Why the pantyhose is making a comeback.
RITA Wilson (aka Mrs Tom Hanks) famously shared the in-goings of English palace protocol when, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, let out: “The palace dress requirements say that women … must wear closed-toed shoes—and get this—stockings! Sheer disbelief! I don’t even own a pair of sheer hose.” Who does nowadays, anyway? Well, that may soon change.
Once banished to the far end of the bedroom drawer, the sheer pantyhose is back in the spotlight, thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge. Seldom spotted without a pair, her legs giving off a sheer sheen peeking out from various hemlines, fashion observers were quick to notice the wardrobe inclusion. UK’s Daily Mail reported a rise in sales of sheer pantyhose at both Selfridges and Tightsplease, but while these cannot be confirmed as a result of the Duchess’ doing, stockings are experiencing a certain high.
No one really knows when or how stockings fell out of favour, if ever. It was a big trend in the 80s. After that, no one really took notice except in some institutions, like nursing and hospitality, where women employees are still required to slip on the pantyhose as part of the dress code. “Hosieries in these particular fields go towards completing the whole ‘professional’ look,” says one image consultant. But with the new interest in sheer stockings, is this a question of fashion faux pax or practicality?
“It’s probably best to note that we’re talking about sheer pantyhose, the kind that looks natural on your skin,” says Chicago-based stylist, Leela Chandran-Rowes. “Anything darker than your natural skin tone will give you and ageing effect.” Plus, she says, hosiery is great when the seasons change, “at least here in Chicago”.
For warm weather wear, nude stockings still provide an advantage. For those with less than perfect skin tone, or suffering from varicose veins, sheer pantyhose are perfect to hide pasty legs. “The ultimate faux pax really is when you wear a hose with a run or a tear,” Chandran-Rowes cautions. “No amount of fashion know-how can help you there.”