Skanky Legs

May 14, 2011 | 51 comments
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Women, celebrate. You no longer have to wear pantyhose in order to maintain an appropriate standard of modesty. And, yes, you did until this week.

Discuss.

51 Responses to Skanky Legs

  1. Jax on May 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    You mean sister missionaries in tropical climates had to wear pantyhose until last year? That just seems…..stupid!

    Not sure I liked that line saying that they are allowed to raise their skirts in order to appear more appealing to investigators. Sounded like we are trying to use sex appeal to get converts…though given my feeling about the Mormon.org ads, it might be the case.

  2. Samuel Smith on May 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    The word “skank” is very upsetting to my delicate digestive system.

  3. Alison Moore Smith on May 14, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Jax, my sentiments exactly. Not sure they’d exactly use the verbiage “raising their skirts.” Hah!

    Sam, heh heh. Love ya, honey.

  4. Samuel Smith on May 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I went to Samoa (14 degrees south of the equator) on my mission and never saw a single pair of pantyhose on anyone including the Mission President’s wife. But that was 30 years ago.

  5. Alison Moore Smith on May 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Yea, but that was back in the stone age. Who knows what wondrous regulations have been enacted since.

  6. Julie M. Smith on May 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    It is looking like I will be the last woman on earth who wears hose. I check sometimes in RS, and I am. I don’t care.

  7. Bob on May 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Who had the power to make this so?? We need her name. I am sure it was not the men siiting around the big table.

  8. Janell on May 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    @ Julie, you’ve still got competition. I suspect I’m the last person in my ward to still wear hose, but I really don’t pay attention to people’s legs.

  9. Jax on May 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Good for you Julie…my wife wears them every week as well. But when I’m checking out other women’s legs tomorrow I’ll be sure to tell her it is for research purposes only ;)

    I resent the ‘men around the table’ comment…I’m a man who sits at tables thank you very much.

  10. Bob on May 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    @ Jax: I stand corrected__you like to sit at the table and talk about pantyhose. ( Anything else you would like to share?)

  11. Téa on May 14, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I prefer a nice pair of light-color fishnet stockings, myself.

  12. Sally on May 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I served in Venezuela 30 years ago – all pantyhose all the time. And being 5’9, they didn’t make them long enough. Always a challenge.

  13. ZD Eve on May 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    As a missionary I wore hose to church in Sicily in August. The members thought we were crazy.

  14. Anon on May 14, 2011 at 11:44 pm
  15. Roberto on May 15, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Our mission president was very old, too old. He got warm much later in the year than 19-21 year old missionaries. He lived in the north and we lived in the south of the country. By the time he told us to take off our suitcoats it was already into the 80′s and 90′s in sicily. We took them off prior to being told by the AP’s that it was OK to do so. Still feel guilty about it. Pantyhose on the sisters? Why punish the sisters like that that? Still giddy they changed the garments and the cloth they are made out of.

  16. Marjorie Conder on May 15, 2011 at 7:43 am

    This was an inflexible rule for Church employment. I am virtually certain it was made by guys who went from their air conditioned homes to their air conditioned cars to their air conditioned offices and back again. I know for a fact that even many of the highest placed women were opposed to this rule. I used to say that I wished these decision makers would have to wear panty hose (under their suits) and take public transportation for the whole month of July. I bet the policy would have changed years ago. I sent off an “annual letter” on the subject for years. When it was in the high 90s or above in SLC and the Corp or Pres encouraged using public transportation, it was a killer to be out in that heat. (I also had a “run around” job, so I was often outside in the heat of summer.) The guys had to wear ties, but you would see ties ripped off as soon as the guys left Church property. Not so easy with panty hose. If a woman on TRAX, in the summer, was wearing hose, you could bet she was a Church employee, everyone else had more sense. This new policy is a blow for common sense.

  17. Wraith of Blake on May 15, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Since the idea of formal women’s hosery (at least since the Jazz Age post- doubleyew double yew two) is to lend sheerness and shine to a look if not the reality of bare-skin on the calves, it’s odd to continue any longer to insist on this material as a step, if you pardon the pun, toward modesty–well, at least by this point in time where actually bared calves no longer stand out as being particularly undressed, anyway.

    And I appreciate that nylon is a very uncomfortable fabric. In fact, I regulary limit my purchases of mens socks only to those that contain none of this fabric. Rayon is OK for me, though. Hey, do they ever (or, at least commonly) make girl’s knee-high socks in this fabric?

