Great Pantyhose Debate Revisited

This photo has nothing to do with this post, other than another thing I'm doing is drinking a lot of cold tea to keep me writing. Hot days lend themselves to writing.

I’ve been absent from the blog because I’ve been writing. I’ve discovered that if I want to write on a new book, as well as some other bits and pieces, I have had to cut down on other activities. I am a person very easily distracted. I’ve also cut down on television watching and correspondence, making way for the hours I need for to focus on the crucial beginnings of a new book. First things first. And frankly, I find myself quite relaxed without jumping all over the web.

However, I’ve received a lovely letter from Joyce C., who asked me to repost the Great Pantyhose Debate. She put simply ‘pantyhose’ in the subject of her email, knowing I would instantly know to what she referred. If you have read my novel, Chin Up, Honey, you may likely also know the story. (Begins on page 102) The debate actually took place in 2007, with my dear Big Mama.

If you have read my blog, you know that we lost Big Mama last month. It is a joy to share this memory of a cherished time. Have a chuckle with Big Mama.

As always, blessings,


* * * * *

The Great Pantyhose Debate, or whhyy would you do that?

Do you wear your pantyhose with panties under them, or without?

This question came up on a visit to my dear mother-in-law. She and I were talking about how different things are now than when each of us was young. My mother-in-law is seventy-nine, so obviously a lot more has transpired for her than I, but one memory we each share is the advent of pantyhose.

My mother-in-law said, “You know what I like best about pantyhose? You don’t have to wear any panties with ‘em. I mean, the panties are built right in.”

I agreed in a more or less automatic nodding fashion. I was reclining on the couch, my mind drifting into the past, remembering far back to the an early age and girdles and those things, whatever they were called, to which we attached hose. My mother-in-law brought me out of this reverie by speaking ardently.

“You know, one time I was ridin’ over to church with Doris and Delphia, and I mentioned how the best thing about pantyhose is not havin’ to wear panties under them. And that Delphia said, ‘You don’t wear panties? I do.’ She said it like that and looked at me like I was nuts. I said, ‘Well, Nooo! Why would they call ‘em pantyhose, if you were supposed to wear panties with them?’”

In order to get the complete flavor of the conversation, you need to know that my mother-in-law is a true matriarch of the family. A woman of faith and good sense, she has been the guide for the family for many years. Since the birth of great-grandchildren, she goes by the title of Big Mama, not for physical size but for spirit size. She is a woman of strong convictions, who doesn’t hesitate to share them, with no apologies, and generally in a voice that no one has a hard time hearing.

Big Mama continued, “I asked Doris, who was drivin’, ‘Do you wear panties under your pantyhose?’ And she kinda gives me the eye, you know, like this, and says, ‘Well…yeah.’ I couldn’t believe it! Who would wear panties under their pantyhose? Do you wear panties under your pantyhose?”

“No, I don’t.” I said quickly. I wasn’t lying. I don’t. But you know, if I did, I might have said that I didn’t.

“I know Doris wears those cotton panties,” said Big Mama. “Lord, they’d be uncomfortable under pantyhose…all bunched up. I told them, ‘Wwhyy would you want to wear panties under pantyhose? They have that cotton insert. That’s why they call ‘em pantyhose. And you can’t see anything under them.’” They said they didn’t know. They just did. I just can’t imagine. Don’t you think most wear them without?”

I said that I thought most people didn’t wear panties. Although, then I started to wonder.

“Well, I just don’t know Whhyy anyone would wear panties under pantyhose. That is why they are called pantyhose. Now you just tell me why anyone would do that?”

I said I just didn’t know.

Shortly, my sister-in-law, Carolyn, arrived. I felt the need to ask her if she wore panties under her pantyhose. I couldn’t help it.

“Yes, I do,” she said, nodding calmly, as if asked this question every single day of her life.

“You wear panties under your pantyhose?” Big Mama said, and in a way that I would have corrected myself, if I had been Carolyn.

“Yes, I do, Mom,” said Carolyn, still smooth as silk.

