In Praise of Pantyhose … or Not

I’m well aware that certain designers and stylists heavily promote the idea that panty hose are the worst thing that ever happened and no woman should ever wear them.  If you actually agree with that, I’m not about to argue that you should do otherwise.  But if you are just being pressured into following this “new rule”,   here are a few good reasons to think the opposite as well as some alternatives.

  1. I find panty hose perfectly comfortable.  Most of us wear tights all the time in cooler weather – and that feels almost exactly like panty hose, right?
  2. Body-shaper panty hose smooth out one’s figure from the waist down.  Those of a certain age just aren’t as firm as we used to be, so this can be a lovely plus.
  3. I think it is cooler in hot weather.  To be explicit, when the alternative is having my sweaty thighs rubbing together, I’ll opt for panty hose every time.
  4. Panty hose even out my skin tone color too – and even with strappy or backless shoes I don’t find them overly noticeable.
  5. Speaking of shoes, panty hose also keep your feet from feeling sweaty in your shoe – and you know how yucky that feels, right?

There are plenty of brands and types to choose from.  My preference is Great Shapes All-Over Shaper from NoNonsense.  I choose the Beige Mist color and buy one size larger than my height/weight would suggest.  That way I don’t get an obvious roll above the waistband.  (They also offer a Super-Sheer version if you prefer.)

I toss them right into the washer with my delicate things and hang them to dry.  Unless you are a rabid panty hose-hater I’d invite you to pick up a pair at your local drug store or Target.  If you like them you can reorder more affordably at

If you really are happier with a bare leg, but don’t have time to get a great tan, try Jergens Natural Glow (Walgreens, CVS) moisturizer and self-tanner.  Builds up subtle, natural color over a few days.  For best results, hpe in the shower, exfoliate first to remove dry, dead skin.  Turn off the shower and apply the creme, rubbing it into your damp skin.  Apply sparingly to rougher areas like knees, ankle and elbows.  Pat dry; the color won’t come off  on your towel.  Repeat every other day until you et the color you want, then 2x week to maintain.

Get gentle shaping – in comfort – with Jockey brand Skimmies breathable slip-shorts. This long-length underwear style provides smoothing coverage with lightweight, stretchy microfiber fabric (79% nylon/ 18% spandex/ 3% cotton) and a seam-free design. Wider waist and leg bands offer a stay-put fit for all-day comfort.  I tried the shorter version, but found the leg openting tended to roll up a bit.

NOTE: I am not compensated for directing you to these products.  I avoid affiliate programs because I don’t want to risk having my recommendations influenced by financial considerations.

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Nancy G on June 3, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I almost always wear pantyhose with a dress/ skirt, unless it is an obviously casual look such as a sundress to be worn with sandals. When you get to be a certain age, those veins & discolorations on legs & feet are NOT appealing, especially with an office or dressy look. For me pantyhose really adds a finished, polished look to an outfit. I live downtown & in the cold months, am amazed to see most working women in dresses NOT wearing hosiery, & some wearing dressy sandals! They are always obviously cold! Oh well, just my two cents on the topic!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on June 4, 2019 at 7:33 am

      One more strong opinion on this topic – thanks fir sharing it.
      Also thanks for sending me off into daydreams of a downtown lifestyle. My husband works downtown and I’m trying to convince him that we should buy a 1-BR condo in one of the many buidings they are renovating here. Not to live full-time – just for ovrnight get-aways and snow nights and out-of-town gusts. Of course I’m also lobbying for a pull-behind camper (how’s that for opposite extremes?). And a re-do of our patio. Might have to settle for two out of three, you think?

      • Sherry on June 4, 2019 at 4:45 pm

        I have just fallen in love with a yurt ! My son and his wife rented one as an Air B&B complete with wooden floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher door that matched the cabinetry, WiFi, and Dish TV reception — out in the North Carolina wilderness ! Who knew ?

        • Nancy Nix Rice on June 4, 2019 at 7:02 pm

          Who knew, for sure! I’ve seen rustic ones in a local campground, but never thhought about there being this upscale version. Nice way to enjoy the wilderness.

  2. Cathy Huber on June 3, 2019 at 8:07 am

    I agree that “older” legs often look better in panty hose rather than bare. At least mine do. Nice to hear that wearing panty hose, even with sandals, isn’t the worst fashion choice.

