do I need to wear nylons to a job interview … or are bare legs OK?

A reader writes:

I am gearing up for an interview next week and was considering wearing a dress, despite usually going the jacket route. But I’m wondering: do people still wear nylons with dresses, or are bare legs acceptable these days in an interview? I haven’t bought or seen people wearing nylons in a long time it seems, yet bare legs just feel intuitively unprofessional to me. Help!

You’re fine either way.

There are some variations on this by region and generation, but in general bare legs are totally fine and not considered unprofessional … but it’s also fine to wear nylons (also known as pantyhose or stockings) if you prefer them. I’m sure there is some extremely conservative industry out there that still expects something covering your legs, but that’s very much an outlier. Bare legs with dresses are commonplace now.

If you don’t want bare legs, tights are a more modern-looking option than nylons (tights are more opaque than nylons and aren’t designed to look like your skin). But any of these options are fine.

{ 272 comments… read them below }

  1. sookie st james*

    Guess it’s time to admit I have no idea what the difference is between nylons, pantyhose, and stockings. I always assumed “pantyhose” was the american word for “tights”, which is the only kind we* use in the UK.

    *I’m in my 20s, maybe other words/garments were used in other generations!

    1. KayDeeAye*

      In my particular version of American English, “nylons” and “pantyhose” (and even just “hose”) are the same thing. I guess you could use “nylons” only for stockings that have to be held up with a garter or something, but I’ve not heard anybody do that, possibly because not many people where that kind of hosiery. But as Alison says, “tights” are opaque or nearly opaque.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        Nylons just refers to what they are made from (not silk!) but still stockings. Later that translated into pantyhose. In the 60’s and 70’s nylons were just another name for pantyhose.

        I always thought stockings referred to thigh high versions (with or without a garter belt.) They now make thigh highs with grips so you technically don’t have to wear a garter belt but often you need the garter belt or they roll down.

        Tights are thicker than other hose and last longer, don’t tend to get runs/ladders as quickly. I’m sure there is some official designation where a pantyhose becomes a pair of tights. Not sure where the cut off is though between nylons and tights. They measure the opaqueness in denier. Denier ranges from 5 to 100.

    2. chocolate lover*

      In the US, “tights” usually refers to a heavier material material that completely covers the legs, whereas nylons/pantyhose is thinner and doesn’t completely cover your legs, just kind of “tints” them.

      1. TechWorker*

        Right, we (UK) have ‘tights’ which encompasses everything from super sheer ones to opaque thick wool ones. Then we have ‘leggings’, which do not have feet attached and you can wear them by themselves (though not necessarily for work). Occasionally I’ve heard people call leggings tights (Eg ‘running tights’) but idk if that’s particularly a US thing or otherwise :)

        1. Sloanicota*

          FWIW, have not heard leggins called tights in the US, or the term “running tights” (midwest / east coast).

          1. nona*

            Midwest US – I have. Mostly on shopping websites. I call them leggings when talking to friends, but know that sometimes I have to search for “running tights” when shopping for leggings.

          2. Stacy*

            I’m Midwest and I’ve always called them running tights or yoga pants depending on the activity.

            1. Jellyfish Catcher*

              West Coast, here: leggings are footless, opaque and end about at the ankle to mid calf.
              Tights are opaque or semi opaque and have feet, like nylons.
              Yoga pants – all over the place, mid thigh to ankle.
              I suppose they’re yoga pants, if the person is doing yoga.

              1. Nitpicker*

                As a non-native English speaker, y’all have no idea how glad I am to read this thread. I could never fathom why there were so many words to describe these types of garment, and I couldn’t tell the difference between each. Now I understand it’s cultural and depends on which side of the pond you actually are (with local variations, even). Fascinating!

                1. AcademiaNut*

                  From a language perspective, stockings and hose are both old words – stockings being closer to socks (two pieces, maybe held up with a garter belt), and hose a medieval men’s garment that was basically tights. Nylons refers to the material – before that stockings would be made out of natural fibres, like wool or silk – and are mostly a post WWII invention. Pantyhose is a combination of panty (women’s underwear) and hose. Tights comes from “tight fitting breeches”, breeches being pants, and originally referred to clothing worn by ballet dancers, acrobats, etc. Leggings derives from the word leg, and originally referred to cloth and leather wrappings on the legs, mostly for men. Yoga pants is the newest of the descriptions (and jeggings is a contraction of jeans and leggings).

                2. Emmy Noether*

                  Words for clothes tend to be complicated in most languages, as garments evolved and words did or did not follow the evolution, new trends were adopted from foreign countries with new vocabulary, and marketing campaigns tried to push some words. It evolves fast. The split of English into separate branches on different continents did NOT help (see also: pants, trousers, jumpers, sweaters, pinafores, slips,…).

                  I have an interest in fashion history as a hobby, and historians often say things like “it was called this, and that, or maybe there’s a distinction that has been lost, and then it transitioned to be called that, but at different times in different places…” it’s a mess, generally.

                3. Vio*

                  English language is awful like that. Apparently (according to several multilingual friends, most of whom have English as a second language) we’re worse for it than most languages, even if you only count British English or American English there’s still many regional and generational differences to take into account and even aside from those we have virtually zero words that have only one single meaning. So much of our language is context dependent and can be confusing even *with* context at times.

              2. GiantKitty*

                And in the 1980s, the opaque, footless garments that are now called “leggings” were known as “stretch pants”.

          3. Haven’t picked a username yet*

            I am on the east coast and I call my running leggings running tights. They are usually more aerodynamic than just leggings. Have special features (flatlocked seams etc. but very much a running specific thing.

          4. ScruffyInternHerder*

            Running tights seems to be more prevalent in “running” spaces I’ve found. I’m sure if I referred to “tights” with a non-running group of friends, they’d assume I was talking about the opaque, heavier than nylons leg-wear. And if I referred to something as “leggings” in a group of my runner-friends, it’s assumed I’m talking about something that is probably casual wear, not for running in.

            To be honest I’ve always thought Yoga pants are more boot-cut with a tight bum, but I could be completely off base here as Yoga and I have a love-hate thing.

          1. Meh*

            I don’t think most of our hosiery (US) is specifically advertised with the denier as a selling point. Words like thick, opaque, warm, sheer, etc are used.

            1. No Longer Looking*

              I had to look it up – midwest US male, and the usage of the word “denier” I was familiar with was “one who denies.”

            2. Princess Sparklepony*

              It’s only about maybe 20 years ago I started seeing denier counts. And only in some brands. You are correct that it not used so much in the US. They use words like sheer, opaque, patterned, wooly, etc.

    3. All Het Up About It*

      Nylons, pantyhose, and stockings are generally used interchangeably to describe sheer, stretchy items. Often these match the skin tone of the wearer for a “your legs, but better look.” Can technically refer to white or black items that don’t match skin tones, but are still very sheer. Old fashioned/very formal individuals and industries more likely to think these are needed for a “professional” appearance if wearing a skirt or dress.

      Tights are the same type of garment, but as Alison mentioned are generally opaque and most often come in every color of the rainbow. Not as frequently found in Nude/skin tone colors, but they do exist, especially for those in colder climates where individuals might wear them as a warmth item.

    4. Engineer*

      Nylons and pantyhose are the same thing – a sheer, stretchy nylon fabric that comes in about 3 colors of beige and maybe one dark option. Stockings are usually a thicker material, more like tights, but might still be used to mean pantyhose if they’re a sheer fabric that only goes midthigh.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        Nylons can come in any color. The world is your oyster! But yeah, it’s easier to find them in skin tones.

        I used to work retail next to the hosiery department – turned me on to an entire world of colored legs!

    5. GreenShoes*

      American here…

      Nylons are a catchall phrase for Pantyhose and Stockings

      Pantyhose – are one unit with 2 legs and a brief with a crotch/gusset
      Stockings – two units consisting of only legs
      All of the above are sheer to thick/opaque but generally are considered sheer and ‘skin tone’, black, or white. Or sheer and colored

      Tights- are a thicker material, generally colored, not sheer, matte, and warmer

      This brought to you by a HS job working in a department store hosiery department :)

      1. Dogmomma*

        here, tights and nylons/ pantyhose/ stockings are not interchangeable names.

        Here, tights are heavier/ thicker, have feet,, come in colors & are worn in winter for warmth. Think Chicago in February. Nylons are either pantyhose (1 unit) or 2 stockings..held up by a garter belt or heavier elastic at the thigh.
        I still wear them except in the hot summer …80-100° with very high humidity in SC. But I’m old enough to remember garter belts and girdles as every day wear

      2. Katydid*

        Agreed—and it might help to remember that stockings used to be _silk_, and during the WW2 era, women (purportedly; I wasn’t around then!) sometimes drew a thin black line down the back of their legs to create the illusion that they were wearing silk stockings — when in fact such stockings were unavailable and could not be bought for love nor money.

