Nylons/Pantyhose/Thigh-Highs: Can I ditch them forever?
August 10, 2016 7:21 AM   Subscribe

In going through my cedar chest, I came upon a cache of new thigh-highs in nude and black. Since the summer bare-leg look is still going strong and seems likely to continue, can I get rid of these damn things?

For the purpose of this question, I will use "nylons" to mean pantyhose, stockings and thigh-highs. I wear black tights with boots in the fall and winter, and like tights a lot. But nylons, yiiiii ! My legs are in good shape, and I use a little self-tanner in the spring and summer to keep the copy-paper glare from blinding strangers.
Ladies, what are you planning to do with your nylons, or have you gotten rid of them already? Unless sheer leg covering is invented in a more comfortable fabric, I would just as soon donate the pile to local stuffed-animal makers.
posted by BostonTerrier to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (40 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't worn hose/stockings in well over a decade. I may not be the most fashion forward human, but I guess that's even more reason to ditch. If I've done it, surely it's well accepted by now. (Only exception is that there are some workplaces that still require it, but I've never encountered one).
posted by goggie at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Haven't worn them in nearly 20 years because they are uncomfortable and run. I say ditch them!
posted by cecic at 7:27 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

It really depends on the dress standards at the places you frequent. The last time I remember wearing pantyhose was for a job interview five years ago; otherwise, it's bare legs for me. If you work somewhere with a conservative dress code, you may not have much of a choice.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:29 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you don't like wearing them, don't wear them and get rid of them. It's not clear to me why this would be predicated on wider fashion trends. Things I don't like wearing I don't wear, fashion be damned.
posted by terretu at 7:29 AM on August 10, 2016 [14 favorites]

I hear they're good for straining paint.

Also, some people wrap them over the vents in computer cases to act as an air filter.

Also, pantyhose mask.

I just searched for "uses for old pantyhose" and got some interesting answers, including fitting them over the end of a vacuum cleaner hose to help find and retrieve small dropped objects.
posted by amtho at 7:29 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have not worn them in years, though I may still have one pair of nude from my last job interview, and one pair of black seamed ones, for occasions :)

I don't think I had any to really get rid of; the damn things laddered when looked at sideways. Maybe keep a pair of nude, for business formal? Donate the rest to a woman's shelter/interview dress donation type place if they are still in the package?
posted by kellyblah at 7:30 AM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

Get rid of them unless you plan on robbing a bank.
posted by AugustWest at 7:39 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Last time I used some was for a really formal wedding (and yeah, the odd job interview). Maybe keep one of each color and donate the rest?
posted by gudrun at 7:43 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you ever see yourself in a situation where you'll find yourself in need of pantyhose quicker than you could buy new ones? If not, ditch them.
posted by erst at 7:44 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Toss them forever! I am pale, pale, pale and I haven't worn them in over a decade. Also if you are wearing Really Great Shoes, no one cares about stockings.
posted by mochapickle at 7:47 AM on August 10, 2016

Todd them. A pair of nylons costs about the same as a burrito. If you need them someday, it probably won't break the bank to just buy some then.
posted by something something at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

I still wear them because I can't do bare feet + dress shoes. But if your feet are tougher than mine, toss the nylons.
posted by neushoorn at 7:52 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, toss. I'm a hairy-legged dour second wave feminist so I've spent several decades studiously not caring about how people perceive my legs or my performance of femininity but like honestly there are so many other options out there, it's kind of moot at this point. In the winter if I want to wear a skirt I wear fleece-lined leggings and boots, in the summer I just go bare-legged and nobody cares anymore outside of certain very conservative sectors like Big Law.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:54 AM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

As far as shoes go, I purposefully buy shoes that I can either wear with bare feet comfortably (dressy sandals, ballet flats, very comfy Mary Janes) or that I can wear socks with and nobody would ever know (various types of boots).
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:55 AM on August 10, 2016

I can't remember the last time I saw a woman in pantyhose. The bare leg look has been here for years and years. Some people might have to wear them because of workplace dress codes, but otherwise they are definitely not expected. No one is going to think anything of your barelegs; it's the pantyhose that will stand out as different.

If your concern is following fashion norms, then you shouldn't wear them. If you don't like them, then you shouldn't wear them.

