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Published: Saturday, 4/19/2008

Crusader for more skirts and dresses hits a snag

As a self-appointed crusader to get women to wear more skirts and fewer slacks, I have been doing considerable research on the subject.

The research has intensified as more slacks and fewer skirts have been noted at all occasions.

At dinner in the finest restaurants, at the theater, at funerals, weddings, you name any place women go, and slacks outnumber dresses and skirts. The ironic side to this fashion scenario is that the stores are promoting more dresses and skirts than they have in many years. Still, there is no lack in the choice of pantsuits.

A professional woman with a high-profile position with numerous board meetings on her agenda says she prefers to wear business suits that have a skirt and jacket, but in the stores she sees more pantsuits and so she often selects them. She added a fact that figures into the equation. Last winter, the slacks were warm when she was going to meetings in the harsh temperatures. But, now it's spring and a season to change.

Do you know what is keeping us in slacks? I do. It's not that we object to showing off our legs, or even knees, or certainly to buying a spiffy ladylike outfit and getting compliments.

The problem is panty hose. We hate the two legs attached at the top by a stretch panty that unfortunately can stretch in the wrong direction and come rolling down like a snowball descending a steep hill. On Easter I thought I was a picture of fashion in a suit and panty hose.

Many miles from home, when I looked at my feet and saw the stockings bulging, I made a quick trip to the ladies room to adjust the problem. But, lo and behold, when I pulled up the panty hose, they came nearly to my chin and in a short time they had settled around my feet again.

I suppose when panty hose were first introduced we all rushed to buy them as a replacement for the old models that we called simply "nylons," one stocking for each leg.

Panty hose with both legs attached eliminated the challenge of finding two "nylons" in the drawer that matched.

One panty hose negative, other than the struggle to get them on and keep them orderly, is that if you get a run in one, the pair goes in the trash, or should, though there are women who keep on wearing them, thinking no one notices the wide runner on the back of the leg or from the toes up to the calf.

At a Toledo restaurant recently, I complimented the hostess on how nice she looked in a trim skirt and blouse. Then I added, aren't panty hose a nightmare? The young trim woman said, no problem. Her legs were bare.

Many of us like to cover our legs for one reason or another, and to that end I have been experimenting as your crusader.

Thigh-highs to the rescue. I have experimented with two pairs, a taupe and an off black. There were some anxious moments when I thought one of the stockings was abandoning the thigh for the knee, but generally the test was successful. Each stocking is secured to the upper leg with inch-wide sticky elastic. For security, be sure to buy the right size. I am so into thigh-highs my pantyhose will be recycled as paint strainers and to tie up the tomato plants.

Of course if you wear your skirts long enough knee-highs work, but don't you hate to see a woman cross her legs and see bare leg above the knee high band?

Of the two other solutions to this fashion dilemma, I have tried one, but not the other.

We can self-tan our legs with lotion that has color added. I tried two different tubes. One was to give a medium to dark "sun kissed" glow. The second product produced a lighter skin tone.

One of the products recommended using it daily; the other label states that the color will last 24 hours. Both warned that the lotion be applied in a smooth, even pattern. They worked for me.

The second solution that eliminates wearing stockings that I have never done is a tanning booth. I am too claustrophobic to go into booths, shut the door, and lie on a surface called a bed and lower the lid. It's not easy to teach an old dog some modern ways.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com.



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