinterest, I was intrigued by the fact that she seems to be wearing either dark tights or semi-sheer trouser socks with her Adidas. Does this unusual display of obvious hosiery (other than the 80’s-flashback ankle-socks-with-pumps worn by the Fashion Set) mean that the winds of change are blowing? Will bare skin no longer be de rigeur between skirt (or trouser leg) and vamp?

I came of age in an era where wearing any shoes other than sandals without some sort of hosiery was unthinkable and I have very few pairs of closed-toe shoes that I can tolerate wearing without tights or socks. I’ve recently been wearing these ASICS Low Cut Socks underneath my ankle or higher boots, but for pumps or lower-vamp shoes have been muddling through the past few years with baby powder and perhaps a pair of adhesive cushioned insoles to keep from sticking to my shoes. Those “no show” socks (the kind we used to call Peds) I’ve found to be worthless, as they either always show over the tops of the shoes, or else the heels slip off after the first few steps. I’ll wear tights with skirts when the weather is cool enough, but in warmer months or underneath pants, I’m often at a loss.

cutaway boots

And what do you do with all of the currently popular d’orsay, perforated and cut-out styles like these?

How do you deal with the hosiery conundrum?

Stay in touch.

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70 Comments

  1. rukshanaafia
    April 8, 2014 / 3:30 am

    It was only on style blogs like your own that I discovered that there was a new rule – no hosiery , or as you have said that it is a sign of ‘inherent frumpiness’ . It is very unusual to see bare legs in the UK , possibly because of the weather , so I don’t think hosiery carries any such similar connotation and is found ( very expensively ) in fancy shops usually in the lingerie dept. I dislike the feel of nylon so my problem is always getting hosiery in natural fibres which is luckily increasingly possible . Under trousers I always wear socks even with dressy shoes or in summer – just very thin ones ! Elle , Falke and some of the organic clothing websites I have found to do rather good cotton/lycra kneesocks . Thin cotton/lycra tights I will be trying soon – if still only suitable for winter I will have to save up for silk stockings . I used to wear them in the 80s and luckily they are still made – altho’ still ~10x as expensive as nylon !

    • yumyummoany
      April 8, 2014 / 7:25 am

      I agree, here in the UK it is rare to see bare feet with shoes in the winter, I always wear socks. I have a pair of shoes and sandals I wear bare legged in the summer. I always carry socks and if my feet get uncomfortable I put them on with sandals! Seriously uncool, but comfort before speed is my motto!

      • April 12, 2014 / 8:58 am

        It’s such a conumdrum, hosiery, isn’t it? I’m in the UK too. I like to change from dark coloured tights to lighter ones for Spring (‘cos it’s still too cold for bare legs) but I really couldn’t find anything suitable in the main department stores. I eventually found a few pairs of nude patterned tights (i.e. a lacy pattern, a fine fish net) in TKMaxx. I posted about it here: http://birdybegins.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/what-to-do-with-your-legs-in-spring.html

  2. Thea
    April 8, 2014 / 3:43 am

    I think the photo shows a gal who’s going to wear the sneakers on the street and change to some sort of fabulous footwear once inside – a la Melanie Griffith in “working girl”…I wear the tiny, mostly cotton “peds” by HUE, and available at Nordstrom…especially when traveling in the airport through security…

  3. Jill
    April 8, 2014 / 5:00 am

    I have seen far too many gals in NYC wearing skirts/dresses without tights, when it is still freezing out, and I think it looks ridiculous. I am a big fan of tights and am very much over this whole bare leg look. Long live tights! XO, Jill

  4. Charlotte
    April 8, 2014 / 4:20 am

    I have the same problem with “peds”, they either show around the edges or come off my heels. I have had good luck with “toe covers” that leave my heels bare but keep the front of my feet comfortable. I found them at Target and they are cottony like sport socks.