Just throw them away.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:59 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think those hose will make some dandy stuffed animals someday!
posted by chatelaine at 7:59 AM on August 10, 2016

(Oh, and the last time I wore them, it was for a morning meeting at Conde Nast and I cannot tell you how much side-eye I got. So again, yes, toss.)
posted by mochapickle at 8:01 AM on August 10, 2016 [6 favorites]

It's not a law. I think you must be talking about social convention (i'm sorry, I'm on the spectrum so a lot of joviality and sarcasm doesn't register with me).

I don't wear make up or high heels any more. I only wear stockings when i expect to get laid. I don't see the point of tanning salons (literally, not politically - that practice bewilders me even though a very loved niece does it).

So fuck, no. Don't wear unnecessary uncomfortable clothing unless a social convention means you would be disadvantaged (i wear a bra outside my home - H cup - no other reasonable option).
posted by b33j at 8:09 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Toss them. If I for some reason felt compelled to get one last use out of mine before doing so, I would indulge myself in some sort of really ridiculous Lush bath bombs - you know, the ones that leave like, twigs and rose petals and stuff in the bath when you're done? Cut the foot off the stocking, tie the bath bomb up in it, take your rose bath, enjoy the easy clean-up afterwards because your stocking-foot has captured all the rose petals. Then throw it out.
posted by Stacey at 8:11 AM on August 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

Toss...depending on the brand, overtime the material breaks down and they become a big fail when you need to wear them.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 8:26 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's not a law. I think you must be talking about social convention

I think soren lorensen was talking about the wearing of pantyhose as being, for all intents and purposes, mandatory dress code in the field of Law. As in lawyers and paralegals and such.

And I agree. As long as your corporate dress code doesn't mandate that you wear them, ditch 'em and don't look back.
posted by cooker girl at 8:42 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pantyhose/nylons/etc are amazing at getting deodorant streaks off of clothing! Just rub them right on the streak and it's like it was never there. It's the only reason I keep them around.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:44 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

No one wears hose anymore. Not even my mother. I'm a big fan of bright tights for all occasions personally, but sausage casings to make your leg skin look like less human leg skin? No, that time has passed.

Personally, tights/hose/whatever provide two highly valuable services: 1) preventing thighs from chafing and 2) making shoes more comfortable to wear. I have discovered two products that will fix this, allowing you to forever ditch the horrible pantyhose from your life.

1) Bandelettes (workplace advisory: website has pictures of tastefully underwear-clad booty) Total friggin life changer right here, not even joking. Effective and cute af for how utilitarian they are.

2) Tommy Bahama brand liner socks. I have tried a lot of liner socks and these are the only THE ONLY ones that don't suck. They're durable, have seaming in places that make sense for how foots are shaped, and have little piped bits of silicone around the heel so they actually stay where the fuck they're supposed to. A++++++ would foot again.
posted by phunniemee at 8:48 AM on August 10, 2016 [18 favorites]

Hyperventilating here.
I'm pretty fashionable but I'm more concerned with what's proper. While there are plenty of occasions that bare legs are acceptable, you don't want to be the one with bare legs at the wrong time. Duchess of York Kate Middleton wears hose a lot. If you are sincerely getting rid of them please send them to me. I'll try not to judge your bare legs.
posted by littlewater at 8:55 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, man! I have an enormous pile of "taupe" pantyhose from like 30 years ago or something that I have not worn in about that long. Why? Thank you for asking this question. When I break open the giant ziplocks of winter clothes, I'm throwing those bastids in the goodwill pile. Should I get a job at Hooters or meet the queen, I can always hit up the Rite-Aid for more taupe pantyhose.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:59 AM on August 10, 2016 [10 favorites]

If you haven't worn them in a year, toss them. Nude/sheer hose is still a thing in conservative circles or if the crowd skews over-40. But, seriously, if you haven't worn them, then you don't go to places like that and don't need to worry about it. Maybe keep one of each for emergencies.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:01 AM on August 10, 2016

Even in conservative New York law firms, you can get away without hose. Maybe not for going to court. If you don't work anywhere more conservative than that, save a pair or two for emergencies and toss the rest!
posted by praemunire at 9:04 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I destroy shoes when I wear them barefoot, so I'm experimenting with liner socks now, because I haven't worn hose since I was still under my mom's dress code requirements for church. I'm relieved, because I would ladder them about five seconds after putting them on.
posted by PussKillian at 9:10 AM on August 10, 2016

I have one pair of nude pantyhose I bought at the last minute to go wear to a wedding about 4 years ago. I haven't touched them since and your question is the only reason I've thought of them. Let's both toss them out and be free!
posted by like_neon at 9:30 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Whoa, the populi has vox'd!