        I believe that’s why _nylons_ was used, once they became available, to distinguish them from the (pricier) silk stockings. Though as far as I know, silk stockings were always two units, while nylons were one, as described above.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          Other fun historical fact: silk stockings were always very expensive, so there were people specialized in repairing holes/runs, as repairing was worth it, cost-wise.

          The invention of cheap artificial fibers (Nylon) completely changed things.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        This is how I would break it down as well (middle-age East Coaster/Southerner who was required to wear pantyhose with dresses in my first jobs).

        I work in a fairly buttoned-up industry, and even we’re okay with bare legs now. I don’t remember the last time I wore panty hose, though I wear tights or leggings frequently in the winter because I’m always cold.

    6. Era*

      Also in my 20s, but for my two cents about US usage:
      Nylons and pantyhose are probably roughly synonyms and I’d put them under the umbrella of tights, specifically for the nude-colored thin variety
      Tights are somewhat thicker usually, can be black, nude, or other colors, & might be patterned.
      Stockings might be any of the above but are like socks — they come in a pair that aren’t attached. You could probably use the word for longer socks as well as thin tights/nylon material.
      Bonus: Leggings are thicker still than all of the above, but otherwise a similar garment.

      1. The Person from the Resume*

        For this American who hasn’t worn stockings or pantyhose in 20ish years (so memories have faded), stockings and pantyhose are interchangable and I’ve probably never said nylons although I know what you mean by it.

        Stockings and pantyhose are not tights because all tights are thicker, not sheer, and can be quite colorful (but that’s not a requirement).

        1. All Het Up About It*

          Agree. I understand that technically stockings are “thigh-highs” but I’ve certainly used them to refer to traditional “pantyhose” as well.

          Essentially – hosiery terminology is varied and confusing, even if you are from the same country. :)

    7. It's the little things*

      Also UK but based in the US now. I have only ever heard pantyhose used as an alternative to tights. Nylons tend to refer to the super thin silky tights, usually in the nude color. Stockings are just the leg parts, they are either held up by themselves and some elastic, or by a garter belt.

    8. Frank Doyle*

      Stockings actually only go up past your knees, and are held up with a garter belt and garters. Nylons and pantyhose are the same thing, they’re sheer and come in a range of “nude” colors to match your skin tone. Tights are mostly opaque and come in all sorts of colors.

    9. Wine not Whine*

      In general: nylons are any sheer, close-fitting leg coverings. Could be waist-high (aka pantyhose), thigh-high, knee-high, or even just shoe liners that keep your shoes clean inside while allowing a bare-leg look.
      Tights are heavier, less-sheer pantyhose, sometimes patterned, fuzzy/wooly, textured, or opaque.
      Stockings are close-fitting leg coverings of any material, that don’t go all the way to the torso.
      And in casual use the words have become largely interchangeable, unless you’re trying to shop for a specific look.

    10. Deanna*

      I was just as bewildered, and it seens that what Americans call tights we would call leggings. The sort you’d wear when doing sports. Not quite the same as wooly tights, which is what I thought at first!

      1. Rock Prof*

        To make this even more confusing, I’d use tights to refer to both running tights and to the lighter weight, more-like-pantyhose-but-opaque options being discussed here. I’d also refer to my running tights as leggings! I wouldn’t call panyhose by the name tights or call tights I’d wear with a dress by the name leggings. And now I’m even confusing myself.

          1. TechWorker*

            Haha there’s just all options. It was briefly (in the noughties maybe..?) fashionable here (UK) to wear leggings with dresses/jumper dresses (and is still done ofc!) so that confuses things further :p

            1. Fieldpoppy*

              I am in Toronto and “nylons” means the sheer tights that are shiny and look like legs, pantyhose is the same thing, stockings are more likely to be sexy and need garters (though you might say “fishnet stockings” for sexy patterned tights that actually have the pantyhose part), and tights can be: opaque thicker stretchy garment that covers legs and feet you might wear with a skirt; yoga or running pants; or a loose reference to patterned stockings with the panty part (eg fishnet tights). The only thing that is true is that nylons are tights but not all tights are nylons.

            2. Marion Ravenwood*

              UK person here. I type this wearing leggings under a dress – it just feels like a bridge in the spring/autumn between it being too cold for bare legs but tights (or shoes that need to be worn with tights) feeling too wintry. But then I’ve never been fashionable and am perfectly fine with that!

              1. londonedit*

                I have discovered – thanks to the fashion blogger Kate Hiscox – the joys of ‘secret leggings’. All that means is wearing capri- or knee-length leggings under your midi dress, so you can have the appearance of bare legs but the warmth of leggings! You can’t see the leggings under the dress but they keep you warm enough in this sort of transitional weather we’re having, where it feels too springlike for tights but not warm enough for fully bare legs. I get the £3.50 knee-length leggings from Primark and they’re brilliant.

        1. Zee*

          I call everything tights (and I wear tights + dresses pretty much every day). Within tights, there are the sub-categories of stockings (aka pantyhose or nylons; may be completely sheer or more opaque, but cannot be worn without something over them) and leggings (thicker material, can be alone as pants).

      2. Random Dice*

        Leggings don’t have feet, and are a bit thicker – yoga pants basically. Tights do have feet and are a touch thinner – what one wears in winter under a dress.

        1. nona*

          Though, I have, on occasion, purchased footless tights (not leggings) because I wanted tights to wear under dresses with tall boots, but wanted to wear thicker socks without having a double layer in the boots…:P

      3. JR*

        You can wear leggings without a skirt/dress over then, but you can’t wear tights without a skirt or dress, they’re an undergarment. (With a possible exception for running tights mentioned above, that’s not a term I’d use.) (American)

      4. Ellis Bell*

        I don’t think it means leggings, it refers to what we call opaque tights and I think the word pantyhose are what we call sheers or nudes. Leggings are a bit heavier than opaques and would not have a gusset as they are not considered underwear. (although some brands have started referring to footless tights as leggings)

      5. Seashell*

        I’m American, and I would call pants that tight and elastic-y from the waist to ankles leggings. Tights were something that have feet, are thicker than nylons/pantyhose, and are worn under a dress or skirt.

    11. Cordelia*

      I also (Brit in my 50’s) have always assumed nylons and pantyhose were “American” for tights, so this whole comment thread has been very educational, thank you!

    12. Baby Yoda*

      Sookie stockings are nylons that don’t connect to a panty (as in “pantyhose”) — they can stay up with elastic on the thighs or with garters.

    13. Selina Luna*

      In my area of the US, pantyhose and nylons are extremely sheer garments that encompass the entire leg from toes all the way to the hips. They hypothetically make one’s legs look “smoother.” They also snag and tear in a stiff breeze, and have largely gone out of favor because of this. Stockings are similar, but they don’t go over someone’s hips. They stop usually midway up the thigh or just above the knee. Tights (which are what I wear) may or may not be opaque, but they’re thicker and tougher than pantyhose/nylons. They don’t tear as easily. Leggings are more like skin-tight trousers. They don’t have feet. They are often thicker than tights and it is considered less obscene to wear them without something else covering them.

    14. Tulipmania*

      No one under 40ish uses pantyhose (term or item). Those are flesh colored crotched garments from when bare legs were considered informal (80s and earlier?)

      Tights- sheer or opaque, could be black, grey, or colorful, patterned or with a line running down the back, separate or united at the crotch.

      Hose/stockings – general term for any hosiery garment, but again, not a word used by young adults or younger.

      1. Tulipmania*

        *addendum: sometimes thigh highs might be referred to as stockings but only boudoir/linegrie ones, not ones for day use.

      2. CatMintCat*

        I’m in my 60s and haven’t worn pantyhose/stockings/tights for at least 30 years (Australia). We seem to tend to the US language for these items – pantyhose are stockings with pants to sort of hold them up (never successful in my experience), stockings are just legs and need a suspender belt (UK term?) or elastic to hold them up. Tights are thick, often colourful, and have feet.

        I wear trousers and socks when it’s cold, bare legs when it’s hot.

      3. Not That Wicked*

        I know I’m an outlier, but “HI! IT’S ME!!” Early/mid 30’s and will NEVER EVER EVER leave the house bare legged Labor Day through Memorial Day.

        I grew up in the North East, and my girlfriends up there mostly adhere to the same rules. Transplanted to Tampa 10 years ago, and am constantly teased (in a good natured way) by my girlfriends down here. I usually get a pair of Leggs or each birthday with a card saying happy 80th or something similar.

