I feel guilty about pantyhose. I don’t wear them. I haven’t for years, but I still feel guilty. Something about going to work with bare legs just doesn’t feel professional.
I blame US Steel. It was my first real job. Although the mills had a casual dress code (that usually got covered up fireproof “greens” anyway), at headquarters we were business formal. Business formal for women meant skirts and pantyhose.
“I don’t want to see my employees walking around downtown looking like a bunch of Kmart clerks.” That’s what US Steel’s president said when asked about allowing business casual attire at the USX Tower.
Luckily I worked in an information systems department where the dress code rules weren’t followed as strictly. We could have casual Fridays during the summer as long as we didn’t have meetings outside the department. Women could wear pantsuits, again, as long as we didn’t have meetings outside the department. But most days I wore a jacket, a blouse, a skirt, high heels, and pantyhose.
It’s been over a decade since I left US Steel. Since then most of my jobs have had far more relaxed dress codes. Still, when I go to work wearing a skirt without pantyhose it feels a bit wrong. A bit unprofessional. A bit inappropriate.
This is why I usually wear pants.
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