Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pantyhose FTW?

Okay readers, I need some help.

I'm attending what I would describe as a "Black Tie Optional" event, and I will probably be wearing a cocktail-length gown. Do you think I need to wear nylons or pantyhose or tights, etc?

Personally, I don't want to. Not only do I find them uncomfortable (I essentially quit ballet class as a child to avoid wearing tights), but I also have a very rebellious reaction to the idea of being told that as a woman, I "must" wear these very conservative garments because to see BARE LEG, OMG would be unseemly. It feels anti-feminist.

Then again, is it equivalent to the male needing to wear, well, a black tie? I feel like that's a matter of fashion (as I am adhering to Black Tie fabrics, lengths, etc) but the hose is somehow a reflection of sexual deviance, sexuality, chastity. I mean, who is noticing a sheer skin-colored fabric on my legs that is trying its best to be invisible? And why are they looking? And who are they to tell me to cover up?

Now, I do understand that it's formal, conservative, and traditional to wear tights. That's pretty much a given. If someone else were asking ME about this topic, I would advise them to wear hose to be on the safe side. (Because while I don't mind being controversial with fashion, I wouldn't recommend breaking the rule to others. It is a broken rule.) What I don't understand is whether this is seen in 2009 as a "must" rather than an option, and why. Do I look like the party slut if I'm wearing a very mature, formal gown but no hose? Am I offending the elderly? Do I just look unaware of the rules of dress?

Now, I'm a modern gal. I don't think I need to keep quiet, I don't let dates get the door or the check for me, and I wear white shoes after Labor Day. When I wear fashionable tights (when they're cute, when I'm cold, etc.), I never wear them with open-toe shoes (unless the seams are completely invisible, but generally not even then). That's because I think it looks tacky though, not because I'm trying to follow a rule.

I do know the rules. But I don't know the rules about breaking rules. What crime and to what extent am I commiting if I rebel against the attitude that I "must" wear tights to this shindig? My mother says that I will offend "the grown-ups" attending. I said I AM a grown-up (and then I stomped my foot, right?) and asked if she meant I would offend OLD PEOPLE.

I've never worn tights to formal events (not since I was a child), not even to recent job interviews. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding one summer ago, and I wore a knee-length gown and no hose. (In fact, this hasn't really come up at all in my adult life, unless I've been breaking these hose laws without knowing it (probably). I do have nice, smooth, tan legs though, so I think I that's generally why I have gotten by in the past without any finger-wagging.)

So please, help me put this all in perspective. I don't want to offend my hosts. But I don't want to be uncomfortable, nor do I want to make a choice merely for the sake of "tradition." I don't mind being unconventional, I do mind offending. Your thoughts?

(BTW, later this evening I'll be posting some pictures of the dress options. You can help me choose the dress!)

[From a friend:
[5:13 P.M.]: honestly, I would wear hose.
[5:18 P.M.]: bare legs don't fit black tie.
[5:19 P.M.]: black tie has always been a very strict phrase.
[5:20 P.M.]: you think tuxedos are comfortable?
[5:20 P.M.]: they're not
[5:20 P.M.]: not even a little.
[5:20 P.M.]: black tie is not about comfort, you're a fashionista.
[5:20 P.M.]: you should know fashion and comfort sometimes diverge horribly.]

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