Are pantyhose making a comeback or, is pantyhose making a comeback?


By Bill Derby

A question published to an online fashion guru reads….

Are pantyhose out of fashion? I’m comfortable in tights but feel old and out of date in pantyhose. I’m 49 years old. Not sure how to handle spring and summer weather and skirts. Thanks. – Roberta

My answer would be. “Roberta, don’t worry. If pantyhose were good enough for your mom, they’re good enough for you. Try a pair.

I wrote the column below a number of years ago but caught a news story about pantyhose recently on one of those panelized newscasts and thought it might be re-visited since it is important. Seems the duchess Kate Middleton wears a nude brand of pantyhose. I don’t understand how they can call it nude but maybe men don’t need to know why certain things are that way.


The pantyhose column…. (Please note: none of the ladies mentioned work in our company now and have since retired when I wrote this.)

I stuck both feet in my mouth during a sales meeting a number of years ago. I mentioned I had worn a coat and tie to work for two days in a row, a big mistake.

The ladies’ side of our company jumped all over that comment. Our male employees looked dumbfounded.

One female replied to my remark, “If women have to put up with wearing pantyhose all the time, men shouldn’t complain about wearing a tie!”

“Whoa ladies, I was just making an innocent remark about male fashion, not trying to incite a 1960’s Bella Abzug burn-your-bras moment,” I cringed.

It was too late. The floodgates of pantyhose stories started to fly around the room. I decided to let these gals vent their fashion frustrations. It would get their blood flowing.

My next stupid comment was, “I didn’t realize women had such a hard time with pantyhose. I bet most husbands don’t know it either.”

Horror stories started to flow. “Wearing pantyhose is a challenge. They’re may be over 100 different kinds and styles. Buying the right size is a challenge. There are all kinds of different sizes,” the ladies responded.

I started to sympathize but out came another stupid remark, “You know, women have a much more difficult time buying clothes and dressing than men do, right?”

They all broke down laughing. I thought, well, this is going to be a constructive sales meeting. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

“My toes bust through my pantyhose all the time. You put a brand new pair on and by the time you get to work you have a run. There’s nothing worse than buying them too short in the stride. Makes you take shorter steps. It’s even worse in the summer. They’re expensive,” they chimed.

I thought, probably a man’s biggest challenge getting dressed in the morning is finding a pair of underwear without holes.

The stories continued. One lady shared with us, “When I was a teenager I was invited to the biggest formal social event of the year at the Johnson City Country Club. Pantyhose were just invented in the early sixties and I wore a pair with my new formal gown. Everyone was dressed to the nines. All of a sudden the elastic gave way and the new hose started to creep down my legs. I headed for the ladies room. It was quite a distance away. About halfway there, the new hose had fallen around my ankles. It was terribly embarrassing. I looked around to see if anyone was looking. I quickly stepped out of the pantyhose and shoved them under the oriental carpet.”

We all laughed at that. I wondered if the pantyhose were still there.

Another sales executive shared her on-the-job undergarment experience. She drives a huge SUV. Everyone knows the challenge of climbing into the seat, especially for the gals in suits and dresses. She said she wore a suit with a half-slip that fateful day. On parking her SUV she disembarked but accidentally caught her half-slip with her high heel shoe while climbing down. Her shoe heel hooked the edge of the silken undergarment and shucked it right off around her ankles.

We laughed at that too.

The ladies went on and on about pantyhose. “Never, ever buy them too little. Never, ever buy them according to your driver’s license weight. “The only time my husband bought me a pair of pantyhose was the most comfortable pair I’d ever worn. He had by mistake bought me maternity pantyhose. My good friend solved the one-leg run problem. When a pair of her hose got a run she would save them until she got a run in another pair and then the bad leg and put two pair with the two good legs on.”

The men in the company were beginning to understand their dilemma.  Finally the ladies started to settle down, their fashion frustrations vented, their homemaker instincts starting to take over.

“You know, you can use pantyhose for many things around the house. When we were young we tied our hair up at night with old pantyhose. It gave us straight hair with little curls at the end.  Yes, and they can be used to tie-up tomato plants, too,” they finished.

I put my two cents worth in. “Men only use pantyhose to rob banks.”

They looked at me like I hadn’t listened to a word they had said.  Leave it to an ignorant male to add a useful purpose to life. By the way girls, blame Mr. Allen Grant, Sr., a true gentleman, at Glen Raven Mills in North Carolina for inventing the pantyhose.


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