Do Women Still Really Wear Pantyhose in 2024 and Beyond?

Everyone seems to have an opinion on pantyhose, and wherever you fall, we’re not about to try to change yours. But if you’re here to figure out if that pair you found collecting dust in your closet during spring cleaning should be considered a relic, or if rumors you’ve heard about pantyhose’s resurgence in the fashion world are true, then we’ve got you covered. Let’s discuss the rise, fall, and subsequent resurgence of pantyhose.

(In case you’re looking for quick answers, you’ll be interested to know that while most American women aren’t really expected to wear pantyhose anymore, these hosiery items have, in fact, made a comeback. So, feel free to wear pantyhose — or not. Either way, you can still dress “in vogue”).  

The Rise and Fall of Pantyhose

Pantyhose can trace their roots all the way back to the 1940s when their predecessor “Nylons” (synthetic stockings) hit the mass market in 1940 after scientist Wallace Carothers synthesized the material nylon in 1935 and his employer, DuPont, patented it in 1938.

Immediately after their launch, Nylons sold at a rate of approximately 4,000,000 pairs a day!

It wasn’t until 1959 that Allen E. Gant would have “the crazy idea of merging underpants and stockings all into one”, creating pantyhose.

By the mid-60s, the miniskirt was in vogue, being worn by the likes of Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton. Miniskirt hems were too short to wear with garter belts, so pantyhose became increasingly popular.  

Before then, “it was expected that women would wear the full gamut of foundation garments and slips”, meaning pantyhose were seen as a symbol of women’s liberation.

By the 1980s and 1990s in the “Working Girl” or “Dynasty” era, pantyhose and shoulder pads were a women’s wardrobe staple. This was perhaps their apex of popularity, though, as in the mid to late ‘90s and early aughts.  

Does Anyone Wear Pantyhose Anymore?

The view of a woman's lower half wearing a black bra, black pantyhose, and black heels.

Are pantyhose still fashionable for 2024 and beyond? Yes! They are.

While even just five or ten years ago, the answer to the question “do women wear pantyhose anymore” may have been a “no” for the majority of respondents, that’s no longer true.  

It may have something to do with the Duchess of Sussex, otherwise known as Meghan Markle, who was shown wearing white hosiery in a 2018 photograph.

Or it may have something to do with the fact that fashion is often cyclical, with trends going out of style and coming back in again with a regular cadence, not unlike the peaks and valleys of cyclical economics.  

Whichever way you slice it, one thing is certain: pantyhose are definitely back in. So, wear them to your heart’s delight!

Pantyhose vs. Nylons vs. Stockings vs. Leggings vs. Tights

Pantyhose, stockings, nylons, leggings, and tights are often used interchangeably to refer to the same item of clothing. But technically, each of these garments is a bit different than the next in the following ways.

  • Stockings: Stockings are hosiery items that cover only the legs and feet but do not extend up to the waist.
  • Nylons: "Nylons" is a colloquial term used to refer to various types of sheer or semi-sheer hosiery, including pantyhose, stockings, and tights, rather than its own exclusive category of garment. It came into vogue in the late 1930s/early 1940s after the invention of the material Nylon.
  • Leggings: Leggings are close-fitting, stretchy pants that are usually made from a thicker material like cotton, spandex, or a blend of fabrics. This is usually not the case for other hosiery items, such as pantyhose, which are often sheer and are only meant to be worn under other clothing items like skirts or dresses.
  • Pantyhose: Pantyhose are a type of hosiery that covers both the legs and the hips in one continuous garment.
  • Tights: Tights are similar to pantyhose but are typically thicker and more opaque.

What are the Rules for Wearing Pantyhose in 2024 and Beyond?

Are pantyhose out of style? No. Are pantyhose still fashionable? Yes. But even if they weren’t, we here at Anthony’s believe in embracing your personal style and dressing with confidence.

We encourage you to dress age-appropriately and according to your own priorities, whether that includes sticking to high-fashion or sticking to whatever’s most comfortable. After all, the most powerful form of individuality is having the self-confidence to buck trends (or follow them!) as you see fit.  

Still looking for tips on how to wear pantyhose? Try wearing them under a sundress or skirt for added warmth on chilly nights out or for a touch of class on any occasion.

A wooden drawer full of neutral-toned hosiery

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