  5. April 8, 2014 / 4:38 am

    I love the freedom of no hosiery but I do think there are times when wearing stockings is essential. I also wouldn’t want to miss the fun socks in winter. Come summer… I’m a barefoot girl!
    Suzanne
    http://www.chapter-two.net

  6. April 8, 2014 / 4:45 am

    I think the whole socks/tights debate is kind of nutty right now because we looking at fashion globally in sameness. The climate where you live makes such a difference to what you can wear. What I wear in MN is so different than CA. I see all the bloggers with no tights in the northern states and think if I did this in February/March people would think I’m out of my mind!

    blue hue wonderland

  7. Duchesse
    April 8, 2014 / 5:53 am

    Like Thea, I think that girl has other shoes at the office and is enroute.

    With those cutout boots I’d wear fine mesh knee socks (Hue make them) or very thin cotton/lycra tights.

    For flats or brogues, I wear fine socks, tights or peds. Have you noticed, among young women, they let the peds or sockette show? They deliberately choose black or a contrasting colour, not the trying-to-hide-them nude.

  8. April 8, 2014 / 5:05 am

    I wear those trainer sock things or go without, today I’m sock-less with brogues. I think no socks with cut-out boots, they’d just look odd with a pair of woolly socks peeking out.

  9. Susan
    April 8, 2014 / 5:06 am

    No one has worn stockings in my area for well overfifteen years. For the last twelve years, I’ve had to wear very frumpy thick compression stockings, so I am a bit out of step with others. I have a friend who told me that I wouldn’t be able to wear dresses any longer as I could not let these stockings show. Oh yeah? I wear what I want to wear and get on with it. There is that occasional sales woman bringing something to me in the dressing room who spots my stockings and says, “Of course you won’t wear those stockings with this.”

    I wear socks over my stockings when I am wearing athletic shoes or boots.

    • Duchesse
      April 8, 2014 / 5:39 am

      I used to need those but had ELA (endovenous laser) treatment, a resounding success. Simply offering this as an alternative, b/c was so happy with the results.

      • Susan
        April 8, 2014 / 5:57 am

        Unfortunately, I don’t have the usual vein issues. I have a chronic issue called lymphedema and the stockings along with manual lymph drainage are the main treatments. No surgery available, but I wish that there was!

    • Tom
      July 2, 2014 / 8:04 am

      Hasn’t anyone else noticed that there’s been a trend toward more casual clothing since the 1960’s? Pants instead of skirts & dresses, T-shirt bras, bare legs, sheers with open-toe shoes, durable opaques instead of fragile sheers, tights with athletic shoes, Hooters girls, shorts with or w/o running tights on men, denim on everyone all the time… modern fashion is about practicality, health and comfort, even while we’re all worried about our appearance. That sales lady will change her tune once her legs start losing their war against gravity, too.

  10. April 8, 2014 / 5:06 am

    I became addicted to hosiery fifty years ago and never pass up the opportunity to wear it. Bare is fine for sandals, but that’s about it. Stockings are both comfortable and flattering. If you want to appearance of bare skin, tan pantyhose, thigh-highs and knee-highs will do the trick.

    • SewingLibrarian
      April 8, 2014 / 6:55 am

      I agree with Shybiker. (Great name, by the way.) Bare legs with sandals, socks in winter with pants, hose or black tights with skirts and dresses. I like Donna Karen’s hosiery from Nordstrom.

      • GingerR
        April 8, 2014 / 4:25 pm

        Agreed that DK has nice hosiery, although I always size up because it’s for girls with thin thighs.

  11. Ellen
    April 8, 2014 / 5:09 am

    I think the white athletic shoes are a nod to the “normcare” trend which the NYTimes tells us in the newest hip thing (see last weeks Thursday style section), and the black stockings highlight the look. Like many things, this can look young/hip-retro, on the young, but on a woman of a certain age, risks looking like “old bag lady”. I hated wearing panyhose: they never fit quite right, and they failed me at the worst possible times, but I dislike the look of my legs without them. If I need them, the very stretchy nylon “peds” from Target work best for me, and they come in both high and low cuts.

  12. April 8, 2014 / 5:09 am

    Though you might end up with lots of blisters in funny places…

  13. bettina
    April 8, 2014 / 5:45 am

    Peds have never worked for me either, although I have used the “toe covers” from Target, mentioned by a previous commenter, and found that they work especially well for clogs. But I think they would show under most ballerina-type shoes.