        I’m also a hiring manager in a creative professional industry. I would never “ding” someone for not wearing nylons to an interview, but I do think it candidates appear more polished when they do.

        1. JustaTech*

          Tangential, but do they still sell Leggs? I remember as a kid (early 90’s) the grocery store had a whole display of them, and at a school rummage sale once I got a whole book of crafts to do with your leftover Leggs eggs, but my mom didn’t buy that brand.

          Maybe 15 years ago I needed a pair of pantyhose at the last minute to wear to a fancy event and my only pair were full of runs so I stopped into the grocery store only to realize I hadn’t actually seen hose in the grocery store in years.

    15. Lenora Rose*

      Nylons and pantyhose: to me these are the same. Full leg hose, woven into the shape that they are with a handful of doubleknit areas (waist and toes). fairly lightweight, easy to cause a “run” (broken threads) or hole. Can usually stand up to a day at work or a special event and if treated very carefully by someone without rough nails, can last days and even a wash or two, but rarely can be worn for serious exertion beyond night club dancing. Can be sheer or translucent, sometimes come in charcoal or black and are more opaque but not necessarily more sturdy. Tend to smooth out the body lines but don’t tend to be strong enough for body shaping purposes.
      Tights: Thicker than pantyhose. Woven a similar way but often doubleknit so they don’t run as readily if torn. The sort of things worn by ballet dancers for hours on end, for one, and usually stand up to weeks to months of washing. Translucent to fully opaque but you can’t really wear them as pants. Sometimes have body shaping strength.
      Leggings: Have no feet but are body snug. Made out of cloth and sewn together, not woven into shape. Fabric ranges from so sheer they might as well be tights to so solid and fleecy they might as well be pants. Some cuts are meant for exercise, some just for decor, and there’s a bit of overlap with bodyshaping garments but most are too stretchy or the wrong fabric for the purpose.

    16. Living That Teacher Life*

      I live in the American south, where “stockings” refers to what I used to call “hose” (short for pantyhose). They are the exact same thing.

    17. Nina*

      I’m in New Zealand – ‘nylons’ is the old-people word for ‘pantyhose’, which are very very thin sheer tights. ‘Tights’ are anything that stays up on its own and is shaped like the bottom half of feetie pajamas – it has a butt as well as legs and feet. Some tights are opaque, some tights are hand-knitted and can be cabled and clocked, some tights are sheer in which case they are also pantyhose.
      If it doesn’t have a butt, it’s ‘stockings’ and may or may not require a garter belt. If it doesn’t have feet, it’s ‘leggings’. If it doesn’t have feet or a butt it’s a legwarmer and I’m not sure why you bothered.

  2. Helvetica*

    I would also throw in another option – stay-ups. My legs are super pale and I don’t particularly like how they look when I’m not wearing nylons/pantyhose, especially with some of my work outfits. So, if the weather is warmer, I use stay-ups with a silicone band. They work for me at least – don’t slip, keep a nice but too tight grip and I feel more breezy.

        1. RedinSC*

          Yes, for me thigh highs or thigh high stockings

          I haven’t heard “stay ups” before.

        2. Helvetica*

          The wonders of the English language never cease to amaze me!
          Stockings – sure. But thigh-highs makes me think of boots, not stockings at all.
          Stay-ups – idk, this works fine in my non-American/non-British/otherwise English learned in a European country brain :)

    1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      I find those under “sheer trouser socks, knee high” when I’m shopping in the US. I prefer long skirts and when I want dressy light socks that’s what I use.

      1. Helvetica*

        Yeah, they also work great, and I wear those with my trousers too. But I meant the kind that come up to like mid-thigh.

    2. Helvetica*

      I thought about it more and my real “ick” with bare legs is that then for some people it also means bare feet in close-toed shoes, which I could not stand for myself. No-show socks in the same nylon material as pantyhose are my own solution here – low enough to not peep through but also with a small silicone band at the heel so they won’t fall down and get lost in the shoe.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        I can’t stand the thought of bare feet in close-toed shoes. For one thing, pee-yew. For another, just speaking for myself, I have such tender skin that my feet would be a mass of blisters. I have to wear some kind of foot covering when I wear closed toe shoes.

    3. Emmy Noether*

      Only do this if you are used to wearing them and know they work for you. For me, they always, always slip down (except for one pair that goes to the very top of the thigh). They can be so tight I get red marks on my skin, and still fall down when I walk. NOT a good thing in an interview to feel your stocking slipping.

  3. LawBee*

    Pants! Totally ok for most interviews and avoids the whole pantyhose issue entirely. (Assuming no cultural rules against them for OP of course.)

    1. L. Bennett*

      I think the point is that the LW wants to wear a dress/skirt. I’m sure they know pants are also an option.

    2. nona*

      And then wear trousers over your (uk version) pants.

      If you want to follow up on different garment terms across the pond…

    3. Margali*

      Except that in the UK, “pants” = American underwear, and thus probably not the best choice for wearing solo to an interview.

  4. Sasha*

    Yep, in the UK we differentiate between “opaque tights” and “10 denier tights” (which can be flesh coloured or black, but are see-through). But all are tights.

    It’s not a generational thing, I’m in my 40s, my mum is in her 70s, we all say tights! And my mum is old enough to remember them being invented in the 60s (so you could wear your miniskirt without displaying your suspenders – another word which means something very different in the UK and the US).

    1. UKDancer*

      Definitely. If it covers your feet, goes to your waist and has a crotch then it’s a pair of tights regardless of thickness. So I have opaque pink tights for ballet, sparkly tights for parties and thick woolly tights for cold days.

      If it stops at your thighs then it’s stockings either with a suspender belt or hold up stockings (with silicon).

      I must say for work I tend to be wearing a trouser suit because England is not warm and I commute by train so I like my legs covered up for waiting on cold platforms. So I tend to wear trousers, socks and ankle boots most of the time.

      I wear dresses for work and go bare legged in the summer but this is not usually for a long period of time.

      1. pandop*

        Yup, all tights here in my bit of the UK.

        Also to me thigh-highs refers to something more ‘sock like’ than tights, that come just over the knee (and I have some tights that fake this look)

        Also I am fascinated by the idea that hold-ups are good for summer. I am the opposite, I need the chub-rub shorts that cover where the thighs rub at the top, but then stop before the knee!

        1. londonedit*

          Same! In the summer I wear Snag chub-rub shorts, which are made of tights material (and come in all sorts of fab colours). I mentioned further up that I’ve also now got into ‘secret leggings’, which just means wearing knee-length leggings under a midi dress so they can’t be seen but they provide warmth without having to wear tights.

          It’s only thanks to reading AAM that I actually figured out what the heck ‘pantyhose’ are! As Sasha says, anything with two legs, feet and a gusset is referred to as ‘tights’ here, whether they’re 100 denier or 10 denier. Stockings are two separate leg pieces that don’t join at the top and either need to be held up with a belt or silicone bands at the top of each. Nylons I’d think of as an old WWII term for stockings.

          1. BubbleTea*

            I wear Snag tights year round (80 denier, bright colours) except in heat waves, when I wear Snag chub rub shorts! The only trousers I wear are pyjamas.

  5. Didi*

    If you want a modern look but tights are too heavy or out of season, black nylons are a good option – as long as black goes with your outfit. They’re more sheer than tights of course but don’t look old-fashioned.

      1. umami*

        I’ve actually seen some of the younger (when you are 52, that means almost everyone lol) women working in offices wearing sheer black tights. Apparently it’s a look that has come back!

      2. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Yes! Black or if you’re very pale even dark brown. It’s the traditional beige ones that read dated.

      3. Eeyore's Missing Tale*

        I hope so! I’m in my late 30s and I’ve been wearing them for years every fall and winter.

      4. Maple Bar*

        I don’t know who to trust on this one, I vividly remember seeing a woman get positively COOKED online for wearing sheer black pantyhose with a dress just a couple years ago. At the same time, a lot of ladies older than me (a millennial) have never stopped wearing them and are absolutely flabbergasted when I tell them young women don’t wear them anymore.

        1. Angstrom*

          Fashion is odd. I just saw photos from a recent show where every model was wearing some type of black sheer-with-pattern hose. Looked fun!

        2. Holly*

          I’m 31 and wore black pantyhose all throughout my 20s and so did many of my friends, who tended to be more fashion forward/edgy (for example we hosted and went to a lot of techno raves). I don’t wear it much anymore because of newfound sensory issues and also I work from home but I love pantyhose in theory. You don’t have to worry as much about shaving legs (if you were the kind to worry about it in the first place), and it always made me feel more secure about my stomach / any bumps from underwear or whatever. AND no chafing on the inner thighs in summer. I am amazed that some people find it the kind of thing to tease someone about!

