A woman's legs are often singled out for appreciative glances from the opposite sex, which can make them a target for low self-image issues and general dissatisfaction. Depending on a woman's body type, perfectly healthy legs can look heavy in the thighs. Legs can also have distinctive scarring around the knees from childhood injuries. Women may feel that their legs are disproportionately short for the rest of their bodies. The dreaded cankles, or thick ankles, that make legs look like straight columns with poorly defined calf muscles can also create appearance issues.
Varicose veins can be unsightly, too, appearing distended and twisted. Varicose veins occur when the valves regulating blood flow through the veins in the legs begin to weaken. The condition known as spider veins is a less severe but related disorder. As many as 55 percent of women and 45 percent of men will develop varicose veins, and although the condition is most closely associated with aging, it can be hereditary, or be the result of sun exposure, a sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy or hormonal changes [source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services].
Because sculpted definition in the legs is a desirable characteristic and often the result of dedicated exercise, having great legs may require a commitment to an exercise regimen some women are just not willing to make.
When it comes to hiding legs that aren't quite close-up worthy, pants are a quick and effective fix. Since the last quarter of the 20th century, women have become comfortable wearing pants in the workplace, for formal occasions and just about anywhere else dresses were once considered appropriate.