Small blemishes on legs - pantyhose to work?
July 1, 2010 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Pantyhose to work?

After ten years of being a lab rat in grad school and thereafter, I just took a corporate position. A complete (fun!) overhaul of my wardrobe resulted in the purchase of a handful of skirts that I am dying to wear...

...but I hate pantyhose. However, I play flag football, and rugby, and while my legs aren't horribly scarred, there are enough bruises/ small blemishes from scratches, etc, that are visible. My genetics necessitate a pretty much daily shaving maintenance routine post-waxing, and my sensitive skin doesn't always react well to razors :(.

When I go out, I keep my legs bare, and friends claim I'm the only one that sees these marks, but they're there. My legs definitely have blemishes. My question is, should I suffer the annoyance of pantyhose on a daily basis, or are a few blemishes/ small scars acceptable in a work environment? I am otherwise very well-groomed, stylish, and work-appropriate.

Thanks for your input. :)

**As far as I can tell, the dress code at this place is business casual, and we're a biotech company in Santa Monica, Los Angeles - a few blocks from the beach. I've seen everything from leopard print sweater sets to flowy skirts and knee-length patterned dresses.
posted by Everydayville to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wear pantyhose to work between October and April, bare legs the rest of the year, as long as it's warm enough. Work at an NYC law firm, and this seems to be the norm.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:14 AM on July 1, 2010

Listen to your friends - I doubt anyone else does notices blemishes on your legs.

I would definitely not wear pantyhose in a business casual office in Southern California. I work in conservative North Carolina as an assistant to high level executives and I often don't wear them even here, especially when it's warm.

If you really think it's very noticeable, I'd wear them to client meetings or other events when it's more important for you to look very professional, but on a daily basis, don't bother.
posted by something something at 10:16 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sounds like wearing pantyhose won't be necessary, and rarely is anymore really. I have women in their 60s who don't wear pantyhose in my office, and their legs are less than perfect. I think it's normally required in strict offices with suit requirements, but nowhere else.

It's always good to look around at what other women are doing, too. If most of them don't bother, neither should you.
posted by two lights above the sea at 10:16 AM on July 1, 2010

They're not typically considered necessary any more except in the most conservative environments, assuming the weather doesn't require leg coverings.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:18 AM on July 1, 2010

I also hate pantyhose.

Know what I find more comfortable? Thigh high stockings! I know it's kind of counterintuitive, because a lot of people think of them as very fussy and/or sexy in a contrived way.
But seriously, stay-up thigh highs are more comfortable than pantyhose. And garter belt and stockings?? Positively cozy! (as long as you're wearing the right size)

Barring that, Sally Hansen spray on pantyhose works reasonably well (but it needs time to dry, can be a bit of a pain in the ass, and will NOT keep your legs warm).
posted by couch fort dinner party at 10:18 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wear skirts with bare legs all summer to the office, and I dress conservatively for my business-casual office.

I personally think that bare legs with business suits look bizarre, but am overruled by the younger women (I'm in my 30s) who don't wear pantyhose under any circumstances. (Then again, they're not usually wearing suits, either.) Anyway, both tights and pantyhose are overall relatively common here on the East Coast with suits.

But I am given to understand that pantyhose are pretty much extinct on the West Coat?
posted by desuetude at 10:20 AM on July 1, 2010

No matter what your legs look like - and it sounds like they look fine - pantyhose will look worse. I didn't think anyone wore them anymore outside of very old-fashioned, conservative workplaces where it's part of the dress code.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:20 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]

I worked in biotech in San Diego and I can't say that I ever saw women, even in non-lab/semi-executive positions, wear pantyhose.

They won't care about your dinged-up legs at all, except to identify you as a possible recruit for the biotech league softball team.
posted by stefanie at 10:22 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

It definitely depends more on your work environment than anything else. I work in a business formal office building, and I've noticed women wearing suits without pantyhose. My department skews more business casual, and I've never worn them, and no one's ever said a word.

(Thank goodness, because I live in Florida, and, ew.)

