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Published November 12 2011

Swift: Hosiery helps get a leg up on aging

I never actually thought I’d say this.

But thank you, Kate Middleton.

Thank you for bringing back pantyhose.

Ever since the “Sex in the City” women have exercised their right to bare legs, the hosiery industry has been punched in its control top-wrapped gut.

In the last 15 years, pantyhose sales have taken a “hose-dive,” weighed down by trends like leg tanner, open-shoed toes and increasingly casual workplace dress codes, according to a recent article in Slate magazine.

At some point, pantyhose became about as trendy as a whale-bone corset. The tell-tale sheen of nylon-clad legs immediately put you in “Golden Girls” territory. You might as well accessorize your “granny hose” with a First Alert necklace and an appliquéd snowman sweatshirt.

At first, I was relieved to see this. The act of wriggling into one of these compression garments was akin to squeezing a watermelon into a child’s tube sock. The garment’s crotch always somehow wound up somewhere in the knee region. And nylons could be ridiculously itchy – like wearing legwarmers made out of Fiberglas insulation.

But here’s my deep, dark secret. Nylons made legs look good, even if you had a bruise or a birthmark. They conveniently hid little secrets like spider veins or the fact you waited too long to shave your calves.

They also helped to firm up the belly and thigh area, without need of Spanx, which are more expensive yet cause runaway knee bulge and rampant muffin top.

As I grew older, I began missing nylons even more. I tried all the so-called “leg tanners” and leg cosmetics, but always felt like I was doing unsuccessful body work on a rusted car. And the self-tanners and cosmetics still didn’t cover much of anything – except (accidentally) my bedroom wall.

Then comes along a beautiful, young princess, who looks great in everything and has impeccable taste.

And guess what? She has thin, young, sexy legs, yet she still opts to shroud them in pantyhose.

Now, for the first time in years, pantyhose sales have stabilized. Young women have begun wearing hosiery, although today’s average fashionista is interested more in colored novelty hosiery and wildly patterned tights.

Even so, I am kind of relieved.

Hosiery helps me get a leg up on aging, at least temporarily.

Now if only I could rock a snowman sweatshirt …


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525 or tswift@forumcomm.com