    Still, one part of the current idiom for “nylon stockings” confuses me. With the pantyhose worn to accompany the mid-calf skirts required for church employment likiely itself knee-high, what’s to be thought as the pant- part of such hosery? Which to me conjures up the image of their featuring very diminuitive pants!

  18. Wraith of Blake on May 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

    –>post- W.W. ONE, I meant

  19. living in zion on May 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Not even three years ago our stake had a directive from the stake pres. to hold a 5th Sunday combined RS/Priesthood lesson on how we needed to dress formally for church because the youth were picking up on the adults dressing standards. The take away: Women needed to wear pantyhose and dress shoes, the men suits and ties.
    Unfortunately there was an African-American investigator in the audience. She took notes like mad and we never saw her again.
    I whispered to my husband, “But Jesus wore sandals.” and he was silently laughing so hard he almost fell off his chair.
    It is about time this silliness was put away.
    I now testify the Church is inspired of God.

  20. Alison Moore Smith on May 15, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I love you people.

    Julie and Janell, I have a good friend (who writes for Mormon Momma) who is also a pantyhose hold out. Do you have a specific reason you wear them?

    I actually do wear them sometimes. And I would go so far as to say that 20 years ago I felt they should be worn at church. But then I moved to south Florida. Hello?

    Optional, sure. But the idea of requiring pantyhose seems ludicrous to me.

  21. Wraith of Blake on May 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Speaking wholly theoretically here: the most efficient way to “circle the John Dehlin square” (and I apologize greatly for that expression…) would be for the church to look entirely upon the “acts” category of temple recommend questions and ignore the “beliefs” one. The reason there are so many noncorrelated–to hijack the term–Catholics and Jews among those religious groups: ’cause so-called “devout” or “practicing” adherents of these faiths can define their status by what devotional observances they perform, more so than within Mormonism. Mormon religiousity is a bit more Protestant-like in that we listen to–and, indeed, are even greatly encouraged to partake in preachings as part of our [oops!: their] worship. Since that isn’t going to change any time soon, I don’t see a vibrant community of LDS comparable to the more liberal members of the Community of Christ faith developing anytime soon.

  22. Wraith of Blake on May 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    wrong thread

  23. Julie M. Smith on May 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    “Do you have a specific reason you wear them?”

    Because I always have and I am a curmedgeon. But I don’t think they should be required.

  24. Jax on May 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I’m not a “thou shalt wear pantyhose” guy, but there is much to be said for the “Sunday Best” that generations past used to understand. Down here in the south, it is hard to tell if people are dressed for church or sporting events sometimes. I do believe it is very important to show our understanding that sacred things are…sacred.

    Elder Christofferson put it this way when he was a seventy.
    I paraphrase

    ‘people say that ‘it is what’s inside that counts.’ I agree that it truly is what is inside a person that matters, and dressing slovenly for a sacred event (temple attendance, sacrament, weddings, etc) says that inside “I don’t get it, I don’t understand the difference between the sacred and the profane.” ‘

    How will investigators attending our meetings think that we think what is happening there is important, even sacred, if we dress casually, in everyday clothes? If we look like it is just everyday kind of events, then they will think so too. We need to guard against thinking that the ordinances are just everyday kind of affairs with no more importance than shopping or a lunch date.

    I don’t think any particular type of clothing should be “required”, but think it is supremely important that we strive to dress the best we can of our own volition, because we know it is important.

  25. Téa on May 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I find it ridiculous that the same fancy dress worn to church without hosiery suddenly becomes an outfit for sporting events.

  26. Naismith on May 15, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    My daughter served in Brasil from 2002 to 2004, and she wore sandals, as did the sister missionaries who we knew when we lived there.

    Also, she was not allowed to wear a black or navy skirt. She was required to wear bright colors and one piece of jewelry. The reason was that there was a large pentecostal sect in that part of the world, who dressed severely, and the mission president wanted our sisters to be clearly not of the other group.

    I wear support panty hose to because it helps with my varicose vein problems.

  27. Ellis on May 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    This policy was announced in our area last year. The rational given had to do with sister missionaries being perceived as out of date fundamentalists. It was not the image they thought they were projecting. It was based on some kind of research that showed that the sisters were not as seen as positively as the elders are.