          1. Spill all the tea*

            Agree completely. I’m the only one in my office who wears pantyhose. My feet and legs are always cold without them so I’ll be wearing them until the bitter end. As soon as it’s cold enough I switch to opaque tights which is much more fashionable!

      5. Lacey*

        Yup. Or really any opaque color. Not as popular as a few years back, but definitely still a thing.

      6. Tulipmania*

        I don’t think sheer black tights under a skirt have been out of style, they’re a staple

      7. justanobody*

        I saw young women/teenagers wearing them with very short shorts in Portugal in February.

      8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I never wear nude hose, but if I were to be wearing a skirt that was not ankle length, I wouldn’t wear it without sheer black hose.

      9. Marion Ravenwood*

        I don’t know if they’re trendy but I personally like them with certain outfits – sometimes opaque tights feel too heavy but a bare leg (or sheer tights) feels like too much, so 10 denier black tights are the happy medium.

  6. Panicked*

    With the exception of one large southern law firm, I’ve never known any workplace that expected hosiery to be worn. That doesn’t mean there aren’t more out there, just that they’ve fallen by the wayside nearly entirely.

    That being said, I can remember 15 years ago working in a bank were we were required to wear pantyhose. One very warm summer day, the A/C went out and all the women rebelled by taking off their pantyhose. We never put them back on because no one cared and it was a stupid policy to begin with.

    1. RedinSC*

      I’ve never been to a Hooters restaurant, but I think the female waitstaff there have to (or had to) wear nylons.

    2. NewJobNewGal*

      Edward Jones requires pantyhose, unless they have changed in the last few years. They warned me up front when I got the call for the interview. It was hilarious to hear a grow-up say “panty,” even if it was part of the word pantyhose.

      1. Jolene*

        I’d be shocked if that had not changed. I worked for a very “white shoe” top tier law firm, just a few years ago, and I never saw anyone wearing pantyhose. Federal court appearances – no hose. It would have been off-putting if someone wore hose, frankly. It would be like showing up in a corset. Not “wrong” but definitely noteworthy and…different. I would have read as either frumpy or quirky, depending on the rest of the presentation.

    3. NotBatman*

      I work for a pretty traditional college in upstate NY that required pantyhose for teaching until about 15 years ago, which was when a critical mass of employees got a reply-all email circulating about the ridiculousness, and that was the end of that.

    4. Kacihall*

      Fifth Third bank required hose per national dress code as recently as 2013. I got around it by wearing fun colored tights.

      Somehow that was ten years ago. I swear I haven’t been married that long.

      1. PepperVL*

        I worked at 5/3 from 2019-2021 and can assure you that as of those dates, they did not require them. Granted, I worked on a non-customer facing job, so that might have been different, but I wore dresses without hosiery frequently and can’t recall seeing a single person wearing hosiery. And this was in the corporate offices in downtown Cincinnati.

    5. beanie gee*

      Maybe 10-15 years ago I threw out the last of my pantyhose and told myself if I ever needed them for a job again, it was a job I didn’t want.

    6. Sleeping Panther*

      None of my actual jobs (at a state-flagship university in the South, the US Department of State, a major US defense contractor, and a major US bank) have required pantyhose/tights, but the Corps of Cadets at TAMU does require freshman through junior women cadets to wear sheer nude-colored pantyhose if they choose to wear the skirt version of the uniform. Between the discomfort of wearing pantyhose in Texas heat, the hose constantly developing snags and runs, the lack of pockets in the skirts, and the horribly ill-fitting uniform pumps, I pretty much never wore the skirt version of the uniform.

  7. T.N.H.*

    For the most part, no one will notice whether or not you wear nude tights or pantyhose. However, I do want to note that in some offices, having them on will come across as old-fashioned or stuffy.

    1. Fieldpoppy*

      I know people say nylons aren’t warm but I can’t imagine going outside in Canada in the winter without AT least nylons on my legs. But they feel so old fashioned I default to leggings with boots/ socks or opaque tights.

      1. Lady Danbury*

        I would wear tights (fleece lined ftw!) in the winter when I lived in the midwest. But never nylons.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        I live in the prairie in Canada from birth, and prefer (long) skirts to pants. Nylons are not remotely warm enough for any weather which involves snow on the ground. Tights were the lightest I’d go in winter under a skirt, and usually tights under two layers of skirts. (And if walking outdoors, tights under sweat pants under two layers of skirt and remove the sweats when I get to work.)

        OTOH, you also couldn’t catch me wearing nylons in summer, because they *are* miserable in heat.

      3. Helvetica*

        I have previously taken umbrage to this “nylons not being warm” issue because as a person from a cold country like you, yes, they are!

        1. allathian*

          Sheer ones aren’t, at least not for me. I run cold enough that I wear thin leggings under my jeans, the equivalent of long johns for men and clearly intended as underwear, for about 6 months of the year. On the coldest days I wear padded pants of the kind you might wear to a ski slope instead of jeans and change in a single-user toilet when I get to the office.

  8. Mellie Bellie*

    I’m in law, most often federal court, in a very conservative area of the country. I haven’t work pantyhose/nylons/stockings to court in nearly two decades and I didn’t wear them in my very conservative office, either, before I started working for myself. (I will wear tights when the weather drops to below 65, though.) You’re fine without them and, in fact, I’d venture that the old school “nude” pantyhose may look really dated to 2023 interviewers, for whatever that’s worth.

    1. ZimmerTaco*

      I’m a millennial prosecutor in the midwest–my Rule for myself & my division is “no bare legs in court.” In the office, for meetings–totally fine. Just not in court, or at the very least not for jury trials. I don’t want to take any chance that what I’m wearing could cause me to be perceived as less professional than a male attorney, who certainly canNOT have bare legs in court. Unfortunately experience shows me that being a woman can be a hurdle–and maybe my Rule gives me some illusory feeling of control, like this particular hurdle is surmountable?

      For what it’s worth, my direct reports (women) wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt or dress, so … I’m the only one affected by me being a stick-in-the-mud.

      That also means my *advice* is: some few people will be dismayed to see bare legs in legal job interviews. Even offices where bare legs would be fine on a day-to-day basis, there’s still a chance interviewing that way might read as lacking the judgment to skew cautious enough for the setting. I’m all for people choosing to ditching the old-fashioned expectations, just be aware of the risk calculus so it’s done eyes-open!

      I completely agree with Mellie Bellie that the risk calculus has shifted because so few people care about this anymore–including me, for everything except literal jury trials.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        The risk calculus is such an impossible game to play because it’s context and person dependent. In my creative world, we’re at the other end of the risk spectrum — the some few would be dismayed to see the hose. Wearing the hose (or a suit) is more likely to work against a candidate, being perceived as uncool, old-fashioned, and out of touch. (But black or colorful tights are fine.)

        1. PoolLounger*

          Yes, and it all depends on profession, the particular office, the particular interviewer… I was once told that the interviewers were surprised by how professional I was dressed—I was wearing a blazer, silk shirt, and pants—not even a suit. Panty hose would have been seen as very odd, even though most of the people I worked with were in their 60s.

        2. Silicon Valley Purgatory*

          I have a really hard time wearing nice shoes (the kind I’d wear to work or for an interview) without nylons/tights. My feet blister if I look at them wrong. I’ve actually had blood -coming out- of peep-toe pumps after walking (nylon-less) two blocks to a meeting. I live in fear of looking like a fuddy-duddy, but I’d rather look old fashioned than be hobbling around in pain. I’m very short, so I don’t want to just give up on heels.

          1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

            Yes, dress shoes are way more comfortable with hose. You have to do what works for you, because being in pain really isn’t an option!

            I am also short but have so much trouble with heels in middle age — especially since I do a lot of urban transit / walking — that I was happy to sacrifice them. Not to mention I can’t keep a pair of hose intact for 5 minutes anyway. I design my interview outfits (and all outfits, really) around what my feet can tolerate! Mostly pants, lots of boots, and nice sandals if it’s warm. For some reason I can often wear open dress shoes barefoot, but not closed ones.

          2. GreyjoyGardens*

            Do we have the same feet? I absolutely have to have some kind of foot covering on unless I’m wearing sandals or those fleecy slipper shoes. I am the worst blister and raw mark on foot person I know.

            I’m also an extra wide, so I can’t even find fashion-y type heels that are comfortable. Between that and growing older, I just decided, “what the hey, I’m short, everyone knows it, and just will have to live with it.” So, comfort heels like Clarks, fine, but fashion heels, alas, no more.

