The War of the ‘Hoses

I really love Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. So far, everything she has worn out in public has been beautiful, flattering to her slim figure, and – on several occasions – items that the average person can quickly go buy for themselves off the rack. (Provided they move quickly, as these items often sell out within HOURS of being worn). Ya just gotta love her mix of designer duds with more common clothes. And I’m not the only one – there has been a lot written about how elegant and comfortable she has looked no matter what she was wearing. As far as I recall, she hasn’t had a really bad fashion faux pas yet, and that includes her footwear. It’s like everyone just loves everything she wears.

But I wonder if she’s aware that she’s about to start and international war among women.

I’m talking about …. pantyhose. In case you didn’t notice, Duchess Kate wears nude-colored pantyhose with her dresses. Most likely this is because of her position within English society: as a royal, one must look the part and keep a degree of modesty about oneself. It could also be because she likes them, no one has really asked her as far as I know. But I bring it up because here she is, getting universal wows on her outfits, all the while wearing barely-visible hose.

“Love that dress!” ” What a great color!” “I would wear that!”

Then I point out the pantyhose and it’s like the woman suddenly was drowning kittens.

“ACK! No WAY!” “How subservient!” “Bet they make her wear ’em!” “TACKY!” “Old-fashioned!” “PRUDISH!”

Are we talking about the same woman?

Somewhere along the line, pantyhose became a permanent resident on the “OUT” list right next to girdles and chastity belts, and I fail to understand why. Let me first start by saying that yes, I wear pantyhose. And not just to my yearly visit to church. I wear them anytime I put on a skirt or dress unless I am on vacation, and the skirt or dress in question is light, billowy and gauzy. They give a slight blush of color to my pale legs (Don’t even suggest bronzers. I’ve tried. I’m allergic to ALL of them). They hold in whatever needs holding in. They keep my shoes from sticking to my feet. People – what’s not to like here?

I can give a pass to the younger crowd. I was one of you once, before the knee scars from cycling, the varicose veins and the 20 pounds that permanently live on my hips. And I know that there is a small portion of women aged 30+ who can still pull off the bare-leg look. Most of them either live in Hollywood or spend money on their bodies like they lived in Hollywood.

But the rest of us? Um, in a word… NO.  Look, it’s just two wispy scraps of nylon or polyester with a Spanx-like panty. You love Spanx, right? So what’s the big deal? I KNOW it’s important for women to be authoritative, bold, career-minded, determined, energetic, fashionable, a go-getter (I could go all the way to Z but you get the idea). I just don’t see how pantyhose makes you a doormat. Despite the witch hunts in the 70’s, bras survived the burnings at the stake and now make Victoria’s Secret executives very wealthy. Women love bras so much these days that they like to show them off, peeking out from low-cut tops and tanks. For the record, most of that looks good. So why the pantyhose protest? Not comfortable, you say? Uh-huh. Show me a ultra-padded, lace-trimmed, sequin-encrusted push-up that is comfortable. Bottom line – if you’re in a skirted suit for business, you need hose. Make ’em dark opaque tights if you want, but you need hose. Period. It looks totally unprofessional otherwise.

Catherine’s bold fashion choice has inspired classic hose manufacturers like L’eggs and No Nonsense to ramp up their advertising. I saw a TV add for L’eggs over the holidays – classy and nice. I didn’t see anything to remind me of June Cleaver or the Dark Ages.

I challenge you to experiment. Go get yourself a pair of nude colored hose. They won’t set you back more than $5 or $6. That’s just two Starbuck’s Frappie-Machio-somethings. Then wear them out to your next dressy occasion. Spring is coming … you’re going to a wedding, shower or graduation…wear them. See what happens.

If you truly hate them, you can always cut the legs off, put 3 tennis balls in a leg, tie off the cut end and give it to the dog for a toy.


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