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The Epitome of the Gendered Workwear Dress Code: Pantyhose

Corporate dress codes have taught us that a woman’s clothes are not simply her own in certain professional settings. As a rule, the more male-dominated a work environment, the more likely it is expected that women in the ranks will make a gesture toward covering their skirt-bared legs with fabric as thin as a gesture itself. When women first entered the workplace, nylons, pantyhose, stockings, tights, or whatever you prefer to call them, were deemed an essential part of the workwear dress code for women. While all corporate dress codes articulate the limits within which power may permissibly intrude on personal space, the requirement of nylons feels excessively intrusive… almost gross. Thankfully some of the corporate world has relaxed this particular female only dress code requirement. However, there remain some office dwellers who will side eye you for exposing your offensive bare legs in their presence between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm.

Aside from the serious issues with gender-specific dress codes, nylons pose a number of other problems. Not only can they be uncomfortable (sliding down until they resemble parachute pants – for which there is no subtle fix, becoming weirdly billowy around the knees, the seam going places that you wish it wouldn’t, the waistband rolling down, etc.), they are also shockingly fragile. For months following law school, the bulk of snapchats exchanged with my female classmates were photos of yet another pair of nylons snagging. As someone who wears nylons five days per week, I can confidently say that each pair lasts on average three wears. Being expected to wear an article of clothing that has the life expectancy of a mayfly is quite the expensive requirement. According to a 2016 survey, it was estimated that a woman spends approximately $5100 (CAD) on nylons in her lifetime. This is a substantial sum of money to spend on something that will likely not survive a week. To add to the frustration, it is a cost that men are not similarly required to bear.

All of the above began to make sense when I discovered that nylons were created and designed by a man. Men designing women’s undergarments makes about as much sense as asking a sober vegetarian which wine pairs best with lamb. Only a woman who has repeatedly experienced the frustration of being regularly forced into garments that make one feel too large, too short, too tall, too anything not quite right could adequately pinpoint the issues with nylons and create a product that absolves those problems. Enter Sheertex, founded by Katherine Homuth (she’s a woman!). As a woman who had been forced and pressured to wear nylons, she intimately understood what women needed from their undergarments and she DELIVERED.

Sheertex does not assume that height and weight observe a strictly linear relationship – this is probably why they actually fit. Further, and maybe most importantly, even in a “you should smile more” induced furor I cannot create even the smallest run in these bad boys. Sheertex offers a solution to all of the issues we have experienced with the nylons we have been wearing since we were told the skin on our legs was inappropriate to show. Their products are designed by women with women’s needs and wants in mind. Not only is Sheertex a superior product to all of the nylons I have tried (and trust me, I’ve kissed a ton of frogs), it’s a testament to the need for women creating, problem solving, innovating, and doing.

If you like my polka-dot sheers, you can shop them here.

But, you should look at all the options first.. and there are many (all equally tough). You can shop all options here.

Use code MONDAY10 to save $10 on your first purchase from Sheertex.

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