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Is Duchess Kate’s Pantyhose Habit Good or Bad for Women?

When it comes to style icons, Duchess Kate is one of the few that doesn't dare to go bare when it comes to her legs. Most of the time, the Duchess of Cambridge opts for nude pantyhose, the stuffy older sister of tights.

During World War II, nylon rationing put a hold on pantyhose production and women were so wary of showing off their bare legs that they would literally paint their gams beige to approximate the look of stockings. The youth and women's movements of the sixties resulted in major changes across the cultural board, and when it came to women's fashion, chic young girls in urban areas opted for natural, easy styling over the hyper-tailored garments and tight silhouettes of their mother's generation. Once a staple, pantyhose became a relic of a previous generation's more conservative style of life and dress.

Kate Middleton

Distaste for pantyhose has even made its way into the professional corporate world. It's common for women to show up to the workplace showing a little bit of leg, and the change has seemed like a welcome one: women that wear pantyhose pull them out during the summer months, when the heat is oppressive. Want to know what's happening under the pantyhose? Lots of tight, sweaty discomfort. As if anyone needs an additional distraction from getting work done. The transition away from pantyhose was celebrated as a victory for women: it signaled that the younger generations were embracing their bodies as they were, opting for comfort over perfection.

Of course, the change came at a price. If women were showing off more of their bodies, that meant that they had to take drastic measures to groom and prettify the exposed parts. To live up to the naked legs and torsos we see in magazines and on television, women are spending more time and money on exercise, plastic surgery, and other kinds of grooming than they ever have before. We're wearing less clothing, but it isn't as liberating as we thought it would be.

To that end, pantyhose might be a relief. If you have an easy five-minute fix for slight imperfections, maybe hauling yourself to a cycling or pilates class during your lunch hour or after work won't seem quite as urgent. Instead, you could meet a friend for dinner, take a walk, or read a book. But I wish there were a way to deal with the supposed flaws in our bodies without covering them up or sweating them away at the expense of actually living our lives.

So, what's your take on Kate's pantyhose? Yea or nay?

[Nude Tights Come Back Into Fashion, Coquette]