Fashionable DC, Life in the Capital, The Features

The Devil Wore Hose

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

It’s oppressively hot this week. A scorcher. Another record-breaker in a year unfavorably full of cruel weather. Some of you will be able to go about your work day in “summer business casual,” but for others, you’ll soldier on in full battle gear. And for many women in our unfairly unfashionably maligned city, that means pantyhose.

Ugh. Really?

Though sales of pantyhose have been on the decline since the mid-nineties, there are still offices that require them for women’s dress year-round. The excuse normally given for such a dress code is that they give the wearer a “polished, professional look.”  As they are more precisely termed actual underwear, I find it a bit vulgar to be told by anyone other than my mother that I should be wearing pantyhose. Wear hose when the garment requires it – something form-fitting and unlined, for example – but with a knee-length lined skirt? If one is well-groomed there should be no need.

And in disgusting 100-degree weather, there is no need to wear pantyhose other than to cover what is bare – which implies that it’s wrong to bare your legs in an office. Why? I’m by no means a radical feminist, but I can’t stand rules with no discernible logic, and especially not rules that are based on perceptions rather than facts. After all, it’s not so long ago that business women in this city were told never to wear pantsuits, only suits with skirts. What was the logic there?

Let’s step back for some history, a fun fashion tangent on clothing codes, before we shred more hose. For example, high heels. Did you know high heels started out as a male fashion necessity?  Continue reading