Friday, February 5, 2010
...Pantyhose, a Memoir
Another memoir from my retail days.
I worked at JCPenney in high school, in the women's accessories and purse department for about 6 months. On a hot summer day I wore a tea length dress to work. (Mid-calf length.) We had to dress nice, no jeans, no sneakers, which worked for me, I didn't mind.
I stood at my register, mindlessly ringing up customer's purchases. A manager came to my station to clear something for me, a return I guess, my memory fails me at the moment... It was a Saturday. There were people everywhere.
"Thanks for helping me out!"
"No problem." The [female] manager starts to walk away. "Oh, you are required to wear pantyhose when you wear a dress to work."
"...I am? Why?" I think of the 90 degree humid weather outside.
"It's the dress code, it's in the handbook, you have to."
She walked away. I never wore pantyhose with dresses. In my mind, even at a young age, pantyhose have always been the definition of old fashioned fashion rules. I really saw no point. To me, at that age, I thought the only women who should wear were those who need the tight support pantyhose to help their circulation. The ones they sell at Walgreens, that stick out the bottom of the cardboard so you can feel how supportive they are.
I'm all for colorful tights to wear as a part of an outfit. I just bought some adorable Betsey Johnson tights printed with colorful cartoon strips. Sheer, nude colored pantyhose are just not necessary anymore in this day and age.
Who likes the swishy noise they make when your thighs rub together as you walk? Unless you're rail thin, this happens to you, admit it.
I mean, did my manager think I wasn't wearing any underwear beneath my dress? What exactly were pantyhose going to do to improve the way I looked? My legs were smooth, I'm thin, my dress suited my figure. If I had them on, they probably wouldn't match my skin tone and be completely obvious. Pantyhose are supposed to be unseen and invisible. So...why wear them at all?
We also weren't allowed to wear open-toed shoes, according to OSHA regulations. Luckily I did not run the risk of having them web my toes together in a pair of strappy sandals.
I guess that rule was in place in case something fell on us. Then I began to wonder if something fell on me, while I was wearing a dress and sheer nude pantyhose, would they prevent me from getting a gash on my leg from whatever fell on me? I guess a buckle on a purse could give me a good scrape. Or maybe a large paper cut from one of the price tags. If in fact that happened, my pantyhose would have been ripped.
Have you ever seen a woman with a rip in her pantyhose or tights? Instantly makes her look like she woke up in a trailer park that morning. Would I still be required to wear them if something that fell on me made them rip and I still had four hours of my shift left? Or, since the department in which I worked sold pantyhose, would they require me to buy a new pair?
Would I get to use my employee discount?