Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bare Legs and Bad Choices

Well, I made the mistake of clicking on one of those MSN teasers about what the movie stars wore to the People’s Choice Awards and saw that the so-called well-dressed are still undressed with bare legs. Britain’s  new royal princess may have had brief success in making hosiery acceptable again, but America’s fake royalty are still showing up with ugly legs. What is it with current trends in fashion these days?

Yeah, I know. For the same reason that I don’t know who half of the young movie stars are, and the fact that bare legs look unsightly to me, I am showing my age. I do realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is relative and subjective, that styles do change, and all that, but come on, some things are just not attractive.

I’m not sure why or when, exactly, bare legs became acceptable. According to an article by Greg Morago in the Los Angeles Times in 1999, much of the bare legs movement can be attributed to the bare legs of the four stars of Sex and the City, those paragons  of proper and acceptable behavior. That explains a lot.

That article also talked about bare legs being this generation’s answer to going braless in the 60s. Both are supposed to be liberating and empowering for the individuals who embrace the style. Really? Freed you up to have ugly legs and sloppy shirt fronts?  If you are younger than 30, are tan and/or have olive skin, you might be able to get away with no hose. That and an endless supply of self-tanner or that stuff Joan Rivers sells to cover up the fact that you don’t have on hose. So what exactly is it that you are liberated from? If the legs have to be camouflaged to look good, and in the process probably  get make-up all over your skirt hem, why not just wear hose and have your feet feel more comfortable in your shoes besides?

I suppose bare legs  also go along with the trend of dressing down in general that has been going on the last several years. Kind of like the frayed, holey jeans which I haven’t seen as much of lately, thank goodness. I read an article in the paper last August that said hosiery was making a come-back, at least for fall, but what I see doesn’t support that.  I can remember the last three awards ceremonies we have attended at the high school auditorium and the bare-legged female teachers who presented awards apparently didn’t own or didn’t bother to check their image in a full-length mirror to see how gross those legs were going to look up on that stage in the bright lights for all to see.

I also read an article  last January that talked about the demise of the necktie for businessmen. Then today I read an article in Vogue magazine (full of beautiful, expensive, impractical clothing that the average woman will never wear-but some of their articles are equally beautifully written) about  hair that was all about looking unfixed, what they called the “deliberately disheveled-couldn’t- care-less-but-doesn’t-it-look-chic look.” They are right about one thing-it does look like they couldn’t care less. The hair looked stringy and dirty to me, but definitely not chic.

And apparently the next  hot fashion statement is wearing pajamas to school and shopping. That one is so lacking in class I don’t think I will even waste the time and space commenting on it.

It used to be you could walk into just about any type of business and the employees looked clean, neat, proud to be there, and  like they knew what they were doing. Not as reassuring today when flip-flops, hoodies, tattered jeans, talking T-shirts, and grungy hair is what greets you. Well, that is, what greets you when you can finally take an employee’s  attention away from the blasted cell phone or just get them to get up out of the chair to begrudgingly wait on you.

I like to wear flip-flops, too, where appropriate;  I don’t want to go back to the days of corsets, girdles, layers of petticoats,  and raised disapproving eyebrows  either,  but  I would like to go back to an attitude of pride in one’s appearance and appropriate dress that shows respect for the occasion, whatever that occasion might be. We tend to act commensurately with how we look, and some of society’s actions could use a dress-up day, too.


Critchell, Samantha. “Fashion says hosiery is making a comeback, but is it pure torture or polish?” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 24, 2011.

Harris, Sarah.”She’s Come Undone,” Vogue magazine, October 2011; p. 268-69.

Morago, Greg. “Fashion’s New Trend Appears to Have (Bare)Legs.”  http://articles.latimes.com/1999/nov/19/news

Wolf, Alan M. “Neckties begin to lose corner-office following.” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 30, 2011.


shtrgrd said...

Well said. Looking classy, attractive and feminine is apparently no longer in style for ladies these days. Thanks to the few who still haven't given in to that unfortunate trend.

I'm a guy for full disclosure.

Alice Liles said...

It's nice to know I am not the only one who feels this way about the no hose landslide. Thanks for reading, shtrgrd.

Brian said...

Hi Alice,
Just want to say thank you for writing a very excellent article. I do have to agree with you. These days women are dressing very tacky, sloppy, and unprofessional especially when it comes to bare legs.

I do see women try to pull it off and their legs are downright awful and disgusting unless they are tanned and free of blemishes. I am from Canada, and a majority of women up here wear pantyhose and tights because of colder climate and low key nature unlike parts of the USA.

However, there is still a few women up here that tend to follow the American trend and go bare legged especially in the colder weather which sometimes has me thinking if these women are insane?

There is no doubt in my mind that Sex and the City did start the bare legs movement which has lead to the fashion industry, celebrities, media, and women in general following the trend like sheep.

I have a friend named Robin who is a president of Act Sensous, a company that sell pantyhose and has encourage women to wear pantyhose and not follow the bare legs movement. Much like you, Robin has also been critical of the bare leg trend, and has linked it to Sex and the City, most notably, Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw.