      2. Jolene*

        I’m a trial lawyer (woman), and have regular appearances in state/federal court. I actually don’t remember the last time I saw an attorney wearing hose. It would catch my eye, for sure, as unusual.

        There were 1-2 federal appellate judges, at least as of 10 years ago, who were known to expect female attorneys to wear skirts/hose not pants. I don’t know if they are still around bc I don’t do that work anymore. Also, it’s been a long 10 years.

    2. Zzzzzz*

      I’m a lawyer in Texas, and even in Dallas, nylons are no longer expected and certainly not required. In the hotter weather, I think an interviewer might think it’s odd judgment to wear them, though probably not when it’s cold. (Personally, I hate nylons but feel very pale with nothing, so I always wear pants.)

      1. toolate12*

        Very interesting! I graduated law school in Texas 5 years ago and our career office would tell us we *had* to wear skirts and hose for firm interviews. I always hated it. I don’t exactly practice, so I’ve never had law firm dress code requirements, but am glad that norm changed. It’s just too dang hot. And it feels very fuddy-duddy. Makes me feel like I’m going to Luby’s with my grandmother after church in the ‘90s.

    3. ErinB*

      Seconding this opinion. New England law firm here and I can’t think of the last person I saw wearing nylons/hose in the office (certainly people wear thicker tights in the winter for warmth). I’ve also been on the hiring committee and can say that the vast majority (if not all) of my interviewing coworkers would not give bare legs a second glance.

      1. allathian*

        A friend of mine who always wears skirts when it’s reasonably warm in our climate (slightly lower than normal room temperature) but who has very pale skin wears tinted moisturizer on her legs. Not so dark that her legs look darker than her face, but so that she doesn’t look like she’s lived all her life in a cave without any sunlight (direct quote from her).

  9. TN/GA Lady*

    I would go bare unless your dress is very short or your shoes fit better with hose or some similar reason. In other words, all else equal – go bare in the summer and opaque tights in the winter.

    I wish it weren’t true (I’m 55F myself), but I think wearing hose with a dress in the US at this point signals age in a way you may not want.

    Admittedly, the South where I am has always made certain sartorial accommodations to the heat (short-sleeved men’s dress shirts back in the pre-AC days, seersucker, etc.), but I don’t know the last time I have seen someone wears hose in a work setting. It has probably been close to two decades.

    1. bookartist*

      I’m 54F and wear black support hose every day no matter if I’m wearing a skirt or pants. Please tell me true, do I look old-fashioned? Yikes! (But also, I gotta wear them or my legs will swell. Maybe this is another “you just can’t win” scenario…)

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        If you are going to wear them, black is a good choice that is much more sleek and doesn’t signal ‘old fashioned’ quite the same way. If you’re over 40 I wouldn’t even worry about it, it’s age appropriate without being heavily dated.

      2. Maple Bar*

        It is truly a “you can’t win.” I’m in my 30’s and have to wear compression tights sometimes also for medical reasons, and when I wear the skin-colored ones people comment on them a lot. They’re always like, why are you wearing that?? Which wouldn’t be terribly polite for a fashion choice either, but it’s especially annoying when I have to say my ugly pantyhose are medicinal.

        1. Minimal Pear*

          Yes lol I’m reading these comments like, “Wow I knew my skin tone compression stockings looked a little funny but I didn’t realize it was that bad!” I have a lot of black ones and a few fun colors, but sometimes the only thing that works with my outfit is the skin tone ones.
          It probably helps that I tend to dress in a very 1940s-inspired style, so I think my compression stockings may read as being part of that style choice.

      3. Tulipmania*

        Whatever you prefer should be your choice! But I will say tights/hose under pants reads as very old to me in a way that the same garment under skirts wouldn’t.

      4. Well That's Fantastic*

        The black is a good option (especially considering the orange-y tones of most of the supposedly flesh toned ones) to make it not look so old-fashioned.

      5. Dog momma*

        I remember wearing white support nurses hose. a little heavier than regular support pantyhose. omg they were horrible in summer pre air conditioning in the hospital. Yes I am that old!

    2. Lady Danbury*

      If your dress is so short that you feel that you need to wear hosiery with it, it’s probably too short for an interview anyway!

      1. mlem*

        A knee-length skirt is perfectly typical interview attire and a perfectly typical garment to wear with hosiery. (The maxi skirt I wore when interviewing, by contrast, was rather atypical in 1997 and likely still would be.)

      2. Ellis Bell*

        Its not always about what other people think too, it’s sometimes internal. If you do feel personally weird about going bare legged, skirt length can act a bit like training wheels. A midi or maxi might be easier to break yourself in with at first, even if knee length looks okay.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Seconding this. If you’re not comfortable in your clothes, it will always make you look less confident. I encourage tights with any length skirt if it makes you able to not constantly think about what you’re wearing.

  10. Blinded By the Gaslight*

    We have it so good today in terms of workwear. My mom had to wear pantyhose, heels and dresses to teach kindergarten in the 80s. Awful.

    1. umami*

      Yes, I started working in the ’80s (military) and on days I wore my non-utility uniform, pantyhose were required. When I moved to South Texas in the late ’90s, it didn’t take long to ditch pantyhose because it was unbearable (heh)

      1. La Triviata*

        Back when I was young (I’m 70, so ….) women in professional workplaces were expected to wear dresses or skirts with blouses, stockings (no pantyhose), girdles and slips. Also bras with significant structural integrity.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          How on earth did they check if you were wearing stockings instead of pantyhose (that’s separate legs with a suspender belt right?)

          1. RedinSC*

            Pantyhose didn’t really exist until the mid-60s or so. So they didn’t catch on for a while. And you know how quickly some industries move to update norms (glacially, in other words) they probably just didn’t update standards and some one had a rigid interpretation of the rule book.

        2. WS*

          My mother worked as a nurse in the 60s and had to wear white stockings. Yes, with the garter belt. Even when she was working in an operating theatre. And Matron would check.

      2. Mensa Maid*

        I worked in a department store one summer while in college and we had to wear stockings, no open toed shoes, no sleeveless.

        1. All Monkeys are French*

          I did, too, in the 90s. We had to wear skirts or dresses as well, and I had a manager who relished enforcing the dress code. I still remember the day one of my young colleagues got sent home for wearing a very smart looking pair of wide-legged pants while Betty in Housewares was deemed perfectly fine in her faded, pilled, old cotton dress.

    2. pagooey*

      I was scolded by my boss at a temp job circa 1990, for going without nylons OR socks under trousers, not even a skirt! Two inches of bare ankle apparently did not meet the dress code bar. (I was doing data entry for insurance claim forms, in a sea of identical grey desks that occupied a whole floor of an office building. I never once saw a single customer.) We really do have it good–just saying this makes me feel like I should also declaim on hoop skirts and Conestoga wagons.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I just put a story elsewhere about this, in the 90s I also ran into he rule of hosiery even with pants. It wasn’t that uncommon of a rule in my experience — that’s what they mean when nylons are required, it’s often about the coverage of all bare skin — but boy was it annoying.

      2. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I had an office manager yell at me for this *in 2012*. Sometimes there’s no winning.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            This wasn’t the only instance of bad judgement on her part, but I was relatively young and it took me awhile to figure out she was bananacrackers.

      3. Chutney Jitney*

        Me too, receptionist job circa 1995. In Florida. I couldn’t believe it mattered, but I had to go buy “trouser socks”.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          so that’s what those are for! my mom bought me some and I didn’t understand

  11. umami*

    I don’t think anyone would notice the bare legs, but I would be more interested in whether OP plans to wear a jacket, or just the dress. Without knowing the style, I would still likely suggest a jacket for an interview, whether wearing a dress, skirt or slacks, just to look a little more polished and pulled together. Oddly, I find bare legs more acceptable than bare arms/shoulders for an interview or meeting!

    1. Kate*

      I agree. Lots of people think bare arms are professional because it’s such a common look for newscasters, but it always jars me to see that amount of bare skin in a professional setting. That said, I am in the northern Midwest where it’s always either cold for weather reasons or air conditioning ones : )

      1. jane*

        That’s fair! When your office itself is an unchangeable 80+ degrees, though, bare arms are much more professional to me than being drenched in sweat.

      2. CommanderBanana*

        It’s a weird pet peeve of mine that male newscasters almost always wear suits and their female counterparts seem to always wear sleeveless sheath dresses. Are they always freezing?

        1. Elitist Semicolon*

          More likely the men/suit-wearers are sweating. Studio lights can be very warm.

        2. Felicity Lemon*

          I wonder that too (also, male sportscasters wearing sports jackets and sneakers, and their female counterparts in what looks more like evening wear and heels).
          When I was still in-office, in the summer I’d dress lightly for the hot temperatures outside but kept a sweater and a pair of fuzzy socks to put on in the office because the A/C was so cold.

