Remember those egg shaped pantyhose packages called “Leggs” that were all the rage in the ’80s? Back then the most popular hose colours were nude (by “nude” I mean a colour that is very similar to your skin tone, whatever that happens to be). Woman also wore shiny, lycra-rich nude hose which were considered ultra stylish and sophisticated. I remember wearing a pair just like that to a University ball in 1988 and feeling ever so swish and grown up. 

And then it all changed. Nude toned hosiery became something that you didn’t wear anymore — bare legs being the stylish alternative. More recently, textured and coloured hose became fashionable options, but nude hose stayed out in the cold.

Is it all about to change again? A couple of months back, forum member Kristine’s contribution to our weekly links roundup was a post claiming that “bare legs are so 2010”. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, had been wearing nude hose with her designer dresses. The question was whether this was the sign of nude hose making a comeback, or just Kate conforming to the protocol of nude hose, knee length skirts and closed toe shoes to please the Queen.

Aside from Kate’s popularity driving the trend, this actually lines up with a broader resurgence of “ladylike” styles, like longer hemlines, softer silhouettes and more refined footwear. Perhaps the best example is the midi dress, which feels frumpy right until it feels fabulous. Half the world is thinking matronly, conservative and unstylish, while the other half sees something cutting edge and fashionable. 

Fashionable or not, nude hose has its place. I do like nude fishnet hose, and nude hose with tiny polka dots. And although I haven’t worn it as a fashion statement in almost 20 years, I do layer inexpensive plain nude hose underneath fancy textured hose for extra warmth. I suggest textured hose to my clients, but some of them need to wear nude pantyhose because the setting calls for it, like in a courtroom and other work settings that demand a conservative dress code.

Might nude hose once again be a fashion statement? Maybe there is a middle ground where nude hose is just fabulously classic. Or do you think it puts you on Team Frump no matter what?

I’m on the fence. It’s quite possible that nude hosiery becomes a stylish lady-like statement all over again. And if it happens, I’ll be climbing on that bandwagon.