    I remember a few years ago when two sisters came to our ward. They were wearing the standard dress with the exception of the white wrinkled shirt. Their black skirt and jacket were clean and neatly pressed. They had all their buttons and the seams were all intact. They were wearing brightly colored blouses. It was so refreshing to see someone with who was well kempt.

  28. jks on May 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I think the new policy is a good thing. I kind of wish the title could have been a little better. Calling women’s legs “skanky” is a little offensive. I know you don’t mean it seriously, but people will see the title over and over.

  29. Jax on May 16, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I started a thread on this topic with my FB friends and the female concensus was that you should only ever wear pantyhose if you want to hide your unshaven legs…. which is why my wife wears them every week I suppose =(

    jks…after reading the article I took the title as a question, “Are legs skanky?” not as a statement “Legs are skanky!”… IMHO it wasn’t “calling women’s legs skanky” it was asking why people view them that way.

  30. Alison Moore Smith on May 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Jax #24:
    I generally agree with your position. However, “best dress” doesn’t really fit Sunday services, IMO. My daughter was married a couple of weeks ago. Our family was dressed “better” for the reception/open house than for church (and, yes, I wore hose! — but the bride and the bridesmaids did not).

    I don’t think we can reasonably try to distinguish church services from a nice lunch date by dress. I would often wear the same thing to both, wouldn’t you? My husband wears about the same thing to church as he does to a business lunch.

    Naismith #26 and Ellis #27:
    Very interesting info. Thanks for contributing. I appreciate the common sense involved!

    jks, do you think women’s calves are “very unpleasant”? :)

  31. Jax on May 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    IMO, a wedding is a sacred event that deserves, even from a guest, the best one has to wear. I always wear my suit to attend a wedding reception, just to show that “I” view the coupling of two people as a higher-than-average-importance event. Not everyone else dresses that way nor views it in that importance, but I do. I would never say everyone should be required to dress that way.

    But I view sacrament also as a sacred event, and dress accordingly for the occasion. IMO, the sacred ordinances of the gospel hold much more importance than lunch dates and business meetings. That doesn’t mean you might not dress the same for both, you can dress in your best all week long if you choose. I just appreciate it when people make sure that they do wear their best for Sunday services, regardless of what they wear the rest of the week.

    We are saints of the final dispensation. Shouldn’t we look the part?

  32. Rameumptom on May 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    So, when are they going to allow the guys in Church employment to stop wearing pantyhose? I haven’t yet seen the announcement on that one, and I think it is sexist! ;)

    BTW, in cold weather locations, pantyhose are the bomb for keeping you warm. Working all night long in frigid South Korean winter for the Air Force makes you appreciate ladies hosiery so much the more….

  33. Alison Moore Smith on May 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Jax, we agree. :)

    Rameumpton, you bring up such a good point! Oh, the inequality of it all!

    P.S. I would be happy to vote in a no tie rule. Ties are just about the dumbest clothing requirement ever. Who ever thought, “I know, let’s strangle men with a piece of colorful cloth!” was a great idea?

  34. Rameumptom on May 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Allison,

    But ties are about the only piece of decor men can use! You ladies can dress in all colors and styles of dresses, blouses, skirts, etc., for Church. We must have a white shirt and dark suit. The tie is the only accessory.

    How can I ever display my persona, if we eliminate the tie? My collection contains some awesome pieces: Einstein, Egyptian hieroglyphics, works of art, Mickey Mouse, flowers, stripes, paisleys, musical Christmas tie, etc.

    If we take away the tie, we will have no personality whatsoever!

    If the tie seems too tight, then it is time to buy a shirt with a wider neck (you guys who still think you can fit into a medium shirt with 14 1/2 neck know who I’m talking about).

  35. Alison Moore Smith on May 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Remeumpton, you have, again, opened my eyes to vital information. I remove my vote for the demise of the tie. I will allow the men in the audience decide on the issue.

    P.S. For the record, I actually LIKE the way ties look, but think I’ve heard almost as many complaints about them as I’ve heard about pantyhose.

    P.P.S. My 7-year-old — properly tie-attired each Sunday — always appears at the end of the 3-hour block with his top button unbuttoned and his tie carefully clipped to the second button. And his socks in his pocket.

    P.P.S. I don’t believe in white shirts. They are vile. And probably skanky, too.

    P.P.P.S. I also do not believe in white walls, but that’s not really germane.

