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    Q:Are bare legs ok in a professional environment? Avoiding a pantyhose faux pas

    I just started a position, outside my home, for the first time in many years. I am working around men – very well dressed commercial real estate brokers. My location is in Carlsbad, CA, which is a somewhat upscale beach city.

    I was told by a female secretary in their La Jolla office that nylons are so out. Bare legs are in style even in a professional environment. True or untrue? Does one consider the season, the climate, or the location when determining what professional dress is? (Carlsbad, CA)


    Sorry, to tell you, but you are showing your age! Fashionably speaking, nude nylons have been out of style for a number of years– they are simply not modern.

    But, one must always consider the shape that your legs are in. If your legs are not in the most tip-top condition, you may not want to bare them, particularly in a professional environment.

    There are so many self-tanning options out there that mask most run-of-the-mill skin imperfections that there really is no excuse to suffer in the heat wearing pantyhose. Unless, of, course, you need the support and control of hose. Season, climate, and environment should always be considered when making any fashion choice. Typically, the warmer the climate, the more relaxed the professional dress code usually is.

    Pantyhose is definitely stylish when it’s not pretending to not be there- sheer black hose is quite chic for fall– but, obviously not a great fashion pick to wear in a summer beach community, nor are bold colored tights. Notice what other women in your position at similar real estate agencies are wearing as a guide as to what is expected as the industry dress standard in your community, and then make your clothing choices from there. Most of the NYC real estate brokers that I have ever seen wear upscale casual clothing which veers more business-like when commercial and more easy-going when residential. If in doubt, you can always ask one of your other colleagues.

    If you feel the need to wear sheer hose, look for Ultra Sheer matte tights in a color as close to your natural coloring as possible. Whatever you do, do NOT wear nude hose with strappy sandals!

    By the way, what does working around men have to do with anything? It’s how you present yourself to humanity as a whole that counts- lighten up.

    –July 26, 2005

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