Ditto for every other business casual place I've worked in. They're really not requisite anymore.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:22 AM on July 1, 2010

Former lawyer, now working in nonproft policy work: I stopped wearing pantyhose to work the minute I stopped going to court. If I'm presenting at a conference or meeting with heavy-hitting donors or chief judges or the like at Big Law, I put them back on. Otherwise, I find it's not necessary (i.e. no-one really notices or cares) as long as you are otherwise well-groomed and comfortable. Pantyhose help with the "well-groomed" thing by minimizing pantylines or weird bulges and accidentally flashing, so you need to be more cognizant of how you look from all angles if you're not wearing them, but otherwise, I don't think they're really necessary to be well-dressed.

Also, if you're that indeterminate older age, people assume you're even older if you wear pantyhose. This may or may not matter to you or in your industry, but it's something to consider.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:23 AM on July 1, 2010

I am in law offices, financial institutions and courthouses all the time and in the last couple of years pantyhose wearing has fallen off to the point that I notice if someone IS wearing them between April and October.
posted by readery at 10:28 AM on July 1, 2010

I think it also depends on the shoes you wear. I tend to wear pantyhose only when I wear pumps. I have not been able to find a pair of pumps that are comfortable without pantyhose or tights.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 10:29 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't think anyone this close to the beach (I'm 14 blocks from the beach in Santa Monica myself) gives a crap about pantyhose. You might surf at lunch, for all they know.

The last time I was dressed up nicely for something, I got a pair of Sock Dreams Extraordinary Thigh Highs and a garter belt and it was fine. They're a bit on the thicker side, though, and I doubt I'd want to wear them around here in July or August. (They were great yesterday, though. It was nasty out.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:33 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you're feeling self-conscious about bruises, could you dab some concealer on them? (That's a genuine question - I don't know from concealer; the thought just occurred to me.)
posted by ErikaB at 10:39 AM on July 1, 2010

Try brushing a little bronzer or powder foundation on your legs.Just a quick brush is all I do. It may be enough. Just make sure it doesn't get on your skirt.
posted by Vaike at 10:39 AM on July 1, 2010

I've got a vascular condition that makes the veins in my legs visible, and I still skip the pantyhose. I sort of feel like people take their lead from me, and if I don't seem self-conscious about it, they don't really notice. So anyway, if I do ok with my road-map legs, I think people will not be offended by a couple of little nicks and scars.
posted by craichead at 10:44 AM on July 1, 2010

Nthing recommendations for some kind of product, including one of the self-tanning lotions (Jergens makes a good one). If you use lotion anyway, just replace with this, and the added color will help mask some of those blemishes.

Also, your friends are almost certainly correct that they (and no one else) ever notice these blemishes. In a business casual environment, hose will stick out more than a few scrapes and bruises.

(Lawyer here, in a courthouse every day, almost never wears hose, and almost always has bruises on my legs because I'm a klutz.)
posted by devinemissk at 10:44 AM on July 1, 2010

Just as a data point, if I skipped wearing tights in my business professional office my boss would immediately notice. A coworker got a huge run in her pantyhose once and got a stern "just this once you can go barelegged but never again" warning.

My legs are perpetually bruised and nicked as well (I am a clumsy cyclist who wrestles her bike up and down flights of stairs regularly) and I actually wear knee high socks/over the knee socks/thigh highs pretty perpetually out in a casual setting when I do have a choice to go bare legged.

I like legwear, though. If I really hated it I might feel differently.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:45 AM on July 1, 2010

I have a giant bruise on my knee and a couple scratches on my shin, plus the whitest legs known to man and I'm wearing a skirt with no pantyhose today. No one will notice your small imperfections, and pantyhose are godawful uncomfortable, especially in the summer. If you play outdoor sports, I bet you have some tan on your legs, which really helps to hide blemishes. I occasionally use some bronzer or similar product to help with that.

In the winter if you want to wear hose, I second the recommendation for a garter belt and stockings. If you get something plain and correctly sized, you won't believe how much more comfortable they are.