Whhyy would you do that? They are panty-hose! The panty is built right in. That’s why they are called pantyhose. You’re not supposed to wear panties with them.”

“I just do.”

“Well, I don’t know why anyone would do that.” She puzzled this over, aloud, for a few more minutes.

When my youngest sister-in-law, Sharon, and her grown daughter, Tanya, arrived, I eagerly put the question to them.

“Well, yeah, I do,” Sharon said, and giving a puzzled laugh.

Again Big Mama was aghast. I was surprised. I was beginning to wonder about me and her.

“We’re loose women,” I said, and Big Mama instantly repeated her strong views about the panty being sewn into the hose, and no one was supposed to wear panties with them.

Tanya explained that she never wore pantyhose anymore, but, “Big Mama, when I was little and you made me wear them to church, you made me put panties on under them.”

“Those weren’t pantyhose…they were tights. You’re supposed to wear panties under tights. You are not supposed to wear panties under pantyhose. I don’t know why anyone would. Whhyy would anyone do that?” she asked all of us, with an expression of disgust.

“You made me wear them.” Tanya injected.

The age old question of what might happen if you’re out and get in a wreck was brought up. Carolyn asked me what I would do if all I had on was pantyhose and no panties. I answered that I had never thought about it. But I began to feel a little anxious about the prospect. Big Mama maintained her position that pantyhose was the same as panties and should not be worn with panties, and put forth that not having panties on would make things easier, should one be injured and have to jerk the pantyhose off.

I grabbed a tablet and began a count. We currently stood at two Without and five With.

“I’m goin’ to call my mother.” I grabbed my cell phone.

My mother had not worn pantyhose on a regular basis for well over twenty years, since she retired from waitressing, however, when she had worn them, she had worn panties, most definitely. I got the impression wearing pantyhose without panties had never occurred to her, ever.

Big Mama took this in. “Well, I just can’t imagine why anyone would wear panties under pantyhose. Whhyy would anyone do that? You just tell me,” she demanded of each of us, not that any answers changed her mind.

She then picked up the phone and called her pastor’s wife. We all listened, and watched Big Mama’s face. Her voice dropped, “Oh…you do. Well, we were all just talkin’…Thank you.” She hung up quickly, momentarily deflated.

I decided to call a friend, who was born and raised half a continent away, and could definitely give an outside opinion. I was certain we would finally get someone on mine and Big Mama’s team.

“Yes, I wear panties,” my friend said.

“Oh,” I said.

I returned to the living room and was met with Big Mama getting out of her chair and looking at me with bated breath. “What did she say?”

“Another with.”

Big Mama stared at me.

“Oh,” she said, defeat shrinking her shoulders.

The next day when we dressed for church, I still didn’t put on panties under my pantyhose, and neither did Big Mama. Now, though, I was a little concerned of what might happen should we get in a wreck.

“I’m drivin’ real careful,” I told Big Mama. “I sure don’t want to get in a wreck and us get caught without panties.”

To which Big Mama said, “Well, I just can’t figure out whhhyyy anyone would want to wear panties. You’re not supposed to. That’s why they call them pantyhose.”

* * * **

Just to give you a report— we didn’t dare ask anyone at church that Sunday, but my sisters-in-law and I continued the poll for some weeks. It was interesting. We polled young and older. Age seemed not to matter. We ended up with a piddling 4 Without panties, and a whopping 24 With.

In the twenty-four With category are two people who sometimes wear panties underneath their pantyhose and pull on another pair on top of the pantyhose. I guess we can call these Double With.

Whhyy would they do that?” we all ask.

One of those polled reported: “Well, I wear panties under my pantyhose, unless I’m out with my husband, and then I don’t.” We are not going to ask further.

Please feel free to comment with your preference, should you feel bold enough to do so. Big Mama sure would.