      3. Lady Danbury*

        I live in a temperate climate (mostly warm to hot, winter temps mostly in the 60s) and I still don’t wear bare arms in a professional setting. Even at the height of summer I’ll wear a jacket or cardigan in office. Depending on the weather, I may take it off and carry it while commuting/walking to meetings. Having the right topper just makes an outfit look more finished and professional, imo.

    2. Skippy*

      I wear dresses (with short or long sleeves, depending on the season) to all of my interviews, but I haven’t worn a jacket in years. If you have broad shoulders or any sort of cleavage, it’s impossible to find something that fits well unless you want to employ a tailor.

    3. Book lover*

      There are lots of cute (and still professional) blazers out there right now, too! People are wearing them oversized, which I love.

  12. ecnaseener*

    I’m curious if this answer assumes shaved legs (or at least leg hair close to your skin tone) – or are we in the clear to have noticeably hairy legs?

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      I think it really depends on your field and geographic location. (Personally, I’d shave my legs. I live in the northeast and work in a moderately liberal field.)

    2. Athena*

      Unfortunately some people still associate noticeably hairy legs with being unkept (despite the sexist and racist history of the campaign for women to remove their body hair). But I think this also might be changing. So in more progressive spaces it might raise eyebrows before that person realizes they’re not supposed to care and move on.

    3. Nethwen*

      Back around 2000, I was looking for seasonal work at summer resorts in the US west and came across the most detailed dress code I’ve encountered before or since. What really stuck out to me was that it required women who wore skirts/dresses (it was okay to wear pants) to either shave their legs or wear nylon. I can’t remember now, but I think they specified the color and sheerness of the nylons, too. I was confused because wouldn’t wearing nylons with unshaved legs make the hair more noticeable – all pushed down unnaturally or sticking through the fabric?

      At any rate, I found a place with a less detailed dress code to apply to.

      1. All Het Up About It*

        I recall reading somewhere that the expectation of shaving legs actually came about during WWI/WWII because nylons were harder to get at that time so to get “the look” women started shaving.

        Now please keep in mind, this is a memory of an article I read and I’m not certain my mind isn’t making something up or that the original article was actually correct.

        1. CatMintCat*

          My mother always told this story, with the added bit of using eyebrow pencil (is that still a thing?) to draw a line up the back of the leg to mimic the seam in the stockings they now couldn’t obtain.

          1. londonedit*

            In Britain people used to paint a line down the backs of their legs with gravy browning.

      2. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        This is why, when I’m wearing sheer stockings of nearly any type, I get them in black or a fun color. I’m medically discouraged from shaving my legs, I’m against it as a requirement anyway, and I have the light skin/dark hair combo.

    4. Goldenrod*

      Sadly, I don’t think hairy legs are usually acceptable for women. Which I think is dumb. But it is what it is. Lately I’ve been using the Bleame hair eraser because it works better for me than shaving. (Sorry, I’m not on a commission or anything, I just like sharing when I find products I like!!)

      1. hodie-hi*

        Same here. I work at home, and the climate here means that bare legs don’t happen for at least 7 months out of the year. Also, my give a f*&# broke some years back. So I almost never shave my legs. Out of curiosity, I got myself the Bleame hair eraser and I LOVE that thing! So much better than any alternative I’d use. If my husband ever moans again to me about hair anywhere on his body, I’m going to Bleame the heck of him, and he’ll love it too.

    5. kina lillet*

      I think it does assume that, yes. I don’t shave my legs, and my leg hair is quite visible, but I’d definitely wear opaque tights if I needed to look professional.

    6. Tulipmania*

      Tbh unless you’re in Portland, Seattle, or similar cultural clime, unshaven legs will probably still draw negative attention (though I’d guess not actual comment). And even here it’s very rare.

    7. GreyjoyGardens*

      Unshaven legs still read as unkempt/unprofessional in a lot of places. But if you are in a casual workplace, in a more casual part of the country, *and* if you make sure the rest of your presentation reads as neat, clean, and appropriate – then you don’t have to shave your legs if you don’t want to.

      I say “neat and clean” because hairy legs with an otherwise well-kept (not fashionable, just nice and neat and appropriate) persona should be OK, if your clothes are shabby, your hair greasy or your scalp is snowing, you smell like you need a shower, the hairy legs will be just another few points on the “unkempt” side of the ledger, and that will be held against you at work.

  13. FashionablyEvil*

    I saw the video of the lawyers in the Fox/Dominion case walking out of the courthouse yesterday—one of the women was wearing hose and my first thought was, “Wait, when was that last time I saw anyone wearing hose??” I honestly can’t recall.

  14. Zofran*

    I’m coming down on the side of anyone checking out your legs to see how you have chosen to accessorize them is gross and they can kindly focus on your professional accomplishments instead.

    1. Roland*

      No one is “checking out” OP’s legs. People notice things, and people make small unconscious un-woke judgements without noticing all the time (yes, me and you included). It’s reasonable to want to protect yourself that where it’s warranted. I agree with Alison it’s not needed here, but the attitude of “people shouldn’t be thinking X or Y” is not helpful to people wanting practical advice.

    2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      That’s what a coworker argued about our employer’s hosiery policy in the 90s — if her boss was looking that closely at her legs to confirm she wasn’t in nude hose, that was a problem. She didn’t win, but she made a good point! I remember the day she wore pom pom socks with shorts (shorts were not against the rules on Friday), saying she met the “hosiery” requirement. I think she got away with that because they wrote the rule badly — they meant it to be no bare skin showing, so even in long pants you still needed socks or knee highs to cover ankles — but the wording just said you must wear hosiery. God I’m glad that era is over.

  15. aliaranel*

    I work for a bank, and until about 2017, we were not allowed to have any amount of bare leg showing. Wearing a skirt or a dress? You have to have pantyhose or tights on. Wearing slacks? You need either dress socks or those knee-high nylons. The number of times I had to stop on my way in to work to buy a new box of knee-highs because my last pair had ripped while putting them on in the morning….

    Thankfully the dress code is much more casual and liberal these days. I currently have bare legs under my dress, and a purple tint to my hair, and no one (up to and including the CEO!) has complained.

    1. Be Gneiss*

      Just had a flashback to a job I left in 2015 where we had the same rule. No matter how many boxes of knee-highs I bought, and how many dozens were breeding in my laundry baskets, I swear I still had to stop on the way to work and buy them at least once a month.

      The best part was that the “dress code committee” was headed by a woman who always wore an ankle bracelet UNDER her nylons. Peak professional dress.

    2. Maple Bar*

      Trouser socks. My god did I used to have a drawer absolutely STUFFED with trouser socks.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I wonder if OP sent the question to both sites or if, like me, this a new resource to investigate.

    2. Dr. Doll*

      Was it in the syllabus that Corporette is for clothes questions and Ask A Manager is not? Sorry, if so, I didn’t read the syllabus.

    3. anna*

      Corporette targets high-earning lawyers mostly. It’s a great site but its advice won’t be as broadly applicable.

      1. Lost academic*

        That’s what it did originally but I’ve found overall (been reading it for over a decade) that the advice you get in the comments (not like here, a total free for all but very useful that way) you can get advice for and from all types of professional women in droves. Hence, my suggestion

  16. morethantired*

    I prefer skin-tone color fishnet tights to pantyhose as they’re more breathable and you virtually never have to worry about runs. Most people don’t even notice them, just as they won’t with pantyhose. I wear them because I’m very fair and my legs easily get red marks after being crossed or blotchy in office air conditioning.

    1. Be Gneiss*

      Wait, I need to know more about this!! I get blotchy and get red marks from crossing my legs. I mostly don’t care, but I do have a bottle of a tinted moisturizer for legs that I occasionally break out if I’m worried about making a good impression (and not wanting to look like I have a weird rash or welts or abrasions). But this sounds interesting!

      1. morethantired*

        The Capezio ones are the best, they were designed for dancers. Beyonce almost always wears them when performing, which is really a better endorsement than I could ever give.

    2. Book lover*

      What a great idea. My bare legs are also pale and blotchy, and this sounds like a way to cover them that looks intentional, professional, and not stodgy or dated.

    3. Lady Danbury*

      For my fellow brown people, if you’re looking for nude (for us) fishnets, I highly recommend carnival tights (carnivalista, micles, etc). They come in a range of brown tones are intended to blend in with your skin and are great quality (because they’re made to survive a long day dancing on the road in the hot sun) and are less expensive than Capezio.

