Fads #15: The Mysterious Fall of Hosiery
Evidently, I’m not the most observant guy in the world. A couple years ago, I went clothes shopping with my wife and decided to hang out in the undergarments section (what? it was nearby). I asked her if she needed any, and she replied that no one wears them anymore.
ZOINKS! She was right. I guess I hadn’t really stopped to think about it until then, but she was absolutely right. I started looking around my office, around the mall, the grocery store, everywhere. I discovered rather quickly that the only people wearing them are old ladies! Here and there, you might catch a black pair with a long dress, but that’s it. What the hell happened?
I grew up on hosiery. All the foxy babes on TV wore them: Charlie’s Angels, Daisy Duke, Chrissy Snow, Tara King (The Avengers), Isis, Wonder Woman, Julie Barnes (The Mod Squad), Marcia Brady,… the list goes on! And now, suddenly stockings and pantyhose have gone bye-bye. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a perv with a stocking fetish. I just grew up with them, and like most guys my age, am sorry to see them leave.
The question I always ask on Retrospace is “why?” - or to be more precise “WTF?” I’ve asked a few ladies and come up with a few theories of my own.
1. They have simply gone out of style.
We are all fashion followers, so it stands to reason that what is not marketed in Cosmo, Vogue, etc, as trendy and stylish is not purchased.
That’s the obvious answer. But dig deeper and ask why they went out of vogue in the first place…
2. Hosiery is an annoyance and inconvenience to women.
They often have runs, which require frequent purchases. Also, a run can cause embarrassment.
I am told they are uncomfortable. They have a tendency to slip down, and can create annoying wrinkles in your shoes.
3. They are basically pointless.
Since women don’t wear short skirts anymore, there is much less leg shown, so there isn’t much need for hosiery which improves the appearance of the leg.
But these answers still don’t get to the core. I mean, women have always had these issues with hose; and skirts haven't always been super short; however, they were fine with wearing them back then… why not now?
4. We have all gotten a bit more slovenly.
If you look back, you’ll see people dressed up more. Men wore hats and kept their shoes shined. Women wore gloves and were rarely seen outside the home without makeup on. The change from well groomed and “dolled up” to today’s state of shabbiness was a gradual transition. The hippie counter culture were the first to make strides in this area.
You always hear that today’s society is overly concerned with outward appearances. However, it’s interesting to note that we’ve never cared less about the way we present ourselves. It was only a matter of time before hosiery bit the dust.
Of course, this begs the next question. Why have we gotten so slovenly? That, I’m afraid, is a question best addressed in another post. I’ve already gone on a tad long. I’d love to hear your theories on the decline and fall of hosiery.
Meanwhile, Make way for more vintage hose packaging...