27 thoughts on “Great Pantyhose Debate Revisited

  1. When pantyhose were invented in the 60’s. They were intended to replace 3 things. 1) panties 2) garters 3) 2 piece stockings. They were intended to be worn “WITHOUT PANTIES” under them. Women have problems when heat and moisture are not allowed to leave.. They will suffer from things like vaginal oder, or yeast infections, to name a few. This is why there’s a cotton gussett in the crotch of pantyhose. When you use panties under pantyhose, you increase the problem of heat and moisture 2 fold, because you now made a double layer and effectivly eliminated the air flow needed, which is the purpose of the cotton gussett. It’s like having 2 blankets, and now the problem gets worse, and another article I read from a year long poll of OB/GYN’s also said that nylon is by far the worst material for women to wear in this area. They even went as far as to say that women and men should switch undergarments, that it’s all backwards. The problems suffered by women wearing nylon panties are many. The problems suffered by men are none, and nylon benefits men far more than cotton (which women should be wearing). It’s more comfortable and more supportive for men, in a place wear women need no support. This is not my opinion. I’m quoting what was in reports from medically trained Gyno’s. Until the 1890’s, things like silk were intened for men, as was nylon when Mr. Dupont inveted the material, but society thought otherwise and screwed things up as usual. The material that benefits men with no problems is considered womens clothing, while the material that benefits women is considered mens clothing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist when using logic, to see that these gyno’s have it right, but the teachings of old were repressive and wrong. So what else is new huh ?


    • What a delight your comment provides! Thanks for taking the time to write. Yes, all this stuff with what ‘should’ be is convoluted and backwards. My grandson likes the color pink. He asks for pink balloons, pink straws, etc. The clerk at MacDonald’s tried to tell him he could not have a pink balloon because he was a boy. We’ve never told him that. And he’s all boy, but what’s the harm in liking a color? The world is nuts…so what else is new, as you say? Let me listen to my own voice, as my Big Mama taught me.


  2. I think the “no hose” thing is just another part of the comfort vs classy society that we live in. People used to dress well…clothes were made better, out of better material, better fit, lasted longer and people for the most part looked real classy. Today people travel in sweat pants with flip flops and nasty feet that none of us want to look at. Go out to a nice restuarant on a weekend and it is full of people dressed like they might as well be a home lounging in front of the TV. I think nylons of some type, “finish” an outfit for a woman. When I see a professional woman with a skirt and no hose it looks unfinished to me…when I see a woman in a cocktail dress, trying to look sexy with her bare legs and exposed feet, I feel like she is missing an opportunity to wear some sexy lingerie for her legs and feet. I hate to say it but most women do not do bare legged, exposed feet well…it may be more comfortable but that is just what it is…more comfortable. Hose is a thing of the “classy past” that like most of society will probably not come back.


    • I so agree with all you say. When did people begin to go shopping in their pajamas? I mean, complete with slippers. I think one of our largest problems is self-love. When we love and respect ourselves, we do go for comfort, but we don’t forget self-respect. Thanks for stopping by my site and sharing your thoughts.

      CurtissAnn Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming. ~Myrna Loy


    • I’m one who enjoys having the “classy” leg look and feel of wearing pantyhose. I understand the real question was one of wearing panties with pantyhose so please excuse me for being a bit off topic. I would like to inject the notion that many young women will probably suffer from varicose veins in their later years from not wearing hosiery. I am glad that I have worn pantyhose since my teens up until now (over thirty years) because I believe they have been the key to keeping my legs healthy. If one spends a little extra on their hose, they will be able to wear them nearly 24/7 without the least bit of discomfort.


      • What was the name of those hose popular for awhile? Silky Support? Whatever, I wore them all the time, back when I wore hose. And I remember well our Big Mama wearing these type of support hose even with her slacks. She said her doctor told her the same thing that you say about the leg support. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation!



  3. Just got through reading the debate. Halfway through I had to stop and go back to read it aloud to my husband… not that he can vote, but he did think it was pretty funny. Past experience dictates I vote “with”, but I now see the error in my ways, and in future, “without” will be the way to go. I’ll be sure to drive real careful.


  4. Nope. Pantyhose are so much more comfortable to wear without panties worn either over or under the hose. Who needs the extra bulk. I have worn mainly ultra sheers w/ control top since the mid seventies and still enjoy them to date that way. I also learned a neat little trick; ultra sheer (100% nylon leg) pantyhose will be a lot silkier and comfortable if you wear them inside out! At least give it a try. You won’t regret it.