    For ballerinas, I swear by Dr. Scholl’s “Odor Destroyer Shoe Shot” powder. (Awful name, isn’t it– but that’s what it does!). And Foot Petals to cushion the spots that might rub and cause blisters. I’m mentioning brand names here because I’ve tried various brands and these are the only ones that actually worked the way I wanted them to. (I get my Foot Petals at Dillard’s.)

    When I wear pumps, I wear hosiery. I have found that luxury nylons like Wolford’s look less frumpy than say, Hane’s or other more affordable brands. And I hate that, because the sheer Wolfords rarely last more than a couple of wearings. 🙁 But the texture is somehow nicer and I have to admit, it makes a difference.

  14. April 8, 2014 / 5:59 am

    With the exception of boots, I basically don’t buy shoes unless I can wear them over bare feet. In my climate, it’s too hot to do anything else.

  15. April 8, 2014 / 6:06 am

    I wear patterned “peds” or “footies” from UNIQLO. They work OK.

  16. Suzanne
    April 8, 2014 / 6:08 am

    Its most definitely normcore.

  17. plutrell
    April 8, 2014 / 6:09 am

    The only time I wear hosiery is with skirts and dresses…I still prefer the look with hose…until I get some sun on these white legs anyway!

  18. April 8, 2014 / 6:19 am

    Right with you on disliking both the look and feel of bare legs in many situations…but not wanting to be frumpy. In connection with swing dancing, I discovered Bodyglide (http://www.amazon.com/Bodyglide-Original-Anti-Chafe-Balm-2-5-Ounce) which is an anti-chafe balm used by all sorts of folks. I got mine at a running store. Worn with or without socks or hosiery, it really does prevent rubbing and makes going sockless more comfortable for me. Doesn’t keep me warm, though!

  19. Rhonda
    April 8, 2014 / 6:23 am

    Perhaps she’s wearing the sheer black hosiery so no one will notice one leg of her trousers is cuffed and the other is not…

    • une femme
      April 8, 2014 / 6:26 am

      Makes me wonder if she was recently riding a bike?

  20. April 8, 2014 / 6:29 am

    The Duchess of Cambridge looks smashing in hosiery. She may bring hose back, as a trendsetter. However, dumpy little apple bodies like mine, will always be challenged to keep a pair up.
    If I wear flats with no socks, I make sure and use deodrant on my soles. Theresa

  21. Jan in Louisiana
    April 8, 2014 / 8:41 am

    I’ve found the bare legs imperative to be ridiculous since it first started. Except for the most summery of summer/sandaled looks, most ensembles look better to my eye without bare flesh between shoes and hemline.

    • April 8, 2014 / 1:48 pm

      I must agree with you. I’m annoyed that someone, somewhere arbitrarily decided that stockings were frumpy – including winter time. It proves once again that fashion can be oblivious to practicality. There’s a very big gap between frumpy and looks nice. Wearing stockings is no where near the frumpy line.

      • cocomom
        April 11, 2014 / 9:50 am

        And what does one wear for a job interview when on is of a certain age and the interviewer is considerably younger? Wear hose and be viewed as someone’s grandmamma or go barelegged and show off pasty white legs with all the signs of high mileage one them? It’s a lose-lose proposition!

        • April 11, 2014 / 10:19 am

          I wear nice dress pants. It also lets me move about quickly so I don’t appear as a doddering old person. Dress pants are also worn more by the younger crowd so it is win-win for me!

        • une femme
          April 11, 2014 / 10:36 am

          Cocomom, trousers are an acceptable option for women these days for just about any interview situation.

          I’d like to ask that we all be more aware of some of disparaging comments and attitudes about aging bodies. There is nothing inherently wrong with legs that are pale or blue-veined, or upper arms that are less than toned. We may or may not be comfortable displaying these parts, but feeling that older bodies are somehow unacceptable or offensive is part of the ageism of our society. If we want it to change, we need to start dismantling those “outposts in our own head.” (And if you don’t want it to change, that’s certainly an option, but know that comments that I perceive as ageist may be challenged or removed.)

  22. April 8, 2014 / 8:44 am

    I agree it is a dilemma and those no show socks are useless. I tend to go with bare feet in most of my flats but it has been a bit chilly recently.

