“Nothing beats a great pair of…”

As I’ve said before, I do some of my best thinking in the early morning after answering the cat’s daily wake-up-and-feed-me call. As I lie there next to Mike, trying to lie still, listening to the traffic sounds from the nearby highway and concentrating on drifting off, the revelations just come.

Take this morning for example:

“Ooohhhh! They spelled those pantyhose L’eggs because of the plastic egg they came in!”

(Thirty years later, I get it. I’m not in the marketing biz for nothing.)

How many of you remember buying pantyhose crumpled up in big plastic Easter eggs?

Or maybe you preferred Hanes or a “department store brand” carefully folded smooth over cardboard.

Did you wear “Suntan,” “Beige,” or “Nude”? (If you wore “Suntan,” can you believe you did?)

Were you a “Sandalfoot” or a “Reinforced toe”?

Did you have various shades of black (Jet Black, Off-Black, Sheer Black, Nearly Black) for every occasion?

Do you remember when white hose were all the rage, usually with flowery dresses?

And colored tights with short skirts or skorts?

Remember the fun of pulling them on and seeing the run race from ankle to thigh? Or putting your toe right through the tip? Or not seeing the run or hole ’till after you were somewhere (on the bus or at work) and pulling out your trusty clear nail polish? (Or worse, people who would use any shade of nail polish they had? Crusty Rose-in-Bloom stripe up your leg, anyone?)

Remember how much better it was when they started adding Spandex to the nylon and the hose had some sticktoitiveness instead of going all droopy at the ankles?

“Whatever happened to pantyhose?” I wondered.

I remember wearing them weekly, though not every day. (We were allowed to wear pants where I worked, but many places required women to wear skirts and dresses. And closed-toed shoes.)

I remember wearing them so often I started buying them through the mail out of a catalog — 6 or 12 or more pairs at a time. (Turns out you can still do that here. And here too.) I remember a coworker friend telling me about the “pantyhose club” she joined — like a record club. You’d sign up for them to send you so many pairs a month.

Now, I wear them so infrequently I’m still working through my stash from 20 years ago. Seriously, I’ve thrown a lot away — usually when I try to pull them on and they either (a) don’t fit anymore or (b) the elastic in the waistband has disintegrated.

But I still have 27 pairs of tights and hose stashed in my drawer.


Note a couple are still packaged — one in the little baggie from the mail order place. And yes, those are bright red tights — they work great at Halloween with a witch costume.

I even bought once, at that lovely, long-gone, fancy store, Price’s of Oakland, a quilted bag (by Oscar de la Renta) made just to keep pantyhose “safe.” (Actually I bought it with a gift certificate I had gotten from the folks at work. This was circa 1985.)



(And yes, those are my toes under the plastic flap.)

The bigger question: Why, oh why, when I wear pantyhose about 3 times a year these days, do I still have all of these?

Do I really think I’m EVER going to wear them? My god, there’s a peach-colored pair in there. And a lavender. And green!

Damn that hoarding gene.

Now, of course, going bare-legged is the thing. (The awful, awful thing to those of us not blessed with “nice legs.”) I remember seeing in a book about the WWII years, how women (probably my mother, too) used what I suppose was the earliest version of sunless tanner because real nylon “stockings” couldn’t be had. They’d even paint the seam up the back of each leg.

Still, I bet there are women out there who dutifully pull on a pair of hose every day and think nothing of it.

Am I right? Let me hear from you…

In the meantime, I MIGHT be cleaning out a drawer this weekend.

Or not.

Women want men, careers, money, children, friends,
luxury, comfort, independence, freedom, respect,
love, and a three-dollar pantyhose that won’t run.
~ Phyllis Diller