    • I just returned from the RWA writers conference, and not one time did I wear pantyhose. I did not even take any! I admit to checking out a lot of legs, and I never saw any hose. I guess most of us are done with them, at least in summertime. Oh, I did wear panties!


      • >I admit to checking out a lot of legs, and I never saw any hose. I guess most of us are done with them, at least in summertime. Oh, I did wear panties!

        Good for you…wearing panties that is. What’s bad is when panty lines can be seen under pants or slacks. To those people I say, either go commando or wear bigger pants. Or wear a skirt.


  5. This was wonderful. I’ve given up pantyhose for thigh-highs, but I was a “:with.” Except…there was this one brand that the top really WAS panties, which were really cool. My mom wanted me to cut the legs off and wear them as underwear when the hose part was shot. This started a real big discussion about being cheap. Thanks for the memory!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, you can see right through the darn things most of the time. A friend of my mom’s was in an accident. No panties under pantyhose and, yep, she had to sit in her car with her skirt over her head the entire time the firemen were trying to get her out of the car. I use stockings and garter clips (attached to industrial strength girdle) but yes, I wear panties with those.


  7. i have never thought of wearing panties with my pantyhosse, that is why they call them panty hose, so i agree with big mama. ps. i am 65 years old……lou


  8. Oh, Curtiss Ann! This was wonderful!! It’s so great to see that you had a good relationship with your MIL . . . and that you two were both on the side of “without”!! 🙂 I WAS a “with” gal… NEVER occurred to me to NOT!!!! tee-hee!!!! L, Dana


  9. Just started reading your book, and know that this debate comes up in it. To me, no debate here. Like many things, “pantyhose” is a misnomer. I’ve worn too many pair that creep down to ever NOT wear panties with them. That pitcher of cold tea looks scrumptious. Fortunately, I’m indoors with the air cond. working, so am enjoying pots full of hot tea. But whatever inspires you…

    Keep on writing!


  10. I wore panties under panty hose…but have not work panyhose for at least 10 years, just anklets now.

    I read “Little Town, Great Big Life” and loved it…hate to see the series end, but guess there is a time for everything. I called our library last Monday morning to tell my good friend Melanie Spenser, the Libraian I would bring your book for her to read and was infomed that she had died of a heart attack the nite before. What a shock. She was a wonderful person and was so knowledgeable about books. If I got one like yours I would share it with her because our library is small and dosen’t get new books that fast. She was just 60 years old. I am going to take your new book down and donate it to the library. Just thought you might like to know you make a big hit in a lot of peoples lives and we appreciate you. Sincerely, Marilyn Morse


    • Oh, Marilyn, I am so very sorry for your loss, and the loss of many in your town. Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed ‘Little Town’, and of your generosity. We just never know what little thing might really be a big thing to someone else.

      Hugs, CA


  11. I remember the blog post. Then as I read the novel (months later) I got a sort of deja vu feeling; knowing I’d heard it somewhere before. I burst out laughing when I finally remembered it had been on your blog. I am a “with”, although I’ve loosened up a lot and now only wear pantyhose to weddings and funerals. Growing up, a woman would NEVER have been seen in public without stockings/hose, but the times are a changin’ and now it’s not only acceptable not to wear hose, but women often wear slacks to church. What would Big Mama’s opinion of that be?


    • Nola–Big Mama would never have worn pants to church. She usually wore hose when going out, but like you, I’ve pretty well given them up. Especially in summer. I didn’t wear hose to her funeral-too hot!

      Sent from my iPhone; please excuse typos.


  12. Pantyhose are very sexy. Why most women don’t wear them anymore is beyond me. Pantyhose make any womens legs look much better. 9 out 10 doctors(men) agree.


  13. Yep, I do certainly remember this coming up on your blog! An ensuing debate on the merits of wearing panties under panty hose. Or the lack thereof. Well, I don’t even own a pair of panty hose. Nor do I plan to buy any. So the question for me is moot!


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