Kate and Pippa Middleton Spark Sheer Hosiery Craze

kate middleton hosiery
Photo: Getty Images
The Duchess in Malene Birger's Bullet dress, LK Bennett platforms, and nude hosiery.

They've got legs, and they know how to use 'em!

After boosting sales of self-tanner, Catherine and Pippa Middleton are using their sibling sway to promote sheer hosieryWomen's Wear Daily reports.

Because one just doesn't do white, pasty legs, the sisters have been spied pairing their knee-length dresses with nude pantyhose, sparking an increased demand for the barely there stockings. Celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Beyoncé also helped bring the transparent tights back from the brink of tackiness last year.

After causing a sensation in the U.K., where the Daily Mail reports that Selfridges has seen a 40-percent jump in sales of sheer tights while Tightsplease has grown by 90 percent compared to last year, the legwear trend is starting to win over the U.S. as well.

"The royal buzz is really helping us and all signs indicate we [sheer hosiery] will have a very positive fall," Angela Hawkins, Hanesbrands Inc. general manager of hosiery brands such as Hanes and L'eggs, tells WWD. “Sales in the U.K. of sheer hosiery or what they call ‘new tights’ have soared 85 percent over the past year.”

“In May, bookings for sheer hosiery were up 12 percent," adds Catrinel Popa, vice president of design at Kayser-Roth Hosiery. "The demand for very sheer, nude, and transparent looks is not an accident—it’s being driven by London and it’s all about being very elegant."

Indeed, the retailers may have Buckingham Palace to thank for the ladylike trend. Actress Rita Wilson recently revealed to Harper's Bazaar that palace dress requirements call for closed-toe shoes and stockings.

"Sheer disbelief—I don't even own a pair of sheer hose," Wilson writes of her reaction to the dress code. "Who is inspecting what's on under all those layers anyway? I knew the head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, would be attending, so I wasn't taking any chances that my unstockinged legs would be called out. I could just imagine being introduced to the queen: "Ms. Rita Wilson. Not wearing hose."

Heaven forbid! Perhaps it's Queen Elizabeth II, and not those Middleton minxes, who really has the fashion power?

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge is sporting some new jewelry courtesy of the late Princess Diana.