Pantyhose in the 80s

Which came first: the pantyhose or the egg?

Ladies, do you remember wearing pantyhose back in the early 80s? Of course you do because we all wore pantyhose; if we were wearing a dress or a skirt, we were wearing pantyhose.  Because, you know, nothing beats a great pair of l’eggs.

In fact, here I am on my first day of 7th grade wearing pantyhose. With my little, white Keds sneakers. In Florida.  We didn’t call them nylons or hosiery – and no one was wearing tights unless you had them under your legwarmers while you were taking dance class.

Lori sports pantyhouse with Keds on her first day of 7th grade

No fancy department store brands were needed; these puppies were purchased at the supermarket, and how fitting, they came tucked inside a plastic egg.

Pantyhose egg display

Was the thought of being bare-legged that awful? You had to cover up those legs by buying yourself some of those eggs!

Pantyhose egg containers

Sure, we wore the standard nude/tan pantyhose, but they also came in a variety of colors. Mostly, I remember wearing them in (gulp) white, navy or black.

Lori wearing black hose in the 80s

There was a brand called “Underalls” (pantyhose with built in underwear!) that had an offshoot called “Coloralls” which came in fancier colors like teal green, dove gray and blush pink.

Coloralls pantyhose

Fancier ‘hose could have little patterns stitched into the material – like these popular little dot pattern ones that kind of made you look like you had a rash.

Patterned hose from the 80s

Speaking of white, don’t you remember wearing your white “pumps” with your nude ’hose? I sure do.

Sheer Energy pantyhose were supposed to give my legs energy! And make them feel massaged all day long! I mean, just check out this stewardess after a long flight . . . her legs are full of . . . energy!

There were two bummers about wearing pantyhose all the time. First, the fact that they constantly ran/got holes/snags in them. Like, I don’t think I ever wore a pair twice. Second, the dreaded “elephant ankles” where your pantyhose were too big and ended up as sad, saggy bunches of nylon gathered at the bottom of your legs. Not a good look.

Today our legs have a lot more freedom; we don’t feel the pressure to wear pantyhose every time we wear a dress or a skirt. And you certainly don’t see teenage girls rockin’ the pantyhose anymore.

Instead of the control top feature of the past we now have Spanx to hold in our tummies. Although I have to admit, I still bust out the egg once in a while for old time’s sake, when I want to feel smooth, firm, and nostalgic.

80s Leggs Pantyhose Ad – Smoothing. Plus Firming!

Is it possible that pantyhose are making the smallest of comebacks from their height in the 80s? You may have noticed in recent years pantyhose making a resurgence thanks to Princess Kate Middleton. Blogs, magazine articles, and websites devoted to what Kate wears have all commented on her need for nylons.

Apparently she’s been wearing them for years — even before she came into the spotlight. Sometimes she wears sheer and sometimes they have a little sheen to them, with nary a case of elephant ankles to be seen. I think we can all agree that no matter what, Kate’s legs always look great.

80s Leggs Pantyhose Ad – She's Got Sheer Elegance!

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Author: Lori Ferraro

Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.

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8 Comments

  1. Oh yes, I definitely remember Leggs pantyhose in the little eggs, they were my go-to brand. I started keeping a few pairs of them in their light blue plastic home at the ready in my dresser drawer around the time I was in seventh grade, probably purchased at my local TG&Y Variety store.

    I wore them to church, I sometimes wore them to school, I wore them at any time I felt the need to dress up. A picture still resides in my parents’ living room of a fourteen year old me at my grandparents’ 40’th anniversary reception in 1981, dressed very stylishly in royal blue velour pants and matching top with the highest slingback heel I dare to wear at that age, my suntan-colored feet and ankles the only clue of what was undoubtedly a newly hatched pair of pantyhose underneath my finery.

    I also remember the Underalls family quite well (I wore Slenderalls all the time in later years, no panty lines OR jiggles), and I rocked my black or gray dot-patterned pantyhose on many occasions in the Eighties. Thank you for an amusing trip down memory lane! :-)

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    • I have worn pantyhose since they came out in the early 60`s They are so comfortable, I don`t hide them I never have. I really don`t care who see`s them it is my business. I hope girls stop following the leader and giving up on pantyhose. It is all per pressure.

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  2. Hi Lori,

    I know this article is fairly old, sorry for the EXTREMELY late comment LOL. Would you mind an opinion from a man whom considers himself a pantyhose fetishist? I do not wear them myself, I am not that kind of a fetishist. I do however find them very attractive on women.

