"Son, you got a panty on your head."You probably want to disguise your face before, say, robbing a bank, to avoid getting caught. But you totally forgot to include that in your bank-robbing plan! You want something better than a Paper-Thin Disguise, but you can't get professional realistic masks. Time for the Stocking Mask. This trope is Truth in Television, as:
- 1. Stockings are cheap and available almost everywhere;
- 2. They're light and easy to conceal, while taking little time to put on or take off;
- 3. They can provide sufficient masking by distorting your face;
- 4. Buying stockings is a mundane thing;
- An advertisment for Via Rail showed a check-in clerk at an airport donning a stocking mask and proceeding to rip the customer off.
- In the first chapter of City Hunter, the villain puts on one of these to mug/extort his target. His victim didn't recognize him until later, but the baddie takes off his mask in full view of the nearby Ryo.
- In the film Black Sisters Revenge, the bank robbers utilize this disguise.
- In the film version of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ash has to do this with a sock as he lacks a balaclava.
- All of the criminals in Raising Arizona do this at one point or another.
- The mall robbers from the first fight of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze were like this.
- The serial rapist/killer in Eyes of a Stranger wears a stocking mask when he is out to murder someone.
- In Big Trouble, Snake and Eddie wearing pantyhose as masks, having shoplifted two pairs of "Hanes Control Top, for the full-figured woman, in jet black."
- In Blaze, Dumb Muscle Blaze robs a grocery store but forgets to put the stocking on. Fortunately, he scares the salesclerk so much that he can't remember anything to identify him. Blaze later comes back to the same store, this time wearing the stocking, and even points it out to the clerk.
- In one of the Discworld books, someone tells the Watch that they'll be able to identify the robber because "not many people wear a stocking on their head."
- In a very serious example, in Truman Capote's nonfiction novel ''In Cold Blood', the principal villains consider getting stockings to disguise their identities, and visit a hospital to get black stockings from a nun. But since it would be so awkward ask, they abandon the idea altogether. If they had used them, the murder of four innocents during their failed robbery may not have happened at all.
- Adam-12 had a store robbery with these. The guys tried to get away with hostages, but the officers hid themselves in such a way that they could grab them on the way out-with the help of a woman hostage and her Combat Stilettos-and the escape was thwarted. The masks are then pulled off.
- The Benny Hill Show. Benny plays the villainous Ernest Potts, whose gang is introduced robbing a store. Unfortunately Potts' stocking mask is stretched so tight over his mouth the store clerk can't understand what he's saying, so Potts takes off the stocking in order to be understood (showing his face in the process). The clerk recognizes the notorious villain, causing Potts to panic and flee. As his gang follow him, two of them get stuck in the door as they're wearing one pantyhose (i.e., stockings with two legs) over their heads, so they can't move around separately from each other.
- As were the two ice cream shop robbers from the Freddie Wong vid Don't F With My Cream.
- A Flashback on My Name Is Earl shows Earl stealing books from a bookstore wearing pantyhose over his head.
- A Played for Laughs allusion on MythBusters — at one point in a build, Tory took a break from stuffing dead quail into fishnet stockings, pulled one stocking over his head, and started playing robber.
- The video for Eagle-Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" starts with a man buying stockings in a store. He robs a nearby butcher less than a minute later.
- American Dad! In the season 2 episode "Dungeons and Wagons". Roger dons pantyhose on his head to rob a store. He then proceeds to run out and get beat up by the owners after robbing them.
- In the season 6 episode "Flirting With Disaster", Lorraine dons pantyhose on her head before throwing acid onto Francine's face.
- The Simpsons In "Treehouse Of Horror VI" Homer dons a stocking over his head before stealing the giant Lard Lad doughnut. The Lard Lad statue comes to life and he is not happy.
- In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "The Secret Box", Spongebob uses a stocking as a mask in order to sneak into Patrick's house to find out what he had in the box. When Spongebob puts on the stocking, his head briefly acquires the shape of a human leg.
- Real life robbers are well-known for this for reasons stated above, and lots of such examples can be found if you try googling "stocking mask robber" or such.