Last week, I read a very interesting story in the Wall Street Journal debating whether woman should be wearing panty hose in the office. The question was asked as the weather grows warmer, “Are bare legs proper?”
The writer of this article, Christina Binkley responded to a request by the president of a small financial institution in Wichita, Kansas with approximately 50 employees spanning several generations. The business until four years ago prohibited women from wearing boots, mules or backless shoes; and hose were strictly enforced. Now, the president of this Credit Union is finding it increasingly difficult to enforce his company dress code concerning stockings.
This pressing issue came to the forefront when Mr. Holt hired a 28 year old executive director of administration and human resources, about a year and a half ago. According to the article, Ms. Spear informed her boss that “wearing hose to professional events sometimes made her stand out awkwardly.”
To say the least. In doing a little research, ABC television did an unofficial survey and discovered “that most large companies, including Coca-Cola, Microsoft and insurance giant AFLAC, do not require women to wear hosiery. Women in New York also said that virtually no one they know wears pantyhose to work, and if they were required to, there might be an uprising. ‘I think there would be a definite lash out by the women,’ said one New York woman.”
This brings us back to Mid American Credit Union. It appears after speaking with the WSJ, along with Ms. Spear’s survey of 17 other financial institutions (75% polled did not require stockings), Mr. Holt is relenting. “I didn’t want to be so old-fashioned that people would be like, ‘Do you require corsets, too?’ ” he said. In coming weeks the company plans on holding meeting to roll out a new policy on wearing panty hose.
Nearly 6 years ago when I worked in the insurance industry, there was no question about whether or not to wear hose to work. The answer was always. I had a female office manager in her 40’s who frowned upon wearing mules, open toes or sling back shoes as well.
When dealing with opinions of stockings, the WSJ article, infers that stockings have a generation gap. If you are a woman who entered the workforce before 1990, you may consider “hose…as necessary as underwear.”
I have to say that I am just a little conflicted on this topic. Generally speaking, I hate wearing pantyhose. That being said, I think a woman wearing a suit with a skirt should wear hose. Call me old school, but I think a business suit is really dressy and conservative, lending the same invitation to your legs. I recently spoke about this with a friend of mine and she seemed a little taken aback that one would even consider wearing hose in the summer.
So if you are going without stockings at work, I think you should keep a few things in mind. First, keep your skin well hydrated. Use lotion everyday to keep your skin looking soft and healthy. Ashy, scaly skin is not attractive. Further, if you have varicose veins, several mosquito bites or bruises, wear stockings or cropped pants. It just looks bad at work. You want to look polished and professional, not like you just left a rugby match or a hiking expedition.
Also, if you are wearing sandals with open toes, YOU MUST HAVE GROOMED TOES! Ok, sorry for the screaming, but I just can’t stand to see women with 6 month old chipped polish and untrimmed toe nails. You don’t have to pay for a pedicure, do it yourself. (This could be a whole new post, so I will leave it at that, but please keep this in mind.)
So now I’m interested to know how you feel about this topic. Does your company have a hose policy? Do you think it’s fair? Should panty hose be banned? Leave a comment!
By the way, I would be remiss if I didn’t direct you to the fantastic site that I found these vintage advertisements, Found In Mom’s Basement.