    I am married, and 42, and do recall when women wore them all the time. My wife doesn’t wear them that often, but does wear them when we are being intimate. I understand the reasoning behind women not wanting to wear them. They can be hot, stifling, they do run all the time, and they are not the most comfortable thing to wear.

    I think though, that more women would be surprised at how many men there are who consider themselves pantyhose fetishists (even if they don’t know or realize it). I hate that word by the way, I guess it is a fair descriptor, but it just sounds semi-creepy.

    I don’t think women should wear them all the time either, but it would be nice to see them worn more for formal occasions and semi-formal one’s also. They DO flatter the legs very much, and lets be honest, not that many women have truly flawless legs, but pantyhose add the illusion that they do.

    I always found it funny, that many men like stockings or thigh highs. I don’t care for them so much. The allure of pantyhose (for me anyway) is the fact that they go all the way up! I always believed as well, and my wife actually shares this opinion, that women should not wear panties with pantyhose as they were made to eliminate the need for stockings and panties.

    That’s where the panty part of the word pantyhose came from. The gusset (or crotch if you will) of the hose, is to be the replacement panel for the panty. But I also know most women when faced with the thought of pantyhose without panties think eww! LOL.

    Anyways, I just wanted you to know that many men do find them very attractive and they DO make womens legs look very sexy! I just wanted to pass along those few words and tell you that I appreciated the column and I do remember the 80’s when every girl/women in a skirt or a dress wore them. It was heaven for a man like myself LOL.

    Either way take care, and thanks again for the article, and btw, Kate Middleton DOES have very sexy legs! There does seem to be a plethora of women today wearing them more. Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift just to name two.

    Thanks again,
    Steven :)

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  3. Coming in far beyond the date of the original post, I feel the need to chime in on this topic. I am 49 years old, and I recognize the generational divide between myself and the so-called “millenials”. Where women’s fashion is concerned, the concept of wearing a sheer, form-fitting garment over the legs is foreign, indeed. I spent my high school years at a boarding school whose dress code stated that, from mid-October to mid-April, female students had to wear hose of some variety with a skirt or dress. In college, during the mid 1980s, most female students wore some form of hosiery when dresses, skirts or even shorts were worn. As I evolved, I came to accept that a woman’s legs, in “dressy” situations, looked unfinished without some kind of thigh-high or toe-to-waist hosiery. Some women, such are news anchors or models, are either blessed with or have invested in polished, blemish-free legs, but, with no disrespect intended, I contend that the majority of women are not as fortunate. I acknowledge that fashion’s evolution has allowed “professional dress code” for women to become very relaxed where legwear is concerned, but, ladies, I think the aforementioned duchess is onto something. She is most assuredly not wearing “your mother’s pantyhose”. Indeed, if I may be so bold, a woman who avails herself of the modern legwear choices today will likely make a very positive impression upon anyone she meets, professionally or otherwise. Such a woman would definitely capture and hold my attention.

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  4. I remember L’Eggs well! I’m almost 58, and I couldn’t imagine wearing a shorter-than-midcalf skirt without them, even today. Too pale and too many spider veins!

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  5. I was never without several eggs in my panty drawer – and don’t forget the emergency back up pair (the ones with the smallest runs)! Or trying to tuck the damn runs into your shoes by twisting the feet or wearing the hose backwards (leaving one with the unmistakable dirty sole on top). Thanks for the smiles and the fabulous pic of the Leggs display (remember spinning the shelves to search for your size)!

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  6. It was 7th grade when I noticed a girl’s legs for the first time and she was wearing Sheer Energy pantyhose because they shimmered and shined in the sunlight streaming inside the chapel at school. I attended a private school were all the girls had to wear skirts/dresses with hose and the choice was this brand. I was never the same. It wasn’t until I graduated and my g/f who was 16 bought a pair and wore them for me that I actually got to find out what they felt like. I was hooked and easily pleased. Now that I’m over 50, I find it sad that so many women have such a bad feeling about hosiery. It’s not like high heels, corsets or such. I remember my mother complaining about nylon thigh highs and the hassles they were with the suspenders and girdle but now women seem to love them moe than pantyhose. It’s such a mixed up world where one thin goes out and another comes back in. I’m not a fan of men in hose or mantyhose but if that turns them on, so be it. Me, I prefer the ladies in hose and it’s trying to get them to don them these days although a steak dinner is often a simple method. Yes I’m not above bribery. 😉

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  7. Thank God this post is still alive, My name is Zoli and i have made my living thanks to pantyhose, and the 80,s I also as many of you attended catholic school and all the girls wore on daily basis, I still love the look and feel of them on a woman’s legs. A huge thanks to all the ladies who still wear..
    Zoli

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