Robin runs the Act Sensous blog. Feel free to introduce yourself, read the blog posts, and post your comments on this blog. Robin likes having a women's view of pantyhose on her blog.

Here is the link to the blog:



Alice Liles said...

Thanks for reading, Brian, and for the link to the ActSenuous blog. All of the pictures Robin uses to prove her point add to the debate.

Anonymous said...

This is the third article I've read as I was researching the "bare at all cost" subject as I have varicose veins and yet tried to use good reason in hot summer months.
Regarding who started this trend-Carrie Bradshaw picked up only what she likely saw her big sisters do-going bare legged in summer with tanned legs and heeled sandals. It was not just freeing it was sexy. But now?
I can't tell you how bad it feels to not have that sexy summer look. I liked feeling sexy yet I cursed it at times. After all these years Sexy is a thing of the past....with or without pantyhose.

Alice Liles said...

Anonymous, I wish I had some words of wisdom for you with regards to sexy bare legs, but alas, age and medical issues do take their toll in that regard. I love the trendy high heels and wish I could wear them like the young long-legged models do-they can get away with it. The reality is that my time has passed for that. But if it helps, I do think sexy is a state of mind, and like true beauty, it comes from within, so don't give up! Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking a stand and posting an article on the obvious! Wearing no pantyhose is like going out without any type of make up or not taking care of your hair.

I use to wear pantyhose everyday, but have been fighting stage four colon cancer since July 2010 that was also found in my Liver at that time. I even had my pantyhose on under my jean shorts when checking into the hospital, lol.

Since my colon surgery May 2012, I can only wear thigh highs because of the pain. Yet pantyhose fashion is a part of my lifestyle and I have always had compliments, even in the hospital my dear.

I have an article on my blog also that you can include with this comment or you can delete this part if you want, but thank you!


Sweet Dreams,
Sweetnpantyhose and Outlaw

Alice Liles said...

The pantyhose debate continues! Thanks for reading, Sweetnpantyhose.

andy katz said...

Granted this is already a few months old, but since TV Land is showing a Three's a Company minithon I'd thought I'd opine a bit here. I'm a man who came of age in the late sixties-early 70's. I still remember when, in seventh grade, kneesocks vanished overnight & were placed with opaque, ill-fitting panty hose (for the girls, that is;-).

Not a good swap, imho.

Personally I don't like hose, stockings or tights. And don't think legs have to match someone's idea of perfection to be attractive & sexy. Paradoxically, as plastic surgery becomes nearly a do-it-at-home deal, we've also gotten more used to seeing scars & blemishes (could Michael Williams have become a star twenty years ago?).

After all, I don't think anyone's suggesting arm, back or shoulder hose ... & these areas aren't always blemish-free. Even in business settings, there's nothing odd about a female executive removing her jacket to reveal a sleeveless top, so why must she wear hose below? If Michele Obama doesn't have to, why should she?

I think, too, in practical terms hose won't make any sort of significant comeback at least until winter because energy costs have compelled many large companies to reduce their summer air conditioning settings, raising temps to 75 or 76 in some offices. Compelling workers to wear hose in a setting like that would as cruel as it is senseless.

All that said, however, if someone feels better, more confident, attractive ... or just warmer in pantyhose, then by all means. I don't think they're disgusting, just unnecessary. It's just unfortunate to see so much disparagement by hose advocates of those who choose to eschew them.

Final thought, when I think of top tier elegance--say the Academy Awards--I think of simplicity, a single piece of fabric wrapped elegantly around her form, complimenting what should be & perhaps hiding what shouldn't. Hose with such outfits seems to add a needless complication, particularly as lengths can vary with the wearer's preference.

Thanks for bearing with me:-)


Alice Liles said...

Interesting commentary, Andy. And you are right about the arms-sometimes they are not a woman's best feature to be on display, either. I realize that some women can get away with no hose, especially the younger ones, but truly, there are some of us out there who need to check the mirror before venturing forth with bare legs. I know that some women find hosiery too hot; for me that never seemed to be an issue. But thanks for another perspective on the issue!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with all that you have said. I am 27 and have slim and toned legs with no cellulite but I never show bare legs because I just don't think it's acceptable (unless you are about 14 or under). Also if people do want to go bare legged, they should take the time to look in the mirror and be honest with themselves about whether they can pull that look off. If you are 40 and have nice slim toned legs with an even skin-tone then go for it.. if you are 16 with wobbly cellulite covered legs, best wear hose. It can't be that hard to judge oneself. Also regarding flip flops - I wear them too.. as slipper in my house and garden, at the swimming pool and at the beach, that's it. They aren't shoes. It makes me cringe when I see people wear them around capital cities!

Elvira Muller said...

Thank you for this really excellent well written and tastefully humorous article. I agree on all counts. I prefer to wear stockings and feel my h better for it. As a lover of fashion from my childhood I am sad to see my once wonderful passion presently looks tacky unfinished and sloppy