  17. Festively Dressed Earl*

    If you’re mentally uncomfortable going bare legged and physically uncomfortable wearing hosiery in hot weather, I’d suggest leg makeup. You don’t have to shell out for specific “body foundation” or whatever; a tube of drugstore BB cream in the shade you’d like will do. Make sure it’s transfer proof, though. Smear it over your legs like a self-tanner, let it dry while you do your hair or your makeup or eat pre-interview cookies, then put your dress on and go forth confidently. Good luck!

  18. Aarti*

    Nylons are the dumbest thing ever invented. Here is an expensive item of clothing that matches your skintone – but not if your skin is brown! – that rips easily and makes you buy a new one because your real legs are icky.
    I love tights, they keep me warm in the winter, and I have started wearing tights that match my dresses. I gave up on nylons like 20 years ago. Tool of the patriarchy indeed!

    1. GiantKitty*

      They don’t match if you are very pale either. I’ve only ever known if one brand that had a color that matched my legs. It was specific to a particular department store that went out of business in the 80s.

  19. AnotherLibrarian*

    I suppose I am the outlier, but I actually like nylons. Still, I do not think they are required.

    1. callmeheavenly*

      I (“geriatric millennial” in the midwest US) would not consciously judge anyone for going bare-legged, but I cannot imagine wearing a business dress suit with bare legs myself.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Here’s where I land, yes. I am also geriatric millennial (Oregon Trail subsection?) You do you, and I will support your right to do it until the cows come home, but I’m not bare-legging outside of my house (I don’t wear shorts either) and to boot, I don’t set foot outside my bedroom without a bra on unless the house is on fire. And in that situation, I’m grabbing it on the way out if I have the opportunity.

    2. Teagan*

      I also like nylons. I don’t always want the look or heaviness of tights but also don’t want my legs to be cold (which will just make the rest of me cold). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bare legs of course but I also don’t fully understand why people are so anti-nylons.

      1. allathian*

        When you’re long-legged and fat, it’s very hard to find a pair that actually fits. It’s very uncomfortable if the legs are so short that the crotch piece hangs nearly midway to your knees. That doesn’t even prevent chub rub.

        Maybe these days there are nylons for tall plus size women, but there weren’t any the last time I looked. I haven’t worn them in years, the last time I attempted to do it was for a funeral. I wore black pants, but I didn’t have any black socks thin enough to wear in my dress flats.

        ETA before posting, I just saw Goldenrod’s post below.Yay!

      2. Critical Rolls*

        Some people (me, it’s me) find them worse than useless. They squeeze, they sag, they don’t breathe and overheat you when it’s warm but aren’t thick enough to help when it’s cold, and they get destroyed if you look at them the wrong way. Plus the look of the “nude” ones just says “80s movie about Business Women” to this elder millennial who grew up in mostly warm climates.

        Plus there’s just a long history of them being emblematic of the hideous, pervasive, nonsensical sexualization/enforcement of beauty standards in the workplace. Bare legs are unprofessional/distracting! But if there are legs, they must be artificially smooth and tan! And there will be legs, because trousers aren’t allowed!

  20. KatEnigma*

    I would not wear nylons because I would not want a job that required them.

    In extreme cold, I have worn tights. Otherwise, I haven’t worn anything on my legs in over 20 years.

  21. Lady Danbury*

    I work in an incredibly conservative industry (law) and I haven’t worn nylons once in my 15 year career. Unless there’s some indication that your location/industry is especially conservative, I wouldn’t bother.

  22. Goldenrod*

    Personally, I feel like pantyhose is old-fashioned, but I wear tights with boots almost every day! I think it looks professional and I get compliments on my style pretty frequently.

    I’m on the larger side (6-feet-tall and not especially skinny), and I used to have trouble finding tights that were long/big enough. If anyone out there is having that issue, I recommend Snag Tights. I think they are based in Scotland? But they have a U.S. website too ( I’ve been able to find comfy tights in my size, in all different colors and styles.

    Just sharing what works for me!

    1. Snag Fan*

      I second Snag tights, and I’m the opposite in height – 4′ 10” and on the heavier side. I’ve NEVER found tights that are short enough, big enough around, stay up.until I found Snag Tights. And they last too! I have regular and footless and wear them all the time!

    2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I’m in the military and we have to wear nylons (not tights) with our dress skirts (stupid) and after spending $10 a week every week replacing the ripped ones, I shelled out $80 for a pair of Sheertex. You can’t rip them with your hands. They’re pretty indestructible.

    3. Azure Jane Lunatic*

      I also recommend for specifying the denier and having a good range of sizes. They start with white nylon in most cases and dye them, so there’s a better range of color imo than Snag (which I also love).

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        Love welovecolors! I have some gorgeous BRIGHT PINK tights from them that have lasted for several winters and multiple trips through the washing machine. They fit well and stay up.

  23. Lacey*

    I worked at a financial institution and wore dresses almost every day. Bare legs for the interview. Bare legs every day at work. Unless it was like, bitter cold, then pants or thick stockings (in my part of the US they’re stockings if they’re knit)

    1. Sans Serif*

      I work at a conservative financial company as well. Wore bare legs to my interview. No one cared. I remember the last time this subject was brought up here, there were a bunch of weird responses (all male) saying how not wearing stockings to an interview or job was a horrible, career-killing move. It was very odd. lol

      1. RedinSC*

        Maybe they could have a panel discussion on International Women’s day about women’s interview clothing options!

  24. RedinSC*

    I remember the last time I wore nylons! It was in 2000! AND, I was late for the commuter train to take me to a customer site and I tripped on the platform and shredded the knee of my black nylons! So, while on the train I took them off.

    I have never worn another pair.

    I do wear tights, though. In the winter, I have some fantastic wool tights and recently invested in some cashmere tights. I love them.

  25. Harpie Sue*

    I recently had a 1:1 with a director of a different department as part of my onboarding process. She told me that when she started working for this company in the *1990s*, women were still required to wear skirts and dresses in the office. The 90s!! I made her repeat herself to make sure I had heard her correctly.

    1. madge*

      Yep. I worked at a law firm in the mid-90s that required skirts/hose/heels for all women regardless of role. There was also a male judge who would refuse to hear any female attorney/paralegal who wasn’t wearing a skirt suit with hose. We may have had the best music of any generation but our corporate culture suuuucked.

  26. Begonia*

    I’m American (elder Millennial) and just call everything tights! I didn’t even know there were differences between all these terms. I always thought that pantyhose and nylons were fussy terms for tights lol. :til:

  27. BellyButton*

    Lawyers in court seem to be last expected place to wear panty hose, and even that seems to be dependent on state, county, and even the judge. Most banks still had a no bare rule until around 2010, but that has gone away now too.

    1. RedinSC*

      Work in a law office with many trial lawyers, and none of the women wear nylons, some have been wearing tights (we’re just coming out of winter here). So I really do think that’s probably regional.

      We’re in coastal California.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        Lawyer in New York here. It was a part of our dress code at my last office as recently as 2022. It was not enforced though and no one was stupid enough to say anything to anyone about their legs AFAIK. I sometimes wore outrageous tights (from We Love Colors, in colors like electric blue lol) and no one ever said anything to me either. Which is smart for them. :)

      2. BellyButton*

        One of my lawyer friends in Oklahoma told me that there are 4 judges in her county who expect the women to wear skirts/dresses and hose. It isn’t a requirement in her law firm or with other judges, just those 4.

      3. Delta Delta*

        Just got out of court in New England where I wore a black dress and black tights. That’s more a function of the fact it was 45 degrees where I live today and I didn’t want to get cold. Warmer days, though, bare legs with skirts/dresses/suits are fine where I am.

      4. Lady Danbury*

        Transactional lawyer who’s worked in the Midwest, South and internationally. Never worn pantyhose but also never go to court.

  28. PoolLounger*

    It’s odd to me that super thin, skin-toned pantyhose would be ok, but bare legs are somehow still seen as unprofessional. Pantyhose may hide a vein or two, but they’re not leaving anything to the imagination!

    1. Red*

      I can see some situations where tights (UK meaning ranges from super sheer to very opaque) are more professional than bare legs. I don’t shave my legs, so the rare occasions I’m wearing a skirt or dress, I’m guaranteed to be wearing tights too.

      Admittedly I think the UK is slightly more lax when it comes to unshaven legs than the US, especially among younger people, so that’s probably a factor too.

  29. Lifeandlimb*

    About 10 or 12 years ago I was told by my college career center that pantyhose was necessary during work and interviews, but upon graduation I went to interview for corporate jobs in my creative industry, and no one ever wore them. My friends who worked at white shoe law firms never seemed to wear them, either. I figured it must have gone out of fashion sometime right before then.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Ehh give it another 5 or 10 years I think, depending on your industry and geography. College centers tend to be a little behind.

