Sunday, April 13, 2008

Image Dynamite

Panty Hose: Image Dynamite

Panty Hose. One pair can blow the whole look, the whole meeting, the whole negotiation, the whole opportunity. Can you believe something that costs so little can cost so much?

Have You Been Panty-Hosed?

Panty Hose. Two little words, so much passion. It’s the most emotionally charged image subject of our time. It even beats visible thongs.

There is no right or wrong. There’s just what is. If you want to survive, you better be able to navigate the minefields.

There Are Two Camps; The Believers And The Unwrapped

The Believers. They believe women can’t leave the house, go to work, attend an important event, or even wear shoes without pantyhose. To them, panty hose are a sign of respect, that you take yourself seriously, you mean business, and you’re “dressed.” If you aren’t wearing panty hose, then you are seen as a slacker, unkempt, crude, an amateur, and poor-mannered. In fact, the Believers are so distracted by the absence of panty hose that they are unable to hear what you are saying or recognize your accomplishments.

The Unwrapped. They believe there is never an excuse for pantyhose. Period. If you are wearing pantyhose, you are seen as uptight, antiquated, dull, unable to keep up physically and mentally, and unworthy of their time. The Unwrapped are so distracted by the presence of panty hose that they are unable to hear what you are saying or recognize your accomplishments.
Fashion Rules

The status of pantyhose is changing. We see signs of this in fashion magazines and in Corporate America. Fashion magazines have been telling us to stop wearing pantyhose for more than 5 years. In 2007, after 44 years, the conservative Mary Kay Corporation relaxed it’s dress code requirement to allow the sales force to go without panty hose. This event is equivalent to a 9.5 earthquake in the beauty and corporate worlds.

None of this means you necessarily have to stop wearing them. If you wear pantyhose here the rules –

  • Pantyhose should be the color of your skin. The sheerer and nuder, the better. Suntan panty hose are never an option.
  • Traditional pantyhose don’t work with open-toe shoes. Wear toe-less pantyhose anytime your toes show.
  • Control-top and shaping panty hose often squeeze more out the top than they control. Opt for “regular strength” to get the smoothing benefits without the abuse.
  • Opaque tights can be worn when it’s cold (temps below 65 degrees). They look best when they are solid, dark, and in a shade similar to your closed-toe shoes.
  • Very fine, sheer fishnet panty hose in a nude color are an updated alternative to traditional panty hose. No, not those fishnets. Check out the hosiery section of the department store and you’ll see nude, fine gauge, fishnet pantyhose with a grid-size of about 1/8-inch. Your legs will look smooth and pretty without the “old lady” look. Skip the seams so the Believers won’t think you’re “trashy.”
Tights and fishnets are a great compromise for both the believers and Unwrapped. To the Unwrapped, they imply that you are forward-thinking and open to new ideas. To the Believers they imply that you are professional and productive.

If you’re open to trying a bare leg, but you’re concerned about the look of your legs. Here are some pantyhose-free options:
  • Treat your legs as wells as your face. Exfoliating and using your facial skincare on your legs will go a long way towards maintaining or improving the look and feel of your legs.
  • Sunless-tanner and bronzing lotions smooth out skin-tone and tone-down blinding paleness. Be sure to exfoliate before using sunless-tanners so you get smooth and even application.
  • “Spray-on” pantyhose such as “air stockings” give lightweight coverage and can cover scars and spider veins.

Navigating The Minefield

In the world of Image, an effective image is comfortable for you and puts the person you are with at ease so they can get to know the “real you,” the person inside. A “bad’ image is one that distracts the person you are with so they can’t or don’t want to get to see the real you.
The key to surviving the pantyhose dilemma (especially in a business situation) is knowing who you are and who you are going to be with. If you are a Believer and meeting with an UnWrapped, it would be wise to rethink the pantyhose. If you are an Unwrapped meeting with a Believer, considering pantyhose may be key to your success.

You don’t have to like it, but now you know the truth. You can choose to act or not, it’s up to you. One last word of warning - beware, men are hide among the Believers and Unwrapped.
Sarah Shah is an Image Artist, Media Coach & Speaker. Contact her at (713) 686-8587,, and
© Sarah Shah, Imagine Unlimited 2008, All Rights Reserved