i think it's kind of dated so nowadays it's not necessary to wear pantyhose to work, weddings, etc. and people won't think twice about it. i guess in conservative areas it's a more popular choice though, and in the winter, it can be a good idea if you plan to wear a skirt to work.
Certain companies in the law, consultancy, accounting and banking field will require this - especially from employees who face clients frequently. Some require you to wear pantyhose, others won't allow you to wear trousers. It's basically their version of a uniform and what they consider good clothing etiquette towards clients.
Ditto the previous poster - it's just standard in some very conservative professions. My good friend who's a lawyer has to wear them every day - part of the culture in her office. I work in finance and although we dress professionally, I rarely see women wearing hose - especially the younger women. I forgo them myself, except for occassionally in the winter.
I went to the state capitol building in Austin yesterday to pass out things to legislators, and I was actually shocked at the number of women and interns that did not wear hose. I had no idea, i was covered from head to toe, I thought it was very conservative there, but I guess not as much anymore? who knows, its different everywhere.
I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor until mid-2000. Right before I left, they started relaxing the dress code quite a bit in my office. I wore hose early on, but seldom did toward the end, except to my financial services clients.
I think law and banking tend to be very conservative. I also note that certain parts of the country tend to be pretty conservative as far as hosiery goes. I live in Florida and you do not see them much as as other place.
I rarely wear hosiery now and I work in the finance department of a large public company.
Hosiery is standard in many conservative fields like banking and law. It actually doesn't vary as much by region as it does by office culture. While I never wear panyhose outside of work (except opaque tights in the winter), I did wear them when I worked. I think they are hideous and horrible, but there are many jobs where a person definitely does not want to break dress code.
I work for a place that I consider fairly conservative (Uncle Sam) and we don't have a dress code, pretty much anything goes except ripped jeans and spaghetti strapped tank tops. I never wear hose--I don't like it. Some of the older ladies do, but most of the younger ones usually forgo it. I do, however, wear tights during the winters.
I guess it really depends on your office culture and dress code policy.