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The Hose Conundrum … Who makes these decisions?

With so many important issues to dissect, the conservative Wall Street Journal is reporting on whether or not you should wear … hose!

A momentous occasion for any young girl used to be mom’s agreeing: “Yes, you’re old enough to wear stockings now.” (That is what we called them.) This was an initiation into womanhood, and the equation was willingly welcomed. Pain+discomfort (i.e. shaving, pointy-toed heels, padded strapless bras, tiny girdles, garter belts, even corsets) equaled beautification. And stockings … well … you just weren’t a correct young lady if you didn’t wear them. (The gift of some silk ones in those WWII movies inevitably landed most GI’s in bed.)

Never mind that as the humidity soared and the heat reached 97 degrees, we’d sweat like not-such-adorable pigs. Or that our lovely young legs looked far more beautiful bare. Who could forget the rush to the counter when panty hose came onto the market! And, there was that life changing slogan, something like: “All you need now is a great pair of L’eggs.”

Hose were worth it all … the inevitable runs … the unflattering colors (remember white) … the outgoing dollars. Everyday. Unquestionably.

Today the water cooler discussions are about whether to wear hose at all, as the WSJ’s “Bare-Legged Ladies: Hosiery Reveals Office Divide” attests. The conundrum doesn’t end at work. There’s the decision about whether to wear hose out to dinner tonight … or to lunch with girlfriends … or to the party surrounded by young women who, I can assure you, wouldn’t wear hose if their lives depended upon it. Or should you pack them when you’re going away?

The irony, of course, is that NOW I’ve come to LOVE hose because they make my shoes fit better. In the winter they keep my legs warm, and in the summer they keep my feet from blistering in the heat (powder and those footsie thing-a-ma-jigs do not do it). NOW I actually NEED hose to camouflage my age-spotted vein-ridden legs (OK, I’m exaggerating, but only a little). NOW I WANT to wear hose, yet it’s become decidedly uncool to put them on. In fact, hose-wearing legs communicate that you really just “don’t get it” (as Domenica, snoety’s dressing expert, doesn’t forget to remind me)!

I vaguely recollect that Donna Karan was initially responsible for dictating that hose were passé. But, then, she later came up with her hosiery line “the nudes”.

Did someone or something else happen that I missed? And who makes these decisions anyway?

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

QUESTION FROM SNOETY: If you live or travel outside the U.S., what’s the consensus where you are when it comes to wearing — or not wearing — hose?

Snoety symbol
Annie says: June 18th, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Hooray for you H. Hose were passe in Europe years ago! Not for me! I look better with panty hose (sans the girdles and garter belts) that we wore when we were thin as sticks! I get tired of the of designers deciding what’s in and what’s out! One year the new neutral color was grey, which makes me look sick! (But all one could find in the stores)! I do my own thing and don’t pay attention anymore. Yes I pack hose and wear them anywhere if I wear a dress.

barbara says: June 19th, 2008 at 1:15 am

Personally, about the hose—I’m into socks !!! Colored, printed, long, short, thin, padded, socks for every occasion—!!! They can be sophisticated and comfortable and make your feet feel like heaven !!!
Give them a try !!!

Mary says: September 18th, 2008 at 8:59 pm

I was always told that women had to wear hose in a business environment. They also had to wear closed toe shoes. Open toes conveyed improper flirtiness and sandles present a safety hazard as well as a declaration that the woman doesn’t take work seriously. It is with horror that I have witnessed women coming to work bare legged and wearing flip flops. In general, they tend to be young, and many are in the office, as summer hires. They are viewed my the more senior residents of the office as “kids.” Thier casual manner of dress feeds the youthful impression they are making on the older members of the office. So while I think young ladies frequently have great looking legs and I support their right to go bare legged on their own time, I wonder why they haven’t been told to wear something more appropriate to work? Is it that men can not comfortably speak to them about this issue out of fears of sexual harassment? Or is it that they take their cues on how to dress from fashion magazines and TV shows rather than their mothers and senior women in the office. I think they should be looking more to the women who have been in their corporations for a while to judge what the norms are for their workplace, rather than media sources.

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