The Curse of the Pantyhose

dark sheer

After an epic struggle, guest blogger Kristen Anderson Short has reached a decision. A decision women across this country and around the world face.

Pantyhose. The worst invention ever for women. I only wear them out of necessity in really cold weather.

Recently, I noticed a run in my hose. Had a board meeting that day, so at lunch I ran out to get a new pair of name brands in my size.

Back at the office, I tugged and tugged to pull them on. No matter how hard I pulled, I could not get the blasted things all the way up. Had I grown to five feet six inches, the height of my dreams?

Unfortunately, no. The new pantyhose were too short.

light sheer

My board meeting loomed. I had no choice but to go with it. Women, you know how uncomfortable that is. Men, you can guess.

Made it through the day and met some friends after work. But even two glasses of wine didn’t make the pantyhose feel any better.

I was ready to trash them when I had a change of heart. Why not save them as my emergency backup pair?

A few days later when another pair of hose ran, I reached for the emergency backup pair. Sure, they were too short, but I could fix them.

I stepped on their feet. I pulled and pulled and PULLED, stretching them as far as I could. It was a miracle. They went on and up no problem!

patterned & footless

Then I moved, and they ran faster than Flo Jo in the 1988 Olympics.

I’m not talking about a tiny run. My hose looked like I’d been dragged down the street behind a Harley. Like I’d been out all night partying with the band and forgot to go home before work to change.

With no other pair of hose, no tights, and no clean pants, I made the walk of shame into my office. The minute I got the chance, I hightailed it to the store to buy yet another pair of pantyhose.

(This is the fourth pair in the story in case you’ve lost count.)

Gingerly, I pulled them on. They ran before I made it out of the bathroom.

Once bitten, twice shy, I converted to tights that day and never looked back.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 6 NIV

Clear the stage for the bad boy hair band that looks remarkably tame by today’s standards. Great White, Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

guest blogger Kristen Anderson Short

The lovely Kristen Anderson Short and I went to high school together.

Kristen works as a housing and foreclosure counselor for a local government agency.

A single mom of two teenagers, she enjoys reading, talking politics, and finding the humor in everyday life—sans hose.

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Filed under family & friends, humor, women's studies

17 Responses to The Curse of the Pantyhose

  1. Pantyhoses are the bane of any woman’s existence. And it’s even worse when you happen to be not skinny. For me, just finding a pair that goes around my thighs is near impossible, and I’m not even really big – I just happen to have bulky muscles from fencing. And I’m so on the same page. When I discovered tights with the little silicon strap in the top that don’t fall down, I’m pretty sure the heavenly choirs started to sing in the store. :)

    On another note: men in the summertime get to wear light-colored slacks and/or khakis in lightweight fabrics that breathe. Women get to wear… nylons, that we sweat under, keep us suffocated and feeling sweaty and hot all day. Etiquette or not, this is just mean. :p

    • It seems like there are a lot more workplaces and industries now that don’t require women to wear hose all the time the way they used to. I don’t think law is one of those though. Pant suits as an option, perhaps?

      • Pant suits are the way to GO. I guess it’s part of having grown up in the Nineties :p but I absolutely love them! When I was a high school senior, our school had a traditions that seniors dress more formally for their last week of studies. By that time, I already owned a decent collection of pant suits, so I was one of the few girls who showed up every day wearing a different (pant) suit!

  2. I am skinny, but I always felt like a stuffed sausage when I wore pantyhose. I gave them up in my mid 50’s along with contact lenses, under-wire bras and eyeliner. Life is so much kinder as a result!

  3. Tomi

    Why didn’t you get the right size? I wear them all the time and don’t have any problems with them. In fact, they last me a very long time before I need to wear a new pair! And I wear ultra sheers a lot. Sounds to me like you have been buying the wrong size and maybe cheap pantyhose! Try something in a different size and maybe a different brand. They can be really comfortable! Sorry you had such a bad experience!

  4. I don’t know how to tell you this… but I wear them very regularly. Sheer pantyhose, to be exact. Often VERY sheer styles. And I rarely get runs in them… when I do, it’s usually after I’ve worn and washed them 4 or more times. If I’m particularly abusive, a new pair may perish on the 2nd wearing. It sounds like you need to modify the way you put them on. Use less fingernail and more of the palm of your hand to help pull them up. One handy tip: wet your hands ever so slightly, and then grip your legs to pull your hose up. Your slightly wet hands will tend to grip the hose, helping you get them perfectly in place with no struggle…. assuming you have purchased the right size / style to begin with. ;-)

    • Great tips! Would you mind sharing with all of us what brands you find to be the best? I’m wondering if that was the issue with our guest blogger’s experience…

      • Sure thing. Here are a few gems that should be easy to find in any city:

        – Victoria’s Secret: They have always had some kind of hosiery offering, and they have always been very good. Though their current line up leans heavily toward thigh highs / stockings, they do have 2 pantyhose styles available in their stores right now. They wear very well and look nice on the leg. They are a mid-priced pair coming in around $15/ pr. (the particular style I recommend, the tanga top) is not on their website. Store only.)

        – Nordstrom’s “Sheer French Cut Pantyhose” are a solid pair that one will get several wearings from. They tend to run a bit long in the leg, so these are a great choice for taller women. When I read that your friend struggled so much to get her hose pulled up all the way, I wondered about her height. Some brands tend to “run short” and some “run long”, no pun intended. $10 / pr

        – The reason this article exists is because of an emergency situation; here’s a diamond in the rough that’s easy to find in a pinch: L’egg’s Sheer Vitality. You’ll be able to find them in a grocery store if you are in crisis mode. They are cheap (about $5), they are surprisingly durable, and bonus deal: they feel really nice on your legs.

        Hosiery should accentuate your outfit and your day, not put a damper on it. The right fit is critical. A pair that fits you well won’t constantly sag, you’ll forget you have them on – but everyone else will notice your beautiful legs. The yarns that constitute pantyhose are not all created equally – some feel like burlap on your skin, some feel like silk. Lastly, some are more durable than others. Often times durability and feel have an inversely correlated relationship – but there are pairs out there that deliver both, exquisitely. The European hosiery mills are light years ahead of what’s available in the USA: better quality, better feel, and less expensive. (There are some that are more expensive too: Fogal, Woldord, Falke, Gerbe…. these are the Audi’s, BMW’s and Mercedes of hosiery. Expensive but worth it). Stop by to check out some great options – both inexpensive, and luxurious – from some European makers. They’ll ship right to your door.

        Paul Duane

  5. Binky

    Learn to find pantyhose that fit you..
    Pantyhose are sexy ladies! boo to bare legs and the “tree branch”, Flintstone look!

  6. Emily Dukart

    It must be a control thing women are trying to break away from. Normally women want to look good. Bare legs do not look good compared to hosiery. Same as no make up on your face… let’s hope these poor women don’t start to think facial make up is a ridiculous look :) I thought women liked to look pretty. ? Seems odd.

    • Aimee @

      Thanks for the comment, Emily. You know, I think it’s a matter of personal taste, convenience, and comfort. One of my favorite stylistas the late Charla Krupp wrote that pantyhose make women look old and dated. Other women love them. To each her own, I guess.
      PS: No plans to go without makeup (or bras) any time soon. A girl has to draw the line somewhere.