Fancy Pants

Pantyhose as pants? This Broadway legend did it first

This morning, none other than the New York Times style pages are all a-flutter about what they’re calling a new trend. Pantyhose—a somewhat fogey-ish, early waist-control solution that predates SKIMS by a long shot—are making a comeback. Not only that, they’re making a comeback as pants.

That’s right: remember the reign of terror that leggings as pants once imposed on the innocent masses? Well, we might be in for another ride on that horrifying fashion tilt-a-whirl, thanks to Kendall Jenner rocking the look on a recent outing.

Jenner isn’t the only one embracing pantyhose: on the runway this fall, the look was seen on such luminaries as Rihanna and in collections from such fashion heavy-hitters as Miu Miu and Bottega Veneta.

But wait a minute, hold on, let’s dial it back: we’re forgetting something very important, and that’s that pantyhose-as-pants existed long before Ms. Jenner was a twinkle in the milkman’s eye. The coverage concerning pantyhose-as-pants is forgetting one very important and crucially gay piece of information.

Elaine Stritch did it first.

Those of you who worship at the altar of D.A. Pennebaker’s 1970 documentary “Original Cast Album: Company” will know exactly what I’m talking about. In that film, Broadway legend Elaine Stritch can be seen rocking a white hat, white shirt, gigantic peace sign necklance, and, you guessed it, black sheer hose. As pants. Later, she reprises the look with a blue button-down, and it. is. STUNNING.

That’s far from the only time Ms. Stritch utterly gagged us with her fashion. She also appeared in her 2001 one-woman show “At Liberty” rocking a hose-as-pants look. And did we love it!

Now sure, you could say Twiggy, Mary Quant, the Mods et al were responsible for bringing pantyhose as pants into the mainstream. But let’s just be clear about who rocked it the hardest. It was Elaine, baby: Elaine all the way.

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