Pantyhose: in or out of style?

I see this question all of the time – people are wondering if sheer pantyhose are in or out of style.  It’s a fair question, as we spent the last decade worshiping Sex In The City’s bare leg look.  As with all trends, the bare leg is waning, and legwear is on it’s way back in.

Below are some excepts from the news and fashion media, commenting on the resurgence of sheer hosiery. Let’s start with Miss Sex In The City herself:

Sarah Jessica Parker rocking some sheer nude pantyhose. Buh-bye bare legs.

Kate Middleton — the style ambassador for England — has singlehandedly resurrected the 1980s nude-tights craze. Her penchant for politely sheer legwear has caused sales of the hosiery to skyrocket in Great Britain and around the world. It’s even turning up on Hollywood red carpets.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyonce and Hayden Panettiere have been spotted on red carpets wearing nude tights. And Hollywood’s power stylists are thrilled with the return of sheer but covered leg.

Asked what brand she loves, Emily Blunt‘s stylist Jessica Paster said, “Wolford, of course! They look like you’re bare.”  Amanda Seyfried‘s stylist Elizabeth Stewart also loves the look. “I think nude hosiery is a brilliant invention and I fully support its return! I have yet to use it on the red carpet, though.”

Read the entire article here:

Beauty blogger Autumn Whitefield-Madrano had this to say about sheer hosiery:

Katy Perry is well known to adorn her legs on and off the stage with sheer tights.

“…pantyhose isn’t about fashion; it’s about lifestyle. It’s one of the few wardrobe items that definitively is or isn’t in people’s wardrobes-punks and preps alike all have jeans, skirts, and sweaters of some sort, but pantyhose? If you work at a smoothie joint in Oregon, you might not have ever worn them; if you work for the federal government, it might not cross your mind to not wear them. In fact, depending on your workplace, you might have to wear them, as this Wall Street Journal post points out. Geography comes into play too: In the Northeast and Plains states, pantyhose never really went out of fashion for dressy events, whereas I’m guessing most famously casual Californians would likely only wear them if it’s a part of a dress code.

Women in their 20s can embrace pantyhose in part because their mothers had the freedom to shed it — and were likely raising their daughters with the knowledge that nylons were no longer a must.

I loved feeling encased in this tight, stretchy stuff that somehow didn’t look tight but just looked…finished, making me feel finished, giving me a sense of finesse that I lacked otherwise. It does that for me still: I happily go bare-legged in the summer, but come fall, slipping on a pair of pantyhose is an adult version of putting on my back-to-school wardrobe. Pantyhose means I’m ready; it means I’m in public, wanting to be seen not as a prolonged adolescent who still sleeps on a futon and wrinkles her nose at broccoli, but as a professional. As an adult, as a woman who isn’t afraid to take herself a little seriously.”

This post originally appeared on The Beheld.

Kate Middleton gets the most pantyhose related press:

When the Duchess was photographed wearing nude pantyhose, people took notice, Julia Neel at Women’s Wear Daily reported.

“Given her positive image and sky-high fascination factor, it isn’t surprising that with her legwear of choice — primarily flesh-toned, especially for dress-up affairs — she is single-handedly elevating the category to fashion-worthy status,” Neel writes.

Read more:

 Kate Middleton’s latest contribution to fashion: pantyhose. After two straight weeks of pairing knockout designer dresses with ’80s-style sheer stockings, the Duchess of Cambridge has proven that everything she touches-really everything-turns to style gold.

The last time Leggs were in fashion, Melanie Griffith was teasing her hair and rambling on about ‘Trask’. But after a few months and a North American tour showing off shimmering gams, Kate’s bringing back the look for a new generation.

Egg-crate color is out, and clear, almost fairy-dusted iridescence is in. But the song remains the same: she’s got Leggs and she knows how to use them.

Sheer pantyhose look quite elegant,” writes the Boston Globe’s Beth Teitell, after scanning photos of Prince William’s wife in a carousel of dresses over the past two weeks. Teitell welcomes the redux as an antidote to shaving cuts and dry, unevenly fake-tanned knees.