  36. Alison Moore Smith on May 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    It’s frightening to think of all the crucial issues I wouldn’t know about if I didn’t blog…

  37. Wraith of Blake on May 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I found it interesting that some mission field areas wish to avoid confusion of the sister missionaries with Pentacostal sects. As a matter of fact, when **I** read Alison Moore Smith’s piece, I imagined the “Church Office Building” former standard dress she described as approximating that of the MO women locally. Heheh!…let me explain–by “MO” here I mean not “MO”(-rmon) but M.(-odern) O.(-orthodox). Which is not a bad association at all. Most MO are successful or are academics/educators, etc. Also they have fairly large families, on average.

    Very few of the Orthodox Jews in my particular are Hassidim but most of them are indeed Modern Orthodox (think Joseph Lieberman)…who walk to shul–and for exercise–from eve of Fridays to eve of Saturdays and do so in their more formal choices of clothing, women generally in subdued colors and always skirts, mid-calf.

    I Googled for a sec to find a blog piece about, I guess, “business appropriate” fashion of this kind and quickly came up with this one authored by Hadassah Sabo. She says she is wearing hose (“pantyhose” but they could well be knee-, not waist-high), but for the life of me I could not tell from the photograph whether her calves are bare or not. (…Also I have no idea if MO have any general tendency to insist on hose or not.) It’s here:

    http://hadassahsabo.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/modest-dressing/

  38. Michelle B on May 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    So to be a Church employee I have to wear panty hose to work? What is wrong with business casual or business attire required? We can’t just have guiding prinicples and govern ourselves?

    Let me guess, do women have to wear skirts/dresses too?

    I can’t believe the Church, as an employer, wastes its time on stuff nobody cares about.

  39. m2theh on May 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I wear nylons, usually knee length ones if I can get away with it, during the winter, to the temple, and to dressy events. I do not wear them to church spring through fall. I used to, but I stopped wearing them when I was pregnant and I have never looked back.

    My mom told me that when she was at BYU she was so excited that they changed the rule so women could wear pants! Not jeans, but they could wear pants.

  40. Wraith of Blake on May 17, 2011 at 5:07 am

    In answer to my own question above–per Wikipedia: “In Modern Orthodox practice it is generally accepted for sleeves to cover the elbows and shirts to cover the collarbone, skirts to cover the knees with or without tights…. Some Modern Orthodox women will wear sleeves up to a fist’s length (tefach) above their elbows or even wear short sleeves, and some do not cover their collarbones.

    “Haredi women [as opposed to M.O. women--Wr.ofBl.] avoid skirts with slits, preferring instead kick-pleats. They also avoid overly eye-catching colors, especially bright red. Some insist on closed-toe shoes and always wear stockings, the thickness of which varies by community.”

  41. Rameumptom on May 17, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Michelle,

    Obviously someone DOES care about it. As an employer, the Church desires to set a specific example. Imagine if our missionaries went out in colored shirts and shorts. Yes, many people would not mind. But the image of the Church would be drastically changed by it.

    No one forces any of us to work for the Church, just as no one is forced to work for IBM or K-Mart. Each has a standard of dress, designed to establish its image.

    I often get my gasoline at WalMart, run by a subsidiary named Murphy’s Gas. It’s dress standard is very different from Walmart’s. Our Murphy’s station has a guy with full body tattoos, piercings in his eyebrows, and the ear globes that stretch the lobes. While I’ll buy gas from a guy like that, I would not want him working at Church headquarters, or inside Walmart, for that matter. Why? Image.

  42. Peter LLC on May 17, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Imagine if our missionaries went out in colored shirts and shorts….the image of the Church would be drastically changed by it.

    Yes, indeed, that would put a serious dent in the Church’s efforts to channel the IBM corporate executive dresscode of the 1950s. Personally, I view the day when our Church leaders saw fit to exit a building without a hat as the beginning of the end.

  43. Michelle B on May 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Ram,

    I’m not disagreeing with the idea of an image but the way it is imposed. An adult working in a professional environment can discern what attire is appropriate for her job. If the Church was to say, “Professional attire is required to work at X.” I think that would suffice. Women don’t need to be told to wear panyhose or to stop wearing pantyhose. What happened to give correct principles and people will govern themselves (paraphrased)?

    I’m not familiar with working at the Church, so was pantyhose required for every woman working for the Church, no matter what the job? What if she worked on HVAC or was a gardener? Did she still have to wear panthose? See how this dress code stuff quickly becomes ridiculous.

