The Hype on Hosiery

Last year Charla Krupp published a book called How Not to Look Old. For the most part I agreed with all of the hints on looking “young and hip”. There is one exception though and I believe that she has actually gone on record recanting or revamping her statement. Her YH statement on hosiery was seen as a blanket statement of not wearing nude stockings.

She stated in her book that there is no quicker way to look “OL” (old lady) than to wear thick nude hosiery. While I agree that thick hosiery is very dating, I want to make some observations about hosiery in general. Most women purchase substandard hosiery as a necessity while at the grocery store between tossing in the Kleenex and bar soap. Its texture is stretchy and made out of mesh and doesn’t match closely to their skin tone. This simple fact is the biggest problem with wearing hosiery period.

Most women beyond that age of 30 begin to show signs of stress on their legs through spider veins, bruising or even varicose veins. The only way to minimize the appearance of these often unsightly characteristics is through surgery, makeup, or yes, hosiery. So I ask you to evaluate your own personal situation and assess how your legs really look.

  • Do you have legs that are free of any obvious signs of stress or markings? (Veins, scarring, freckles, etc)
  • Are your legs shaved and well cared for (not dry and scaly)
  • Are they pale or tan?

If you have passed the test above, congratulations! You may be a candidate for baring your legs! Should you choose not to wear hosiery, my recommendation is to check in with what is acceptable in your business. In some corporate, banking, or legal environments, it still may not be perceived as professional to go bare-legged. I like to draw the analogy to men not wearing to-the-knee socks. Do you really want to see their hairy legs when they are crossed?

What are your options when you want to wear hosiery? The current trend is to wear the sheerest of sheer and match your hemline as close as possible. Black is best. If you want to wear nude, wear fishnets but make sure the net is small. Opaque are great in the winter but leave the colors to the younger generation. Stay safe with black, brown, navy and gray; and make sure they are a light weight fabric. Nothing will add more weight than a thick pair of opaque stockings.

So that’s the hype on hosiery for now. I’m sure it will change in another season or two. For now you can go bare but make sure you have invested in a good razor, body lotion and self-tanning cream.

Walk proudly and look good, feel great, and have fun doing it!

Posted by: Karen Hughes, Founder of Image Assets, an Image Consulting Firm serving the Alpharetta and Metro Atlanta areas. As a seasoned certified image consultant, Karen follows a simple philosophy: educate, empower, and enrich the lives of her clients. Her philosophy is enmeshed throughout her practice and can be observed in her workshops, clinics, and one-on-one consultations. Her energetic and interactive style makes her a sought-after training resource for organizations and individuals alike. Even the most difficult topics seem effortless for Karen as she tackles such challenges as professional etiquette, business dress personal image and body shape


  1. Kris Anderson says:

    This is great advice. I always was unsure about when/whether to wear hosiery. Now I know! Thanks.

  2. Karen,

    I also was taken aback when I read Charla’s take on hosiery. I remember the days of suntan Leggs and that is probably what she was referring to. When in a business environment, I always wear hosiery with a skirted suit. My hosiery is so sheer that I find members of my audience feel my legs to make sure I am not bare-legged! I recommend that my clients go to and purchase Hanes Absolutely Ultra Sheer pantyhose. Barely There is a good color for caucasian women and Pecan is a good neutral for African American women.

  3. Deanna Maust says:

    When in doubt, wear hosiery. It could make a difference in your overall look to that prospective customer/employer. In today’s far too casual world, leaving an impression of being dressed appropriately speaks volumes.

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