Pantyhose were invented in 1959 by Allen Gant, Sr. His wife actually came up with the idea during her pregnancy. Having to wear a girdle or garter belt to hold up her stockings was uncomfortable so she sewed a pair of stockings to a pair of panties.
Gant took his wife's prototype to the office at his textile company, Glen Raven Mills. With the help of some of his colleagues, they produced the first commercially available pantyhose. They were originally called panti-legs. Their popularity rose in the '60s with the advent of the miniskirt. Pantyhose remain popular with professional women.