  23. Nancy K
    April 8, 2014 / 10:14 am

    Those sheer black hose with sneakers is very strange! I don’t mind bare feet with shoes but the shoes have to have a leather lining or I am very uncomfortable. I find low heeled socks slide down almost as badly as peds.

  24. April 8, 2014 / 9:34 am

    Bare legs are always my preference once the weather is warm enough. I am actually very comfortable this way, but understand that all feet are different! Would never wear trouser socks with sneakers!

  25. April 8, 2014 / 9:46 am

    I, too, find bare legs in freezing weather to be ridiculous. I was so taken aback when this trend first started, that I basically gave up on wearing skirts in the winter, and I wear mostly pants with boots and whatever hosiery I want. I am thrilled to be liberated of pantyhose in the warm months and I go mostly sockless or with various no-show styles. The latest I have heard, is that pantyhose are making a cautious comeback. They have to be very sheer and match your skin tone (no orange legs). Black tights are OK, but several fashion sites just crucified Anne Hathaway for daring to wear sheer black hose, saying she looked like someone’s grandmother or an 80s prom queen. For what it’s worth, men apparently still find hose sexy, but I suspect they are thinking of garter belts and Victoria’s Secret models.

  26. Jennifer
    April 8, 2014 / 10:38 am

    For the blisters factor try band aids friction block. It’s around $5-7 at most local drugstores/pharmacy shops. It looks like a small deodorant stick but you rub it on your feet. Put it where the shoes rub you. It’s the best, it saves me from blisters every time. And no matter if it’s a ballet, tennis or high heel, you put it where you need it and go. It’s very small so I carry it in my bag daily.
    I never liked sheer hose, it worked when I needed it but I thought it looked odd. However seeing Kate Middleton makes me change my mind as she looks so elegant and young.
    As for tights there are so many great options. But when it comes to cut outs and sandals you may have to go with out.

  27. Rosemary Crawshaw
    April 8, 2014 / 10:55 am

    I dont know why hosiery ever went out,who has the legs for going without?To me it just looks unfinished,especially for work in winter.I do go without in warmer weather with sandals,hate tennis shoes without peds or socks

  28. Linda in Illinois
    April 8, 2014 / 11:22 am

    Pantyhose are awful for a short girl (like me)–I’ve never, ever found a brand or size where all that excess torso length doesn’t roll into a thick, incredibly uncomfortable log at the waist (suggestions welcome!). On the other hand, I hate the look of bare legs when when dressed up. It always appears to me like you forgot something! Tights are great but don’t work in all weather or for all outfits, and of course, they also roll at the waist. This is the ongoing dilemma for me. I love dresses but wear them less and less frequently because of it. 🙁
    Thank you for such great topics, Femme.

  29. pink azalea
    April 8, 2014 / 12:59 pm

    Hmmm, this is a dilemma for most of us. With dark trousers or jeans, I wear black socks and loafers or boots. When I wear my black ballerinas, no socks. I’ll only wear them on days when it’s warm enough to do without. During cool months, I wear black tights and black ankle boots with dresses. I live in a warm climate and during the rest of the year, don’t like the look of hosiery with dresses/skirts. So I use a self tanner on my legs. I think I’ve read that there’s a BB cream for the body and I might try that this summer. The skin on my legs is no longer perfect, part of being 60-ish.

  30. Tiffany
    April 8, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    Must be a climate thing. I wear almost all my shoes without socks or tights, year round, unless they are either not visible (when wearing boots, full-length jeans or trousers) or part of the outfit (thick opaque tights with a dress/skirt in winter). However, I am amazed when I see street style snaps of full winter outfits and bare legs!

  31. April 8, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    I like to wear some kind of covering on my feet in open fronted shoes, mainly to save myself from blisters etc. But I agree, “peds” tend to slip off. To my joy, I recently happened upon a solution for those times when I am wearing jeans and trousers: Keysocks! A fabulous little idea from a US gal. Basically it is a normal sock with the top cut out so the foot bed of it is like a “ped” but you have the added stability and warmth of a normal sock on your leg. Brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I send over from Australia for them and give them as presents to all and sundry. They come in a “light” weight (great for Australia) and a heavier weight for real warmth. Love them!

