Colleen wrote me recently with a question about pantyhose...
Hi Meg, Is it acceptable to wear pantyhose with slingbacks? I am starting my first year of medical school and need to dress professionally, and I have a cute pair of black slingbacks, but I don't think showing up in the hospital to shadow a physician without pantyhose would be okay. Plus I have super pale legs. Thanks! Colleen
Unlike most women, I love wearing pantyhose and tights. I know a lot of people say that they're old-fashioned and no longer a necessity, but I think they do a lot to make an outfit look more polished, make you look (and feel) thinner and eliminate panty lines. And unless you're Heidi Klum, chances are that you've got bruises or razor nicks or cellulite or freckles that can be made less noticeable with a pair of hose. I also think they're great for preventing foot pain, as I always get way more blisters when I don't have hose to provide an extra layer of protection between my foot and shoe.
I don't wear pantyhose in summer (unless I'm wearing a suit or dressed for an important meeting or interview, formal situations that call for hosiery) and I would advise against wearing them with open-toed shoes, unless you've got one of the toeless styles. But I think they'd be perfectly acceptable with slingback pumps, just as long as they're closed-toe.
If I were in your situation, I would definitely wear hose to work, slingbacks or not. I think that a hospital is one place where you're better off leaning conservative in your fashion choices. First, as a medical student, you're young and have to work extra hard to be respected and looked at as an authority by patients. And as I've heard from friends who are medical students and doctors, patients (especially older ones) can sometimes be wary of female doctors treating them. It's a sexist view that persists in our society that if you're a woman (particularly a young and attractive one), you're assumed to not be as qualified or intelligent as your older male counterparts in fields traditionally dominated by men. Pantyhose won't change someone's whole opinion of you, but it does make an outfit more formal and conservative and it may help you look more mature and experienced.
Finally, as a doctor you're also dealing with many different kinds of people, some of whom might be put-off by your bare legs in a hospital setting. Whether it's a hygiene thing or a matter of bare legs being more sexually suggestive, I would err on the side of caution and go with the hose.
What do you guys think?