Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stocking Status

I couldn't believe it when I saw "The Politics of Pantyhose" by Troy Patterson while browsing the magazine section. No way! It's not just a frummie thing?

According to Patterson, seamed stockings, on the one hand, can be considered "sultry," while on the other, a requirement for attending church. Huh. Maybe stockings aren't established religious wear.

Historically, hose was a dude thing
women were, after all, smothered beneath miles of petticoat.

But then: 
Women’s hose were generally a knee-high affair at the start of the 20th century, but when hemlines rose, so did their significance. Adding luster and masking supposed flaws, they had the innate glamour of the sumptuously inessential. And because they appeared in an age when people disregarded fashion dictates at the risk of their social lives, they satisfied a prevailing idea of decorum — but not necessarily modesty. In the mind, as in the department store, stockings are adjacent to the intimate. 
Really? So stockings do not automatically equal "modesty," rather "decorum"? It is the latter term I use to translate "tznius," not the former. And now I've painted myself into a corner. 
As a rule, the more male-­dominated a work environment, the more likely it is expected that women in the ranks will make a gesture toward covering their skirt-­bared legs with fabric as thin as a gesture itself. A friend who is employed by a big bank with a conservative culture (and who declines to identify herself because she would like to remain so) tells us its women are made to understand that they should wear nude hose or black hose or maybe, maybe, opaque black tights in all but the sultriest heat.
But the current First Lady quit stockings eons ago. Then again, I find her casual disregard for refined conventions to be off-putting. I don't seem to be helping myself out here.
The chic woman now inhabits a world in which the exposure of naked shins to the winds of February is quite the opposite of a ghastly mishap. . . 
The bold bareness asserts the enjoyment of an increasingly common luxury — freedom from codes of thought that are, in their way, as constraining as any corset.
Those people who find hosiery a pain are free to renounce it, while those who enjoy or endure it can indulge a multiplicity of pleasures . . . 
Women’s hose have evolved into something new and dissolved into nothing all at once, just as measured feet of poetry evolved into free verse.
So what it boils down to: Wear what you like. Don whats thou wishes. For the decorum of the world has spoken: It's all good.
Via tabletmag

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