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Hosiery: perks and purposes

They have many names: pantyhose, tights, nylons, stockings. But no matter what you call them, they can be uncomfortable to wear and challenging to put on!

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By Brittney Hensman (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: September 17, 2014

When are bare legs appropriate, and when should you wear nylons? Image: Jessica T.

When are bare legs appropriate, and when should you wear nylons? Image: Jessica T.

They have many names: pantyhose, tights, nylons, stockings. But no matter what you call them, they can be uncomfortable to wear and challenging to put on!

However, hosiery has a purpose other than sheer misery. Nylons were originally created to protect and enhance your feet and legs, which was necessary as skirts and dresses were the only appropriate articles for women to wear.

But since we can wear pants, women no longer view hosiery as a necessity. Bare legs have become a widely accepted social fashion norm, and ladies typically don’t have to think twice about their legs when wearing a skirt or dress.

But nylons actually make legs look great and have many positive aspects.

Nude nylons work wonders in giving you a smooth and even skin tone — especially if you are like me and battle pasty white skin — and black nylons are bold but classy and have a slimming effect on one’s legs. Nylons can also save you a shave, and you don’t have to worry about moisturizing! Furthermore, despite their minimal ability to keep one warm, they still do provide protection against the weather, liberating you to wear a skirt in the winter.

So when is hosiery a good option? There are a few socially acceptable rules surrounding skirt-wearing and the need for hosiery in certain settings.

First, you should wear them at the office, where the dress code is often sharp, put-together, and classy. Wearing nylons on your legs completes this look.

Second, when attending or participating in weddings, bridal showers, garden parties, and other formal events, nylons on your legs indicate modesty, elegance, grace, and poise.

Be sure not to wear nylons with sandals, and beware of the peep-toe shoe — remember that in nylons, your toes are not free and exposed. Also, having the seam of the nylons peep through the hole of your peep-toes reveals your secret — your smooth legs are in fact simulated. The nylon/sandal combo echoes the “no socks and sandals” rule.

So when are bare legs appropriate? When it’s hot, having tight synthetic material clinging to your legs can be a very unpleasant experience. Furthermore, it will make people feel uncomfortable on your behalf.

Skin tone: those who are blessed with an even skin tone, who tan well, or who are olive or chocolate in colour can get away with exposing their bare legs without the needless worry of frightening their onlookers with blinding flashes of light — AKA their white legs!

Don’t get caught up in thinking nylons are for old ladies only, that they will give you elephant ankles, or that only the royal family can rock them. If you begin to wear them again I can guarantee nylons will magically cover a multitude of leg-manicuring issues, and if added to your wardrobe, effectively serve a functional purpose.

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