Read the whole article here:

From the Kohl's Simply Vera Wang line, showing a young, stylish approach to hosiery for Winter 2012

In an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune, Hanes Legwear general manager Angela Hawkins said,

“…younger consumers are picking them up because they see it as one more [wardrobe accessory] option. “If you go back 20 years ago, women were wearing them because it was part of the appropriate attire for business. In some industries, it still is. But now we have an age segment of consumers that are wearing the category as an accessory,”

Read the rest of the article here:

There are hundreds of similar stories in the news lately; this is just a sampling.  SO, to answer the question – are pantyhose in style?  They most certainly can be… but just like any other clothing item, you’ve got to wear it right in order for it to dial up your style quotient… wearing hosiery tastefully is another topic for another day. Stay tuned!



  1. I used to wear pantyhose all of the time. Truth be told! they only make our legs itch and our feet 100 times more smelly and ticklish!…..its a lose/lose for women! hehehe……
    I gave up on pantyhose! hehehe….

    1. Annie, as for being itchy, that is typically due to 2 things: 1. If you haven’t shaved for a few days and have stubble growing in, it’s going to itch. This is just a law of nature. 2. Quality pantyhose feel silky and luxurious on your skin. Most of the brands available in the USA are inferior and feel like burlap & bungee cords. There are many European brands that are the same price as, and sometimes less expensive than American brands, and fit & feel amazing. Freshly shaven, smooth skin with quality hosiery is an experience you’ll love.

  2. I am so relieved and happy to look at everyone’s comments on hosiery. I have an event this Saturday it’s a graduation to be precised for the college that I work at. I am 40 years old and my legs are nit in the shape I would like them to be, even though I typically don’t wear dresses because of the whole leg situation I decided that I should I don’t look my age and I have great curves I said to myself just wear panty hose,, well my coworker laughed and said that so 80s. I was like I’m going to wear them any ways my legs will look neat and I will look elegant. So I went shopping for them last night but I found that there are not to many options here in Florida as to wear to buy ahold quality pair.. Any ideas ladies?? Thanks for your ideas

    1. There aren’t many places to buy good hosiery in Florida because American brands of hosiery aren’t that good. If you are in a serious pinch, Hanes Silk Reflections can be okay, but they are somewhat unremarkable. My favorite domestically available hosiery right now are the Nordstrom Sheer Gloss: They are very silky, have a nice shine to them, and come in a few skin tones that blend very well. OTHERWISE, I suggest looking at hosiery from European hosiery makers. One of my favorite discoveries right now is The Gabriella Exclusive 10 pantyhose, which you can see here: They are less expensive than a lot of American brands and 3x as luxurious. Shapings is located in Canada and ships to the USA rather quickly.

  3. OMG. I was at a wedding and the ladies rather than looking classy in their wonderful dresses and skirts were 80% Wilma Flintstones. I will not get into the more gross details when they took off their shoes and collected every dirt particle from the floor. All I will say is I miss hosiery.

  4. I always thought nylons looked polished and sexy on women. I can see not wanting to wear them everyday, but for formal parties, business events, in business, etc., they look so much better than bare legs. In fact, so many women go bare legged that should not. Their legs look horrible. I think it looks tacky. When I see a woman wearing nylons, I think now there is a professional. Again, not all situations need them, but this attitude that they are old fashioned or somehow out of fashion and style is BS. Look how classy Kate Middleton looks in them.

  5. I personally never felt pantyhose ever went out of style, I always hated the bare leg look, the fist time I saw it was in the mid 90’s, and my first thought was ewwww” she doesn’t have any nylons on.

  6. I have always hated, I mean ABSOLUTELY HATED, the bare look. Women look so much more elegant, classy, professional (in the workplace) and yes…SEXY wearing pantyhose or stockings. The bare look is just plain tacky and ghetto looking.

  7. Love the site, and love the glamorous look of quality sheer nude or light tan pantyhose. They make a woman’s legs look so silky and smooth.

  8. Sheer skin-toned nylons look so chic, glamorous, and elegant! They make my outfit look so much more complete and refined. It’s about time they are back in style! It’s fun to be classy again.

    1. We totally agree, Tami! There’s nothing quite like finding the perfect “barely there” nude hosiery to make you look truly put together.

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