    Attire should be appropriate to the job and profession. As a professional, one knows what is appropriate for your field and it should not need to be dictated. Sometimes the appropriate attire is a uniform, such as Walmart, Target, etc., and certain grooming standards apply.

    I think missionaries are whole different animal. They are not professionals in an office environment, they are a bunch of teenage and YSA volunteers. They need more structure to their attire, but I think it can be loosen up some. I think its great that the sister missionaries don’t have to dress so “safe” anymore.

  44. Bob on May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    @ Michelle B,
    When, years ago, my wife worked as an RN in a hospital, she had to wear white hose. We must have spent thousands of $s. None could last a night near Hospital beds!

  45. Alison Moore Smith on May 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I have never worked for the Church proper, but I did have campus jobs at BYU. When I worked at the Cannon Center I had a polyester uniform. When I worked for Space Utilization, I had to wear a dress except in the dead of winter, when I could wear “dress slacks.” I don’t recall if there was a requirement for hose or not, but I wouldn’t have thought of wearing a dress without them back then.

    Michelle B, I’d have to say “teach them correct principles” is just about the most misused quote in Mormondom. It’s thrown out pretty much every time someone doesn’t like a rule. Unfortunately, I’ve worked/patronized enough establishments/schools/businesses to know that “professional attire is required” is no where near sufficient with many, MANY people.

    This isn’t a “how dare the church have a standard” post. It’s a “how silly to require pantyhose” post. :)

  46. Janell on May 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    @Alison Sorry, late to return to the tread.

    Why am I a hold out on hose? I’m cold blooded and the church is freezing. A little bit of nylon helps keep my ankles warm. Well, and I do feel just a little more dressed up with hose than without. My foremost purpose is definitely warmth.

    Now, the wait for my car to cool off from the hot and humid Austin summers? Awful, yet the warmth during church is worth it. I’d wear my extra-thick tights to church in the summer if I could survive the car.

  47. Michelle B on May 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    @Alison,

    I did take this as a “how silly to require pantyhose” post. And I do think it is silly and a little anachronistic. When you posted it I had to laugh.

    I haven’t worn full pantyhose in years. Sometimes I wear knee-highs but I’d have to dig then out of the drawer. I wondered who actually is still buying that stuff, and I guess I now know. Footies rule!

    I’m not surprised by the pantyhose requirement but I am surprised that it took this long to eliminate it. Still, I think the Church should have some kind of dress standard.

    I work in the defense industry and if my company dictated attire to this extent I think alot of employees would be offended. The “teach correct principles” may be cliche and you’re right, I don’t like the rule. But now I can show off my skanky legs! :)

  48. Samuel Smith on May 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I think a larger issue is how policy gets updated. Sometimes members of the church included some administrators confuse the difference between Doctrine, Policy, and Practice. Doctrine rarely changes. Policy changes all the time. Policy fits in this gray area where is often originates as an inspired edict but over time the original policy maker is no longer around and subsequent policy makers don’t have the time or the forsight to refresh the “inspiration” by asking if it should be refreshed. It is just assumed that policy is doctrine and therefore never changes.

    But if a church member questions a policy, such as, is it out of date should it be refreshed, should the current policy maker, take the time an effort to ask for new inspiration on the policy, the church member, especially if they are female, is looked upon as someone who is maybe less faithful. This was not the case in the early church, but as the church as matured there seems to be less courage to make living inspiration about policy the rule rather than the exception.

    Hence we get policies that become woefully inappropriate because everyone is afraid or too preoccupied to either ask the question or invite the question should the policy be updated.

  49. darceeyates on May 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I like my pantyhose. They hold me together. My husband hates a suit and tie but dang! he’s handsome in it.

  50. Alison Moore Smith on May 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Sam, I think you’re right about the refresh rate of policy. And I think you are dead, spot on about how asking questions can get people blacklisted. Especially women — who pretty much have no right to ask anyway.

    darceeyates, I’m relieved that you have SOMETHING to hold you together! :)

  51. hmmmm on May 26, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Just had to comment here. Nylons help hold the g’s in place when you are wearing a slightly-past-the-knee length skirt. Nothing is more obnioxious than a primary president (or any woman, for that matter), seated at the front of the room in church with her legs crossed and g’s shining in the light of the room. C’mon. Nylons also keep me warm. As a final thought, pasty legs with vericose veins attached to calloused heels of feet should be kept inside nylons–or pants. Seriously.

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