  32. Pain au Chocolat
    April 8, 2014 / 3:34 pm

    If I go to my office in the summer wearing a skirt with no pantyhose, I freeze to death from the AC. Hooray for the Duchess of Cambridge, now I won’t have to feel like a frump in my hose.

  33. April 8, 2014 / 3:43 pm

    I welcome hosiery coming back. I think fair skinned women, even with great, shapely legs, just don’t look good without hose in cool climate months.

    My legs are the best part of my aging body but I have very fair (fish belly blue ) skin that looks just awful without hose. So I either wear tights or don’t wear skirts. I notice the same on other fair skinned women.

    I think it’s fine to go bare for women with nicely colored legs but it still looks uncomfortable and a bit ridiculous in very cold weather.

  34. April 8, 2014 / 3:49 pm

    I don’t like the look of no hose in the winter; it looks like you forgot to finished getting dressed. So I ignored the new rules about hose. In fact, I think all fashion rules are crazy because what we’re told is awful one year is “so cute” the next (See: return of the high-wasted jeans this year). So I get ideas from fashion magazines and blogs, but never follow rules.

  35. Martina
    April 8, 2014 / 4:09 pm

    I saw a woman on my office elevator today wearing knee high boots with knee socks underneath. Bare legs from knee to above knee skirt. It looked silly…a young woman could (maybe) have gotten away with the look, but she just looked like she was trying too hard. I have the world’s palest legs, and self tanner just looks wrong, so it’s nylons for me with a dress or skirt and heels. Bare feet with ballets in the summer. Thin socks in the winter.

  36. GingerR
    April 8, 2014 / 4:38 pm

    Hosiery is not dead in DC. Come summer, bare legs – nice ones that’ve been shaved and run through a pedicure- are the norm, unless you’re a lawyer headed for court. I think most female elected officials show up in stockings, as do many of their staffs.

    Right now, as Winter turns to Spring, most women I know are trying to decide if they will drop their heavy tights and go bare, or maybe just not wear skirts until it’s warm for sure.

    I wear knee highs with pants and dress shoes because I love the look of a silky ankle peeking out in a low-vamped pump.

    I don’t know what’s up with the gal in sports shoes and stockings. When I wear sneakers with stockings on my commute I always put short cotton socks on with them so my toes don’t rip through the stockings 🙂

  37. Maggie Vita
    April 8, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    I, too, grew up in an era where hosiery was de rigeur unless it was summer, one was wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals or a summer dress and sandals. Personally, I like wearing stockings or tights as my legs are too pale and far from perfect. Living in Southern California where it is perennially summer, bare legs are the norm; stockings almost look out of place unless it’s December-February and it’s cold (by our standard.) Like eyeglasses, I consider stockings or tights a fashion accessory used to complete or complement an outfit. I love my leopard print tights paired with a neutral skirt, sweater and short boots. All things in moderation.

  38. April 8, 2014 / 6:14 pm

    Haven’t worn sheer hose for years, or sheer socks, either. I see lots of bloggers wearing nude fishnets, but I think I’d rather just wear hose.

  39. April 8, 2014 / 7:26 pm

    I live in LA now, and it’s very typical to go bare-legged, but as I grow older, my skin is less attractive for this. I actually welcome winter because then it’s perfectly natural to wear long socks with skirts and pumps. In summer it’s bare legs, and I can get away with it for mid-calf skirts, but I am increasingly more inhibited about wearing knee or higher length skirts. My legs are just too pale, with fragile skin and wrinkly knees.

    I hate panty hose – I had started to wear over-the-knee socks instead of tights for my winter legwear. I would probably wear sheer stockings more if it were possible to find good thigh-highs that stayed up.

  40. Maria
    April 8, 2014 / 8:09 pm

    I think that wearing nylons depends on the outfit and on the occasion. I don’t know where this arbitrary rule of not wearing hose came from, but I think it’s downright silly to go bare legged in the winter!!

  41. DJP
    April 8, 2014 / 10:35 pm

    I’ve always hated panty hose but I do like the look of opaque tights on colder days. The peds socks are pretty much useless but Hue makes a little number called a “sling back sock” which is the best I’ve found. A very small toe cover held in place by an almost invisible clear strap like a narrower version of the kind you sometimes see on bras. They don’t work for all shoes but with a combinations of the Hue socks, BodyGlide and lots of talc I muddle through. Of course when it’s really cold I just wear warm socks safely hidden under my boots.

