Pippa and Kate.Photo: Indigo/Getty Images
Kate Middleton’s love of sheer hosiery is practical for her new life as a member of the royal family, whose best assets have never included a casual, loosey-goosey attitude toward getting dressed. Hosiery is also a good thing to wear when you have many photo ops on helipads, where it’s windy and your dress might be feeling a little loosey-goosey itself. Since the nineties, sheer nude hose have been largely viewed in this country as an unfortunate thing some unfortunate women still have to wear to work per a stuffy office dress code. However, they are starting to become trendy thanks to Kate and her panty hose-loving sister, Pippa. Whatever gene causes them to gravitate towards the sheer legwear is quickly evolving in celebrities as well: Sarah Jessica Parker, Mischa Barton, and Hayden Panettiere have all been seen wearing hose over the past few months. Average young women in the U.K. — where Hanes and L’eggs report an 85 percent increase in sales of nude hose over the past year — are also starting to copy the look. Something similar is expected in the U.S. as well.
In fact, demand for nude hose is already being seen here. An executive at Kayser-Roth Hosiery reports that bookings for nude hose are up twelve percent in the U.S. in May. “The demand for very sheer, nude and transparent looks is not an accident — it’s being driven by London and it’s all about being very elegant,” she told WWD.
The rekindled interest in sheer hosiery comes as no surprise to Valerie A. Mackie, marketing director for legwear at Invista Inc., who projected a “renaissance” last fall.
“I think what’s fueling the renewed interest is a younger consumer who hasn’t worn hosiery in the past…that’s why thigh highs are so strong at Victoria’s Secret, with the Silks brand in Canada, and in countries like Spain, where thigh highs represent as much as 50 percent of total sheer hosiery business,” said Mackie.
Thigh-highs and nude hose feel like very different things to us — thigh-highs are about being sexy! Something young women overtly gravitated toward, especially near the end of the last decade, with pop stars like Rihanna and Lady Gaga running around in barely any clothing. Sheer panty hose are about not having sex appeal, cellulite, or bruises — three things royals and their siblings must want to avoid exposing in the tabloids very badly.
The Royal Road to Sheer Hosiery [WWD]