  30. sometimes i dress up*

    I went searching for tights a few months ago to pair with a dress and had a very hard time finding any- just basic, black, sheer tights or hose! Tried all the major dept stores and even some smaller ones. Very little in stock now which gave me a feeling not many people are wearing them these days.

    1. Helvetica*

      Wolford is my absolute favourite. It is expensive but so worth it because they last forever.

  31. Delta Delta*

    This is a good question and one that’s hard to answer. It feels like a “know your audience” situation but you might not. I’d error on the side of conservative and wear the stockings/leggings/hose, and if you’re over-dressed it’s probably okay. The other thing is that you don’t always know the room you’ll be in. If it’s chilly, even that teeny tiny layer of nylon can help keep you warm. And then when it’s over you can take them off and feel victorious that you’ve taken them off.

    I’m a 45 year old lawyer and I don’t really wear hose (tights, yes, but not really hose). I went to the big fancy American Bar Association meeting in February and ended up wearing hose with a dress, and I was glad I did. The rooms we were in were chilly, and everyone was a little more formal than I tend to be.

  32. GenXer*

    When I started working at an engineering firm in the mid-90’s, there was only one other female engineer (other women worked there in support roles). So I emulated her and wore power suits with pantyhose and pumps. My next job specifically touted its casual dress code, but I kept some suits & hose around for more formal external meetings, and by the time I left that job, it seems the rest of the world had caught up with the idea that nylons are not necessary. But I sometimes miss the way a good control top smooths everything, making a dress or skirt look better and eliminating thigh rubbing issues. I still wear opaque black tights in the winter and shapewear shorts in the summer to help with that.

  33. Mr. Shark*

    Not a woman, obviously, but I can’t remember the last time I saw someone wearing nylons or the like–maybe at a wedding? But honestly, I didn’t particularly look or notice, and I would definitely not be looking/noticing if I were in an interview setting. I think bare legs is professional and appropriate these days.

  34. Jay (no, the other one)*

    I like the look and feel of nylons/pantyhose/whatever (and yes, I’m old – 63 in July) and I don’t judge other people for not wearing them any more than I judge them for wearing yellow, which looks completely awful on me. I have some permanent skin discoloration on my legs that makes me uncomfortable in more formal or professional situations.

    What I prefer /= what everyone else should do. It might be unprofessional to show up to an interview in jeans and a T-shirt (assuming you’re a grownup applying for a grownup job) or something that is evidently dirty or damaged. And women are definitely held to a different standard in my field (medicine) and I presume in at least some others. But bare legs in and of themselves are absolutely not unprofessional. Go forth and conquer.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      And yes, I’ve tried covering the discoloration with makeup and I’d rather wear hose.

  35. Elizabeth West*

    I solved this problem by almost never wearing dresses — I can’t really do heels anymore after hurting my back. Plus if I’ve gained weight, I’m not comfortable in skirts. When I do, it’s mostly in the winter when I can wear tights and flat shoes or boots. I think it’s fine to do that, or wear dress pants.

    Or at least I hope that remains the case; I have no desire to be forced into a dress by religious goons. #UnderHisEye

  36. marvin*

    I’m wondering what the standards are for bare legs at work if you don’t shave your legs. It feels a bit weird to me, but it would be nice to be comfortable in the summer. As a non binary person shaving my legs doesn’t really sit right.

    1. Workerbee*

      I haven’t shaved my legs for three years now.

      Yet after decades of Women Must Shave indoctrination, and people still getting weird and even angry if a woman-presenting mammal is not one giant piece of hairless skin, I am not yet comfortable leading that particular charge in my tiny, conservative non-profit.

      So in warm weather I opt for maxi dresses and maxi skirts with booties & socks, or sandals, and in less clement weather I do the knit super long socks or stockings and boots or booties. Which also lets me get away with midi length or above the knee.

    2. Red*

      Yep, as a nonbinary person closeted as a woman, I feel exactly the same. I refuse to shave my legs, so tights (UK meaning) are the only choice I feel comfortable with on the rare occasion I’m wearing a skirt or dress.

      It definitely feels like the advice was based on the idea the letter writer would have shaved legs, tbh.

    3. Luna*

      I have unshaven legs and frequently wear leggings at work and in public, especially in summer. So far, nobody has felt compelled to tell me off for displaying leg hair.

  37. GreyjoyGardens*

    I wear tights unless it’s summer and I am wearing sandals. Not because of propriety, but because of comfort. My skin blisters and rubs easily. I canNOT wear closed toed shoes without some kind of foot covering. I also get horrible itchy thigh rub/rash and I’d rather wear tights than keep re-applying blister block or body glide, or get driven out of my mind from the itching and irritation.

    I present the question here: how do you avoid blisters and foot odor in closed toed shoes or thigh chafe in bare legs? I just never seem to hit on the right solution for sweat-free, unblistered feet without coating them in blister block every couple hours. I have had better luck with the newer iterations of body glide, thankfully.

    1. marvin*

      Have you tried the socks that are designed not to show with shoes? They basically cover your toes to the bottom of your ankles. They aren’t the most comfortable but they’re the best alternative I’ve found.

    2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      For thigh chafe I wear slip shorts — like bike shorts but a thin, light material. Jockey Skimmies is one, for reference, I get the mid-thigh length. When I wear a dress I can’t even walk around the house without chafing unless I have these on, so I favor pants/shorts most of the time. They’re not hot or uncomfortable, but if I have to wear shorts I may as well just wear shorts, ya know? I have never found a body glide that works well enough.

      For feet, honestly I just don’t wear closed shoes unless they accommodate socks. In winter I wear boots and in summer I wear sandals, and I build my wardrobe around my feet.

    3. Lady Danbury*

      Regular lotion plus either some type of butter or balm/ointment (Aquaphor, cerave, etc) works for me. I lotion my entire body year round anyway (yay drive, sensitive, eczema prone skin), so it’s already part of my routine. I just happened to notice that lack of chafe was a side benefit when I was trying to figure out why I didn’t have issues with chafing when my thighs are plenty curvy. In the summer, I focus on my inner thighs for the butter/balm, since I don’t need it all over. And no, it doesn’t feel heavy or hot.

    4. hodie-hi*

      I like undersummers dot com. I have a very sporty dress in a white and blue pattern with a short hemline and found a pair of undersummers in the exact same shade of cobalt to match.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      thigh chafe: Snag Tights chub rub shorts. I wear them even under ankle-length skirts, and they’re comfortable even in central Florida in July.

  38. Fug Fan*

    My friend’s work has a “no leggings as pants” rule lol.
    [The girls at will be thrilled!!!]

    1. Lenora Rose*

      I’ve seen individual leggings I would strongly advise against using as pants, at least if you don’t want folks to be able to describe your underwear, but I also have winter weight ones which would absolutely work and be no worse than most pants. … if I were the kind of person who could bring myself to wear just about *any* pants in public. (That’s a me thing, though. Skirts and dresses and not close fitting.)

  39. Will's Mom*

    Yep. Skirts/dresses, hose and heels were a requirement back in the day. I would wear comfortable shoes and change into heels once I got to work. There was quite a kerfluffle in the mid to late eighties when we women decided to revolt and wear open toed shoes with lower heels. We on.
    I remember back in the early 1990’s I wore a pantsuit to work. The slacks were very professional looking. The jacket was a looser fit sort of like a boyfriend jacket. The big boss threatened to send me home to change clothes. (Home was about an hour’s drive away) I told him that if I went home, I would not return until the next day. (I was so over that job at the time) He backed off. When his female executive assistant asked me about it, she went ballistic! (they were having an affair) Soon afterwards, we could wear dress pants, jorts and pallazo pants WITH open toed shoes and he never said another word about it. lol

    1. DJ*

      Crazy to expect heels. Flat court shoes should be acceptable. I have chemo related feet neuropathy (slowly healing) and still would struggle with heels over a full day.
      Had a colleague who would wear things and change to heels in her car. Forgot her heels one day and so had to walk around in things all day. She didn’t have much luck in clothes either. Whilst working out at the gym during her lunch hour someone stole her skirt so she had to buy a new one before returning to the office.

  40. DJ*

    In the late 80’s I worked in a job where you had to wear dresses and skirts with stockings if a woman. Apparently the security officers wouldn’t let you in if you hadn’t which encouraged them to check out women’s legs.
    Thankfully that’s long gone with most women opting for pants (usually black) and a nice top. Very affordable.
    But get some prefer dresses or skirts for many reasons!

  41. Luna*

    I’d say you can go without. You don’t look more or less professional by wearing any type of leg covering alongside your skirt or dress.

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