Do you remember where you were when it happened?
I was on my way to the gym, stopped in for my morning skinny latte, and saw the headline that made my heart sink: Prince Harry was engaged to Meghan Markle.
I was supposed to marry Prince Harry! How can this be?
Ok but seriously—Meghan is a babe, as is Harry. After a thorough point-by-point comparison between Meghan and myself, after sobbing through the realization that we have practically everything in common—there was just one thing that Google kept bringing up about Miss Markle that piqued my curiosity: Pantyhose.
Ask the Internet one question about Meghan wearing tights and it won’t shut up about Duchess Kate Middleton’s penchant for pantyhose. Page after page of search results breathlessly overanalyzing the royal selection of stockings make one thing clear— pantyhose stir up some strong feelings. As a distraction from my broken heart, I decided to look more deeply into this fashion mystery.
Here are 10 things I learned about tights
Meghan and Kate aren’t the only A-listers rocking sheer tights. Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Beyonce, are all well known for adorning their legs with sheer hosiery.
Designers Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, and others made sheer hosiery a big part of their runway looks this year. Fashion runs in cycles and 2005 is calling—they want their bare leg look back. Soon, Carrie Bradshaw is going to be your grandmother.
Sausage casings are an American fetish. For whatever reason, American hosiery makers are the only ones making super stuffy control freak pantyhose. The rest of the hosiery world (mainly European companies) do not share this preoccupation with control; they focus on giving your legs an elegant look with a sensual, comfortable fit.
You don’t need to use the word “Pantyhose” anymore. For a lot of us, the word ranks up there with “moist” in terms of annoying things to say. Europeans just call them “tights”. There you go. “Tights”. Sheer tights, thick opaque tights, ultra sheer tights… it feels so much nicer to say, doesn’t it?
Tights make average legs look great, and great legs look incredible. Go ahead and show some leg—and do it with more confidence in the perfect pair of tights for your outfit. Life hack: turn the dial on that little black dress from slutty to sophisticated by wearing some sheer tights with it.
Your legs haven’t seen the sun all winter long, but it’s time to let them out in your new cute spring dress. Find the right nude shade of ultra sheer tights and make your legs look like they spent the winter in the tropics.
Men love it when women wear sheer hosiery. Why? I do not know—all I can say is that since my Prince Harry heartbreak, I’ve been… ahem…“collecting data” on my first dates and the consensus seems nearly unanimous: The fellas can hardly keep their eyes off my legs when I dress them up.
Speaking of men: did you know that pantyhose were invented by a man? Allen Gant Sr. created the first pair of stockings attached to panties—at the request of his wife. Ethel wanted a more comfortable way to wear her stockings, as the garter belt with all of it’s fasteners can be a real hassle for anything but the boudoir occasions. She attached some stockings to panties, handed them to Allen, and told him to figure out how to make them into a viable product. Initially called “Panti-Legs”, pantyhose soon became a serious fashion trend throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, fueled by the popularity of the mini skirt in the 1960’s. Women figured out that pantyhose were an easy way to have flawless looking legs as skirt hemlines retreated skyward.
Green pantyhose are a thing. One of the main components of hosiery is Nylon, which is a man-made thread derived from petroleum (it’s basically stretchy plastic). German hosiery maker Kunert makes a style of sheer tights made from nylon that’s been recycled from abandoned fishing nets. You read it here first: you can help clean up the seas by wearing pantyhose… I mean, sheer tights.
Pantyhose are sold out of vending machines in Australia. I kid you not. Fortunately, you do not need to travel down under to buy great tights conveniently. USA based retail hosieree.com carries a huge selection of cute tights, thigh high stockings, and classic sheers from dozens of great European hosiery mills. The most surprising thing is that really nice European hosiery often costs the same or less than what you’ve been paying for mediocre nylons at the mall.
Now, you too are an expert on all things hosiery. Go forth, ladies, and rule the world with those legs!