Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fashion changes, at the foundation level

When I was a little girl, my mom wore a rubberized panty girdle with garters to hold up non-stretch stockings. That get-up was hideous then, and, unless you are some sort of fetishist, hideous now.

As a teenager, I remember my mother borrowing a pair of my stretchy pantyhose and the look of amazement on her face when she realized how incredibly comfortable they were.

Fast-forward 40 years: Not only have girdles, garters, and silk stockings gone the way of the rotary dial telephone, but nude pantyhose, the great liberators of the 1970s, are about to vanish from the scene.

No less a business-fashion authority than the Wall Street Journal has concluded that 20- and 30-somethings simply won't be caught dead in hose. (They wear tights in the winter and have bare legs in the summer.)

"The fashion shift has left some baby boomer managers feeling that their hose make them look frumpy," the article goes on. There's a lively discussion in the WSJ forums.

Pantyhose are hot and miserable in the summer, so I'm happy to jettison them to avoid looking like a clueless old bat. But my legs don't look particularly good bare (unless I take up residence in Key West or Southern California).

My solution has been to wear below-the-knee-length skirts in the summer, or to wear pants or capris with dressy platform sandals. And, no question, to maintain a fastidiously updated pedicure — more fun and less expensive than a buying drawer full of pantyhose.

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