Closed toe shoes for business women are to be worn with pantyhose or stockings. This is microscopic, but symbolic, distance between bare skin and shoes.
Alena Gil, etiquette expert

Until late 1990s hosiery was not negotiable for professional attire.  But sadly, even though it wasn’t so long ago, some already forgot those good manners.

Today I saw a young female lawyer with bare legs.  Can you imagine a male lawyer coming to court without socks?  It looks just as trashy as a woman without hosiery.

In fact, I’ve read in etiquette books that for professional meetings hosiery should be opaque, black or charcoal in winter and tan or beige in the summer.  If you are interested in the book, it’s called “Don’t Take the Last Donut”.

I understand that even such etiquette may be challenged by some, like by Michelle Obama, who goes bare-legged and claims that pantyhose cause her pain.  But hey, why take chances with your own career and professional image?

Earlier I had a post here about the bare-legged lawyer I saw recently and Brian’s response helped to shine some light on how bad it really looks.  I really liked what he had to say, so I didn’t want to leave it out as I am re-formatting this blog.

“Totally hideous, trashy, and unprofessional on the part of that female lawyer going bare legged especially in a professional setting such as a law firm or courtroom. If it was a business casual workplace, hose may not be required. However, if it is a formal or professional setting, then wearing hose is a must just like guys wearing ties or as you say socks with their shoes.”


9 thoughts on “Etiquette

  1. You look cheap if you don’t wear pantyhoses (or stay ups with a skirt of proper length to hide the lace on the thigh) to a business suite. I feel sorry for my sisters who can’t see or understand that.

    • I agree with Yohman, Kevin, and especially Jim. In the U.S., the entertainment industry seems to set the standard, but also other visible figures and peer groups. It was the mid 1990s when I saw the first U.S. President not wearing a tie where they would’ve otherwise (Bill Clinton). The decline in standards seemed to start about then, and it picked up rapidly in the first decade of the 2000s, with women going casual and abandoning hosiery in droves (while most men still dressed professionally, but eventually, like watching cars zip by over and over, picked up the pace), many too heavy, others too lazy, still others don’t care, and none realizing how unprofessional they look. Ironically, they wonder why their clout in the office, especially with men, no longer exists and why in their personal lives their men look elsewhere. While most male managers in my office do still wear ties to business and public meetings, a handful of women managers do. Many of the other women look more like they’re going gardening than to an office, it’s really pathetic.

      • amen fe its sad American women have no class at all doint care how they look its sad . if awomen lawyer can go with out wound what would b said if a male lawyer walked in a pair of shorts .? they scream equal rights but it only applies to them and what they want .

  2. In large part, I think American women take their cues from the entertainment industry when it comes to fashion. Currently, pasty white no hose legs are the “in look” with Hollywood. Personally, I think it looks disgusting, makes women appear as lazy and gives the impression that they care not how they look. As an avid wearer who gives much thought in how I look when wearing in public, I would appreciate a finer example than what Hollywood presents. Just MHO. Thank you for your “ear”.

    • Thanks, Jim! I spoke to my grandpa about this and his association with a woman who has no legwear (unless it’s hot July) is that she is in deep poverty. He says “if she has money, why can’t she buy it and wear it?”.

  3. Also to Jim’s post, pantyhose at least in North America got the reputation for easily suffering from runs. Instead of buying Quality hose, women would buy cheap brands at the Dollar Store in addition to buying the One Size Fits Most flavour.

    I’m a Canadian, western Canada farm country. Women here aren’t inclined to wear dresses, heels and hose. My wife is from California raised to the Swedish standards of her immigrant parents. She does not eat Kraft Dinner [which was advertised as a staple of life in Canada] nor does she eat sweets and cakes. Age 55+, two kids, she still wears a Size 6 [36D, 34″ hips]. She also manicures her toenails. She wears hose 4 or 5 days of the week, never buys Dollar Store and they last her a very long time.

    The obesity epidemic, simply put, todays women do not curve IN at the waist, and are to fat to wear stockings. Their mothers also failed to teach them to color match their bras to their tops and their white bras show through like neon.

    My friend went to Volgograd to find his wife. She is, in a word, striking. Even as a now farm wife [she used to be a Dancer] she dresses to extremely high standards. The local women are quite jealous of her, however I do not see any taking the effort to emulate her. Apparently Kraft Dinner and Mars bars are more important to them than being a feminine woman as my wife and Eleana are. .

    • I am so happy to hear that your wife is keeping up her image, regardless of the local culture. Glad to hear that in that part of Canada someone is fancy! I drove through our whole country (Canada), coast to coast. I also drove coast to coast in United States. So I now exactly what you are talking about.

      I didn’t know about Kraft dinners being so popular in that region. I personally dislike any kind of macaroni type food. For me it associates with poverty because this is something that is very cheap. However, it doesn’t mean that people who eat it are poor – they say that they just like the taste. But I somehow have that association from my university years when my friends would say that if you are a broke student, you eat macaroni all day long.

      Russian lady is very smart. I am sure she doesn’t mind being a farm wife when there is a loving husband by her side.

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