    • greenleafhill
      April 10, 2014 / 11:11 am

      DJP is correct…the Hue sling-back foot cover works very well for oddly-shaped shoes, such as the D’Orsay bootie you showed in your photo. The silicone strap is invisible and keeps the sock from slipping off the forefoot. I can’t stand seeing all but young women in bare legs and short skirts! I see so many 40+ gals around here trying to “rock” the mini-skirt with their bare and often sinewy legs…ugh.

  42. April 8, 2014 / 11:53 pm

    Hosiery with dresses and skirts in the winter seems to complete the look. I bought summer weight hosiery in Spain one year and liked the look for the city. At a resort, on a cruise or at a pool party, sandals, bare legs with a pedicure seem appropriate.

  43. April 9, 2014 / 8:41 am

    I wear stockings because my legs are so translucent they’re practically vampiric. Since I’m very petite I’ve found that stay-up thigh-highs go all the way up my leg and are really comfortable. Panty-hose and Cerebral Palsy equals an aerobic workout and torn hose, especially control-top 😉

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

  44. Thea
    April 9, 2014 / 8:43 am

    I learn so much from these comment boards!! I will seek out Wolfords, Target peds and try the chafing balm when I cannot wear hose. I also looked up “norm care” – who knew!
    Was at a funeral and the hose/no hose style ran the gamut – April in Annapolis! One gal had on an above the knee black leather dress and no hose…definitely “a look”, but IMHO, not funeral appropriate, at all…I guess I want to look “appropriate” most of the time – especially when my teen-age daughters are critiquing me before I head out the door. My toughest audience – ha ha!

  45. April 9, 2014 / 2:44 pm

    I found some great invisible peds at TJ Maxx that have a tiny band of plastic so they STAY ON and don’t slide into your shoes with each step.
    Or odor eater insoles cut to fit ALL my summer shoes.
    Love the posts!

  46. April 9, 2014 / 3:35 pm

    Lol; I have cut beige socks to go with a variety of my shooties while the weather is still cool. I have drawers full of stockings of evrey thickness and lots of fishnets to go with my skirts. There are about 4 days here in NE WHEN its warm enough not to wear them! Xoxo

  47. Jill Ann
    April 9, 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Funny that you posted this now, as my Empty-Nester Mothers’ Lunch group just had the pantyhose discussion at our last lunch. Most of us don’t work in offices any more, so we consulted our husbands to see whether women wear hose any more: as most of you already know, they don’t! Although many don’t have the legs to go without, according to my husband.

    The woman in the picture above, presumably, is commuting and will change into proper shoes (and lose the socks) once she gets to the office. I never understood the sneakers-with-suit look; when I worked, I kept a pair of comfortable flat shoes in my desk if I wanted to go shopping at lunchtime. Almost as comfy as sneakers, and way better looking in my opinion!

  48. Jane2
    April 10, 2014 / 6:27 am

    The woman in the pic looks like she’s going to work…no one would actually wear hosiery with athletic shoes on any sustained walk as they would cause blisters.

    If I want to go barefoot in footwear, I use Glide, a runner’s product that prevents chafing. It’s not completely blister-proof, but you can walk a few blocks without requiring medical intervention for your poor, damaged feet.

  49. Miri
    April 10, 2014 / 5:55 pm

    Those bllister-block type rub-ons haven’t worked for me. I have put “summer soles” inside pumps and flats so that the liners don’t stick to my feet and come loose, but the outsides of my toes still rub. So I use the peds to cover my toes and don’t mind when the back of the ped slips down into the shoe. I’ll have the try the Target toe covers mentioned above.

  50. sarahC
    April 11, 2014 / 6:14 am

    I’ve always hated pantyhose and tights. but I also hate wearing closed shoes on bare feet (with a few very limited exceptions – I have a pair of Naturalizer boat shoes that are soft and comfy on bare feet). So my options are a bit limited!

    In the winter I wear knee-highs (under pants) or thigh-highs (under skirts). As soon as it’s warm enough for bare legs, it’s open-ish shoes/sandals or boots with socks scrunched down enough so they don’t show. those “peds” never worked for me either.

