It’s a delicate subject for FLOTUS.
Jill Biden, 69, knocked observers’ socks off when she strutted off Executive One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland last week sporting a pair of black patterned fishnet pantyhose.
While some took to social media to celebrate her stylish stockings, others annihilated the president’s wife for rocking the head-turning nylons.
But she’s not the first first lady whose fashion-forward legs have sparked sheer chaos.
“High-power women and hosiery has been a hot-button issue for years,” lingerie expert Cora Harrington told The Post.
Michelle Obama, Melania Trump and Meghan Markle have all come under fire for flexing their gams however they saw fit.
Jill Biden’s fishnets reignited long-standing debate over high-power women and hosiery. Getty; AFPObama, now 57, nearly sent the nation into a state of emergency when she publicly denounced pantyhose during a casual chat on “The View” in 2008. She slammed the sheers for being “inconvenient” and “always ripping,” angering traditionalists who deemed stockings essential dressing for powerful women.
Former first lady Michelle Obama proudly proscribed pantyhose, deeming the fragile undergarments an “inconvenience.” AFP via Getty Images
A tights-free Obama with Emily K. Rafferty of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009. AFP via Getty Images
First lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama leaving Marine One in DC in 2016. WireImage
A decade later, Trump, now 50, wasn’t immune from controversy when she sported a pair of barely there, flesh-colored leggings beneath an upper-thigh-length jacket when she deplaned at Andrews in 2018.
Melania Trump donned tan leggings that almost resembled her skin tone at Joint Base Andrews in 2018.Getty Images“There seems to be a warped, unspoken expectation of wives and spouses of powerful political leaders,” said Harrington, whose book on the evolution of lingerie, “In Intimate Detail,” came out in 2018. “That they should be demur or sedate, almost invisible. And they shouldn’t do or wear anything that gets any attention.”
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, 39, is often praised for following royal wardrobe protocols by wearing nude pantyhose whenever she’s in public — especially while in the presence of the queen.
Kate Middleton minds her royal manners by regularly sliding into her sheers, especially when out with the queen. Getty Images
Middleton in 2005, adhering to the unofficial royal rule of legwear well before she and Prince William married in 2011. AFP via Getty Images
Kate Middleton minds her royal manners by regularly sliding into her sheers, especially when out with the queen. WireImage
However, Markle, 39, boldly boasts her bare legs whenever she likes.
Her choice to go hose-free in her engagement pictures in 2017 and while attending a charity performance of “Hamilton” at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in 2018, nearly caused a castle coup.
“You never see a royal without their nude stockings,” royals expert Victoria Arbiter told the press at the time. “I would say that’s really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the queen requires.”
Meghan Markle didn’t wear stockings for her 2017 engagement photos with Prince Harry. Samir Hussein/WireImage
The former Duchess of Sussex also went bare legged for baby Archie’s debut in 2019. Getty Images
A hosiery-free Markle alongside Prince Harry at a visit to the Joff Youth Centre in Sussex in 2018. Getty Images
Why is everyone so uptight about ladies’ tights — or lack thereof?
Throughout most of the 20th century, stockings have been synonymous with femininity and required for any polished look.
Pantyhose made from silk or rayon were first popularized in the 1920s, along with shorter hemlines. DuPont first introduced nylon hosiery at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York; 4 million pairs were sold in four days when they went to market the following year.
Racier fishnets — with diamond-shaped patterns tending to accentuate curves and draw attention to the leg — were favored by the pin-up models of the 1950s.
Political spouses aside, the must-have pantyhose mentality started getting the old heave-ho in the late 1990s.
“Society has seen movement away from pantyhose as a fashion accessory since the turn of the century,” Harrington said.
“The end of that trend is tied to the increased casualization of dress code in…