Overall I rarely see women wearing hose in the summer anymore, and this is in the midwest. Hell, even Disney - who has some seriously strict dress code requirements - has even decided to allow their employees to go without hose.
posted by thejanna at 10:47 AM on July 1, 2010

Most people probably won't even notice the bruises and scratches. Just mention that you play flag football and rugby, and the few who *do* notice will have their curiosity satisfied and then they won't notice either.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:48 AM on July 1, 2010

I didn't think anyone wore them anymore. The last time it even came up was when we hired a woman in her sixties and after I offered her the job, she got kind of a desperate look in her eyes and asked if she'd be required to wear pantyhose. I laughed and stuck out my bare leg and said no. I don't see how bare legs are any more scandalous than bare arms. This is in a law office.
posted by HotToddy at 10:52 AM on July 1, 2010

I got some good advice here.
I am wearing stockings today though because The Powers That Be here have the A/C set on subarctic. Brrrr!
posted by pointystick at 10:56 AM on July 1, 2010

Nope, no pantyhose in Santa Monica. I'd be surprised if you could even find a decent selection at stores in Santa Monica and think you'd be super out of place if you wore them. Bare legs, for sure.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:21 AM on July 1, 2010

I'm always bruising my legs one way or another, and I find that using a good quality self-tanning lotion really makes my legs look a lot better.
posted by Gusaroo at 11:46 AM on July 1, 2010

If you were on the east coast, especially in NYC, in a less business casual situation, I'd say wear the pantyhose for the first few days until you see what the other women in the office are doing.

But no way, no how do you need them for California business casual. Enjoy your bare legs. In addition to self-tanning lotion, consider just giving your legs a good rub down with regular lotion. It will go a long way in making them look less banged up.
posted by asciident at 12:24 PM on July 1, 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel so much better now about not wearing hose. Today is my first day at work, and I've been pretty self-conscious about my legs. However, one girl downstairs is wearing sheer black hose with a dress, which is something I'd consider doing occasionally. I really think nude hose would have been totally out of place.

For everyone that suggested using self-tanners and lotions - I did actually try that, but my olive skin took on a slightly orange hue with the Jergens lotion. I still use it, but not on a daily basis.

Also, pointystick, thanks for that link to your post. I've been considering using Mederma or some such fading cream to get rid of the larger blemishes.

Thanks again for all your comments!
posted by Everydayville at 12:35 PM on July 1, 2010

Adding in that I don't wear hose in the summer, but use this lush dusting powder stuff (or you could get cheap face powder).

It evens out the texture of my legs. I use a kabuki brush. Takes 3.2 seconds.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 2:01 PM on July 1, 2010

I have super-pasty legs, and I wear skirts most of the time because I hate hemming pants. Work policy requires hosiery, and I'm more comfortable with it with skirts that are knee-length or higher. However - it doesn't say what kind. I've found that, counter-intuitively, heavier weight tights are a lot more comfortable, have a bit more give and softness, and shred less, than thinner stockings.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:27 PM on July 1, 2010

Where I live (West Coast) only women in the super-conservative industries/professions wear hose. In fact, pants for women year-round are the default in many workplaces. And in the summer where I live, it can hit the triple digits, which makes pantyhose medieval instruments of torture.

This isn't high school - no-one is going to point at you and laugh at your pasty banged-up legs. If you are self-conscious about them, use self-tanner (nthing Jergens) or bronzer.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:24 PM on July 1, 2010

Don't wear pantyhose if nobody else does at your job. 1) unnecessary discomfort=bad for productivity, and 2) you will seem old-fashioned and conservative.
posted by ishotjr at 3:51 PM on July 1, 2010

If you decide to give pantyhose a try, Leggs Sheer Energy actually feel really good.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:39 AM on July 3, 2010

With business formal (think "big four" accountancy firm, charcoal-grey or dark blue suit with matching jacket and skirt) tights or pantyhose are part of the uniform. If it's too hot to wear pantyhose it's also too hot to wear a jacket, and under these circumstances you shouldn't be wearing this unless you're forced to do so by your company's dress code.

Business casual (which in warm weather could be things like a linen suit with a short-sleeved jacket or a nice summer dress) is fine without pantyhose or tights. Business casual should look well put-together, but common sense and appropriateness for the circumstances are a major factor.

What I'm currently wearing to the office (business casual): either over-the-knee lenght skirts with no hosiery, or shorter dresses or skirts with just-over-the-knee leggings (which are very much in fashion here I live - to be honest I always hated them but they are convenient in the kind of hot weather that we're currently having).
posted by rjs at 11:29 PM on July 3, 2010

If self-tanner makes you too orange, try using a lotion with shimmer in it. I use it in the summer on my pale, scarred-up legs and it makes them look subtely nicer. Exfoliating regularly and keeping your legs moisturized will also help. For scars and blemishes, try Vitamin E gel if you don't want to shell out for a fading cream.
posted by vanitas at 3:23 PM on July 7, 2010

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