phunniemee, I have bookmarked Bandalettes. Thank you for the link. Plus, If you mother (younger than me, no doubt) no longer wears them, "that tears it" as Fred MacMurray said in Double Indemnity.
I won't be going in for job interviews or have a stuffy boss ever in the future. I'm 62.
Time to go on Nextdoor Eastown and give them away.
Thanks everyone, for your opinions.
posted by BostonTerrier at 9:31 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

We use old hose to tie up plants. When we run out of my grandmother's old hose we're going to have to come up with different plant supports, though, as neither my mother nor I have worn them in forever.
posted by ldthomps at 9:54 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seriously, they are handy around the house. I wasn't kidding about the straining of paint, etc. Also they make good cat toys if you have some catnip to put inside. Look at the link I included -- just maybe take a glance before you wholesale get rid of all of them. When you need fine stretchy mesh, you need it.
posted by amtho at 10:52 AM on August 10, 2016

I use them over the intake pipes of aquarium filters to protect baby fish/shrimp from getting sucked up to their doom.
posted by jamaro at 11:19 AM on August 10, 2016

They make excellent stuffing for rag dolls and the like, better in my opinion than polyester fibrefill which goes flat after a couple of months of being slept on. Old nylon stockings will help the doll or animal retain shape a little longer. As stuffing they are even more washable than polyester fibrefill because they dry so fast and seem to be extremely mildew resistant.

If stuffed pantyhose can make good effigies. Should you need to hang some politician in effigy. Use legs to make the arms of your effigy, a butt section for the head - baste the top closed so that the stuffing doesn't come out and top with a wig, and of course use legs to make the legs. If stuffed with balls of newspaper or advertising flyers you can end up with a nice lightweight portable effigy that can be easily transported to a demonstration, or perhaps hung tastefully from a lamp-post

If you don't sew, advocate violence, celebrate Guy Fawkes Day or grow tomatoes I would say you can ditch them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:30 AM on August 10, 2016 [17 favorites]

They're excellent for polishing shoes!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:23 PM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Nthing that they are amazing for polishing shoes.

My legs are not in great shape (I get those pesky dots from hairs, plus I collect brusies and scars like no one's businesses, because of my propensity to be clumsy), so for me, pantyhose are a godsend to get my legs looking normal. If you are happy with your legs, just ditch wearing them and convert your stockpile to household tasks!
posted by troytroy at 1:37 PM on August 10, 2016

If they've been sitting in that chest for any length of time, do ANYTHING other than wear them.

I had a job interview a few years ago and, at the last minute, realized that I wasn't sure how formal to go - - so I decided I should probably wear pantyhose. I was delighted to find a single unopened package in the back of a drawer. They were surprisingly comfortable and not at all as restrictive as I remembered (I'm a short plus-sized woman, so finding the right size has always been a challenge for me). I was pretty happy.

During the interview, I was sitting for about 45 minutes (it was a panel interview!). When we were finished, I stood up and thanked everyone for meeting with me - and at that exact moment, the waistband of the pantyhose dropped down to my knees. Literally DROPPED. The crotch and waistband fell to exactly the hem of my dress.

My mind completely shut down in panic. I couldn't think of ANY way to reach down and pull them up - I mean, try to picture yourself doing that in a dress, casually, in front of people. I ended up half-waddling out of the room, trying to keep my knees together (so the pantyhose wouldn't fall down further), and then half-waddling out of the office itself. My best guess is that the stretchy nylon stuff had just given up stretching.

Use old pantyhose for ANYTHING other than wearing, is what I'm saying. Anything.
posted by VioletU at 2:42 PM on August 10, 2016 [15 favorites]

No one has mentioned hanging up onions or aggregating thin bits of soap yet?
posted by batter_my_heart at 2:58 PM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

BTW they're REALLY convenient to use as a hairband (not too loose or too tight) keeping hair out of your face (because of the nude coloring, if you shove the bow to the back, they don't stand out, which I like).
posted by mirileh at 12:55 AM on August 11, 2016

Stockings would be perfect to stuff with polyfill or old t shirts strips or whatever to make boot stands to keep your boots upright. Put some beans or something in the bottom to weigh them down so they're easy to stuff into your boots.

As an answer to your original question, I am 26 and have not work nude stockings my entire adult life. If bare legs weren't acceptable I would wear tights or pants. (Now, my 4yr old ballet photos are a different story...)
posted by Crystalinne at 1:18 AM on August 11, 2016

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