Ask Belle: Back-Seam Hosiery

Jul 8, 2014

Hi Belle,

I was wondering if you could weigh in on whether or not back-seamed stockings are appropriate for professional attire? I had always thought of them as nice looking, and not overtly sexy if paired with the right outfit. However, in my google searching I’ve found that some women even find them to be inappropriate or even “slutty”.

Thank you, and I absolutely love the blog. You’ve helped me immensely. – MM

Hosiery is the third-rail of professional fashion.  What one woman finds matronly, another finds salacious.  Some women wouldn’t dream of not wearing nylons, others would rather die than put on a pair.  And some women will fight to the death for their opinions.  But what is appropriate or inappropriate depends on only two factors: Your individual office, and your comfort level.  (Unless you want to wear lime green tights or tights with Hello Kitty on them.  That is never appropriate for work.)

If you like the look of back seam hose, and you don’t think your boss is going to give you the side-eye, by all means wear them.  I like this pair from Pretty Polly with a black seam, and this all black pair from Hue.  (With a back seam is the only time that I like the look of sheer black hose.  Other than that, I’m all opaque, all the time.)

I’ve never worn back seam nylons, but I’m a big fan of micro-fishnets like this pair from Capezio.  They’re a little saucy but because the space between the netting is so small, they look just like regular nylons unless you’re looking at them closely.

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  1. b says:

    I also think it makes a difference how you style the rest of the outfit. If I wear back seam or fishnet hose, I usually keep everything else slightly more conservative (i.e., no v-necks or super high heels).

    I used to never wear fishnets before reading about them on your blog. Now nude fishnets are a staple for me! Thanks Belle!

  2. Gabby says:

    I’m in the no nylons not no how train…and despite working in conservative industries (both law and politics), I’ve never had any comments from either men or women regarding my lack of hose. I agree with b ahead of me there…I’d be more likely to look askance at someone else wearing back seam hose if the rest of their look was already on the flirty/sexy side. If it was a conservative outfit, though, I’d probably read it as a little fun kick to the look.

  3. Lily says:

    ugh but HOW do you get the back seam to be straight? I bought a pair last year (definitely not for work- I don’t think they’re appropriate for work, personally), and it was so hard to get them straight, I was afraid I would tear them from trying to straighten them out. Any tips?

  4. Rachel C says:

    What are your (and the readers) feeling on colored tights for a business casual office? I don’t mean bright lime green, but burgundy, deep purple, lilac, and colors along those lines?

    Also, nude fishnets??? Please, tell me more!

    • Belle says:

      I believe in the two-out-of-three rule: if your dark purple tights match a dark purple skirt, fine. I wouldn’t wear it as a woman over 30, but some women can pull it off.

  5. Lily Harris says:

    I think it depends what type of office enviroment you work for. if its super professional you probably shouldn’t use back seam thigh highs, but if you’re in like an insurance office or some smaller type of business (and also depnding on where your located) its okay to wear black seam thigh highs. There are lots of great places to find good quality ones too! I really like the ones from Capezio and VienneMilano.

  6. Kiki says:

    I always have the problem where the back seam cant get striaght. Like for whatever reason the stockings Ive bought with back seams always seem to tear. Its really annoying but I;m trying to find some that wont tear and aline properly. I also looked at viennemilano.com and capezio.com. Some of there stuff looks promising.

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