One of the more popular fashion trends of the 1980s for women and teenagers was the wearing of “Sheer Tights”. These were basically sheer pantyhose that one could wear that was meant to shape and smooth out your legs.
The 1980s saw a rise in women’s empowerment, and many of the fashions that women wore were complimented well by Sheer Tights. Everyone from celebrities to politicians could be seen wearing them, and they quickly became a 1980s fashion staple in every woman’s closet.
Available in a wide variety of different colors, these almost transparent tights were also very popular for use while doing aerobics, hanging out at the beach, or really just about any event you could think of that could use a little added sophistication.
Though they were wildly popular in the 1980s, the popular fashion accessory can be attributed to the Hanes Corporation going all the way back to the late 1960s. Their L’eggs brand of Sheer Tights would dominate the market and change the way women dressed forever.
The History Of Sheer Tights
It was 1969 when Haynes released their L’eggs brand of sheer pantyhose. Robert Elberson, who was an executive for Hanes, had envisioned a way for women to buy pantyhose at their local supermarkets.
At that time, the only place for a woman to buy pantyhose, leggings, or tights was at a fashion boutique. But he wanted to change all that by selling them in an easy to display package.
With the help of Roger Ferriter, that packaging would be an oversized, but easy to open egg-shaped container. After the development of a sales rack, which would allow the L’eggs to be sold at grocery stores around the country, the Sheer Tights industry exploded.
The Plastic Eggs
The plastic eggs were not just a popular and convenient way to sell and display pantyhose, they were also extremely popular for arts and crafts. It wasn’t uncommon for kids of the 80s to use the plastic container that their mother’s pantyhose came in for various school projects.
In fact, Hanes realized just how popular the eggs were for handicrafts, that they even commissioned an artist to create a book that provided unique and creative design ideas for use of the plastic containers. The book titled “The L’eggs Idea Book”, which was initially released in 1976, sold more than 23,000 copies in the first month.
Then in 1980, a group of technicians from Florida Southern Bell decided to take the creativity to a whole new level. They realized that there was a need to provide the enjoyment of Easter eggs to children with visual impairments. So they set out to work together to develop a circuit that could be placed inside of a L’eggs container that would buzz, click, and beat when it was picked up.
Eventually, however, the very popular L’eggs egg ceased production in 1991. It was during this period of time that there was a move from traditional packaging techniques to more sustainable ones. As a result, the company changed the packaging from the popular plastic egg to a cardboard form that could be recycled more easily.
Sheer Tights In The 80s
With Sheer Tights now being easily accessible by women all over the country, this 80s fashion accessory exploded in popularity.
It also helped that some of the most powerful women in the world were seen wearing them all the time, which of course only helped cement them as a must-have 80s fashion accessory.
Another reason they were so successful was because it went well with a lot of the popular fashion trends of the day. Sheer Tights were a perfect addition to Mini Skirts and also Power Suits, and they helped create a sleeker and more professional look.
The use of Sheer Tights added a level of sophistication and class to any outfit, and in an era where women wanted to be taken seriously, a good pair of pantyhose helped achieve the desired look.
Without a question, Hanes’s marketing of Sheer Tights was a success in the 1980s. The company used the slogan “Our L’eggs fit your legs” in their advertisements, in both print as well as on TV. Eventually they would change their slogan to the now memorable “Nothing beats a great pair of L’eggs”.
Further adding to the popularity of Sheer Tights was the number of prominent figures who promoted the product which included Juliet Prowse, Peggy Fleming, Debbie Boone, Joyce DeWitt, as well as Barbara Eden.
Even popular 1980s actress Jamie Lee Curtis signed on to endorse the product, and she famously insured her legs for a million dollars.
Are Sheer Tights Still Popular?
These days Sheer Tights are as popular as ever. In fact there is a multi-billion dollar industry that is devoted to pantyhose and shapewear that is wildly popular today.
Though a bit different from the pantyhose of the 1980s, these days they are still worn as a stylish accessory to any outfit. And just like the Sheer Tights of old, they are still used to shape and slim, as well as create a silhouette that women love.
Needless to say Sheer Tights are one of those lucky 80s fashion that seemed to have escaped the decade where so many other fashion trends have died, and we don’t expect them to go out of style any time soon.