    I’m always tempted whenever the “socks-with-sandals-or-pumps” look becomes trendy but I have not experimented very much with it. I do sincerely think it can look cute, though.

    I want to try some closed shoes that are perforated to see if they’re airy enough to wear with bare feet. I think I’ve seen some oxfords like this.

  51. nell
    April 11, 2014 / 4:17 pm

    I mentioned in a different post on this site that I enjoy flouting some, not all, fashion “rules”, particularly ones that seem arbitrary and absurd. Call me a total throwback— I wear ONLY skirts (denim and khaki for every day) so the hosiery thing is relevant to me on a daily basis. It’s fun to wear dark opaque tights in winter, and in warm weather, it’s always very sheer, unobtrusive nude pantihose, a la Kate Middleton.

    Reasons? Gives me a smooth finished look, flattering to pale legs, love not having to cope with sockless-look substitutes or bronzers or self-tanners– what a pain! Have never found hose to be uncomfortable, oddly enough, even when I worked in the hothouse that New Orleans is for many months of the year.

    When this “rule” began to take hold, maybe 20 years ago, I remember thinking “too bad”.. I don’t think “bare-legged” is a terribly good look on most people, frankly. But it seems to arouse strong feelings. I do think you should wear or not wear what you feel best in, but, for me, at least, aesthetics is almost as important as comfort. To each his own!

  52. Eliza
    April 11, 2014 / 7:45 pm

    I’m a dedicated wear of black tights in the winter while bare legs are my preferred option for summer. It’s always been the transitional fall and spring seasons that are such a challenge. For the last 6 or so years, I’ve been wearing nude micro fishnets. The holes are small enough that you don’t look like a cabaret girl, and the color blends in but doesn’t look like your grandmother’s hose. They’ve been a lifesaver. The best brand I’ve found are by Oroblu from Nordstrom.

  53. April 12, 2014 / 10:07 pm

    Well, I’ve just returned from a week in France (Loire valley), and I saw many chic and gorgeous women, including very young ones, wearing sheer, nude hose with skirts, dresses, and even with shorter pants and ballerina flats. If it’s good enough for French women, who are held up as icons of style, it’s good enough for me. My favorite walking shoes for such trips are ballerina-ish, but with extra padding in the soles. The lining, however, is synthetic, and would create a storm of blisters if I didn’t wear some sort of hose, so I do. Many of the posters above recommend an arsenal of specific products – this powder, that anti-friction balm, and those little stick-ums for spots that rub – when hose would eliminate the problem and make those closed shoes comfortable, non-sweaty and friction-free. So it’s hose for me!

  54. April 13, 2014 / 5:14 am

    I like hosiery. For a long time I tried to go without but I feel unfinished. Perhaps it was seeing too many young women on NYC subways with cold legs covered in goose bumps. My husband always said their legs looked liked chicken skin and it was most unattractive. Perhaps in a warm climate or with a personal limo.

    Now that I am in the warm climate, I wear pads, or those sling back hue things, because I don’t like bare feet in most shoes, and the shoes don’t hold up as well. But I also have just decided to do what I like and wear hosiery unless I am wearing sandals. There are days when I think the hosiery ban is another form of ageism or sexism, telling women we all have to be fresh young maidens with dewey legs. And I know too many women who’ve stopped wearing skirts just to avoid the issue.

    I like Wolford and Fogal, and they last me a decent amount of time, usually at least a dozen wears each, even for the very sheer pairs. I picked up a pair of Hanes in a pinch, when I was caught away in a sudden cold snap without backup, but they ran after one wearing. Wolford opaques can last years.

  55. Susan
    April 13, 2014 / 7:39 am

    I agree with Mardel that the no hose/stocking rule of the last 10 or 12 years is another one of those fashion edicts which tends to place all but the very young is an awkward or uncomfortable place. Yes, we should all wear them or not–as we choose. I totally agree. Of course I’m the woman stuck in thick compression stockings. They DO have their good moments in the wintertime when I stay nice and warm.

    One question, did the no hose edict begin about the same time dresses came into vogue again? I LOVE having at least some dresses to choose from now.

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