Over the years, nobody has made as much fun of nude pantyhose as I have. Kate Middleton’s weirdly shiny legs at formal events have kept me awake at night wondering, “Is she happy? Can she wear what she wants? Does Cressida Bonas have to wear them, too?” Nude pantyhose–and by this I mean pantyhose that match the wearer’s actual skin tone, not the pantyhose that come in packages labeled “nude” as though that one shade were the default skin tone–so often look dorky, conservative, and downright retro. But then I had to stand in a line in the cold for 45 minutes wearing a cocktail dress, and now I take back every bad thing—well, about 80 percent of the bad things–I’ve ever said about pantyhose meant to match the wearer’s skin.
I love a thick, black, completely opaque tight more than I love anything in this world except baby cows, but tights are not always appropriate. When going to a formal event in a light-colored dress, sometimes you want your legs to look as bare as possible. One has the option of actually going bare, of course, but that assumes one will not be standing outside for very long in the cold. If you can guarantee not having to do that, fabulous! But sometimes it is cold, and sometimes it is wet, and sometimes the line to pick up your tickets at will-call is an hour and a half long, and that is when a person really likes her flesh-colored pantyhose.
True, in many ways I still object to them. I object to every single package of light sand-colored tights labeled “nude,” as though that is what all people’s skin color looks like, when it only matches the skin tone of a very small number of people. People come in a huge range of skin tones, and calling that one color “nude” is ridiculous.
I also object to any situation in which they are mandatory, like office dress codes that say women must wear pantyhose because the skin on their legs is somehow unseemly or unprofessional. That’s ridiculous.
For a few years now going with bare legs has been a “power move” among the young and fashionable, provided those people either live someplace warm or are rich and/or famous enough to never have to wait in a line. I guess that’s why it’s a power move. Bare legs mean you don’t have to stand outside and wait for your ticket, because you will get to go right from your Uber to the front door. It only works as a power move if you actually have that power, though, because if you’re standing in that line with bare legs, you’re going to be miserable.
Because all the cool people are running in and out of Ubers with bare legs and not having to wait in line, skin-colored hose have developed a reputation for being out-of-date. They look a bit throwbacky and conservative, like something you wear if you’re trying to make a good impression on your boyfriend’s grandmother.
Sure, they might be nerdy. But I’d rather be nerdy than cold.