    • Nancy Van Apeldoorn on June 3, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      I’m with you about the panty hose! They make for younger looking legs.

      • Nancy Nix Rice on June 4, 2019 at 7:04 am

        They sure do on me – appreciate your reenforcement for beaking the so-called “rule” on this one.

  3. Lucy Beale Partridge on June 3, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Even though panty hose seem like a great choice, they are
    1. uncomfortable
    2. look old fashioned
    3. Have that ick-feel factor

    I prefer mixing a bit of skin-tone or tan-toned mineral makeup into a skin oil/cream to apply to my legs to make the “old-lady” factor diminish.

    Black tights, though, are my go-to in winter. And I wear those sexy Wolford designs when appropriate.

    If I went to an office daily, I would wear slacks rather than deal with pantyhose.

    I don’t work in an office, so I can avoid them

    • Nancy Nix Rice on June 4, 2019 at 7:13 am

      This is a topic on which nobofy serms to be neutral. Fun to hear from people who love their panty hose and people who hate them. The great news is that we an all make the choice that’s right for us.

  4. Terri D on June 3, 2019 at 10:41 am

    I agree with you both…never found them to be uncomfortable even in the hottest part of summer. great article. Thanks!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on June 4, 2019 at 7:19 am

      The variety of opinions here is fun to read. People seem to eitherlove’e or hate ’em. I’m on the “love” side with you, but to each her own.

    • Carla on July 1, 2023 at 6:36 am

      Oh I concur, I wear pantyhose even through the summer months. My shoes last much longer wearing them and my legs sweat less too. The bottoms of my feet stay smoother when I continually wear hose for some reason. Finally, I enjoy the way a nice ultra sheer feels against my skin.

  5. Sharon on June 3, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    I’ve avoided wearing dresses for such a long time because I’m very light complected and my legs weren’t spotless to go bare legged. But I’d had enough. I attended an event recently where I needed to wear a dress. I purchased a pair of Hanes very sheer, very nude colored, control top pantyhose, and you couldn’t tell I was wearing them. I think the secret is to get them sheer and the closest match to your skin. (I was happy to read your comments on this issue, Nancy. Thanks.)

    • Nancy Nix Rice on June 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

      Glad you found it helful. And so glad you got over worrying about ‘imperfect” legs. Nobody is perfect except the airbrushed images in magazines. And no NY designer gets to make a “rule” that we all must or must not do ANYTHING. My goal is to help women understand the impact of various choices and they can do the thing that’s best for them.

  6. Tamra Schenk on June 9, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Because of a vein problem, I’ve worn support pantyhose for many years. I wear them all the time, even with pants and I’m completely used to them. I think that I’d probably wear them anyway because of the reasons you have suggested, especially evening out my skin tone. I like to match the color (tone) of my hose to the color of my skirt or pants to give me a taller, sleeker appearance which means that I usually wear taupe with my darker, fall/winter clothing and nude with my lighter spring/summer clothes.

  7. Laura DeLong on June 17, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you SO much for the tip about Jergen’s Natural Glow. In just two weeks I’ve lost the pasty Midwest winter look without a dyed appearance. It’s amazing for a person who cannot tan to look like summer for the first time in her life.

  8. Carla J. on August 27, 2021 at 2:31 am

    I am always in my ultra sheers even during hot summer months. I discovered long ago that my legs indeed sweat much less and seem cooler when wearing than going bare legged. To me there is something very special about wearing pantyhose that’s difficult to convey to my friends that refuse to wear. I find it very nice that I can take an occasional pause throughout the day to feel that silkiness.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on August 27, 2021 at 9:13 am

      I know opinions vary widely, but I’m in total alignment with your enthusiadm.

  9. Carla J. on August 27, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Dear Nancy,
    You described my love for hosiery as “enthusiasm”. What an impeccable word. An interesting thing is that through the decades from my very first time of being in hose (in my freshman year of high school) I never lost that enthusiasm. I only wish the gals whom I associate with had the same enthusiasm to still wear. I think they are missing out on a little slice of heaven. Oh, and I think it’s safe to say that my healthy and nice looking legs can be attributed to my consistent wear of pantyhose.

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