Michelle Obama's appearance on The View last month — sans pantyhose — has women debating whether to don them or diss them. Pantyhose had already become a topic of conversation on the show when Barbara Walters reluctantly stopped wearing them on the air after her co-hosts convinced her it is no longer necessary. On the day of the Michelle Obama appearance, Walters decided she had better wear them, and then, lo and behold, Obama herself showed up bare-legged. So they asked Obama to weigh in on the debate. She said she does not wear pantyhose because they are uncomfortable, and since she's tall, hard to find in her size. She later clarified that she wore them on cold days and for special occasions.
Elizabeth Wellington, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer (and reprinted by The Seattle Times), described the shift in thinking about the necessity of pantyhose: "As it stands now, life without sheer hose is easier, trendier, hipper and definitely more fashion forward."
In Seattle, the land of casual, we don't have much issue with pantyhose. Most of us follow the Michelle Obama school of bare legs. There are holdouts: Downtown Seattle consulting firms often have stringent dress codes that require pantyhose with a skirt. But they also tell employees what color shirts are acceptable with suits — except for casual Friday, when hose and shirt color are optional. More likely if an office has a dress code, it will dictate skirt length (knee-length), but allow open-toed shoes and not require hose.
Last month, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen at Time-blog.com commented on her preference for bare legs and listed an interesting counterpoint from Barbara Pachter, author of NewRules@Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead.
Personally, I think it depends on the person and the occasion. If it makes you feel more comfortable to have extra coverage, then wear them. And to you, may I recommend the most comfortable and natural looking brand at the best value: DKNY.
If you are not required to wear hose at work, then don't. Just remember, right or wrong, people will have an opinion, and it may be the person sitting next to you at work who cares the most. One woman I know from the Midwest said she finds all the ghostly white legs in Seattle a bit shocking. Another woman in a downtown office I spoke with likes to wear hose, and even though it's a bit unfair, she thinks women with nice, dark legs look great without them. She added, "However, big, white, prickly legs are just unattractive."
What about health issues? AJ Plaid blog posts at MichelleObamaWatch.com: "Also, no one is speaking about the health benefit of not wearing pantyhose all the time – it decreases chances of yeast infection. So, for the sake of vaginal health, perhaps we should thank Michelle Obama for shifting fashion."
What do you think?