Ode to tights: how to wear tights | Fashionable People, Questionable Things.

L-A: Guest post day! This one came about when I noticed Ann had been posting pictures on the Twitter of the tights she was wearing. Turns out she was wearing a different pair every day for 29 days (month of February, give or take a sick day). And as we’re fans of the tights, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have another post on them – especially since 29 straight days of wearing tights (and owning 29+ pairs of tights) makes you as close to an expert as one can be on hosiery.

Ann: Hey guys! So, I was super excited when FPQT asked me to write a post about one of my life’s passions – fun tights (my other main passions are: 1960s French fashion, young adult novels, and the OPI Muppet nail polish collection).

fig 1.0 Muppet Nail polish

 

You might be thinking, “Tights? Those vaguely uncomfortable things I had to wear as a little kid under my skirts?” in which case YOU HAVE NO IDEA. Or, you might be thinking, “Aren’t fun tights only for underage models with skinny little Angelina Jolie legs?” YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG.

fig 2.0 Skinny computer-generated model legs in tights

10 Important Things to Know About Tights

1) Size up! There is nothing more important to a positive tights experience than PROPER FIT. As a teen tights addict, I learned this from the legwear gurus at Sock It To Ya in Halifax (holla, Spring Garden Rd!). Check the size key on the back – tights usually come in letter sizes where A is the smallest and D is the biggest. If you’re on the cusp between two sizes? CHOOSE THE BIGGER SIZE. There is nothing worse than wearing too-small tights.

2) There is nothing worse than wearing too-small tights. If you have to maneuver yourself into your tights while writhing around on your bed, you are either a) wearing a Spanx™ product or b) you have chosen the wrong size of tights. This sort of wrangling tends to lead to rips in tights (which, unless you are Taylor Momsen, is never a good idea).

fig 3.0 Even on Taylor Momsen, it's not a good idea

3) There is a difference between tights and leggings and it is A VERY IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE. Tights, even opaque tights, are usually stretchy and can be cotton-blend and can be either footed or footless. Leggings are always footless and are usually cotton-blend and you can’t see the legs through them.

4) Leggings are not pants, but  more importantly TIGHTS ARE EVEN LESS SO. True story: one time I saw a woman wearing tights as pants. How could I tell? Oh, from the visible white cotton gusset. “Crotch gusset” is one of the most horrifying phrases in the universe, and the only thing worse than reading those words is seeing one of them on the bus. If your leggings have a visible crotch gusset? They’re tights. And you shouldn’t wear them with a shirt that doesn’t reach at least to your knees.

fix 4.0 Paris Hilton shows us all how TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS

5) Fishnets – not just for evening glamour! You don’t have to be Blair Waldorf to work the daytime fishnet look, but bear in  mind a few things. First, the rest of your outfit needs to be ladylike and/or not whatsoever slutty. Fishnets + pencil skirt, boots, and a blouse with a bow at the neck? Adorbs! Fishnets + denim mini, halter top, and stilettos? Streetwalker. Fishnets can very easily slip into slutwear, which is fine for an evening, going to the club sort of situation, but for daytime, you need to pair your fishnets with a modest outfit.

fig 5.0 Blair Waldorf is an expert in making fishnets, even lace fishnets, look ladylike

6) You can layer tights the same way you can layer regular clothes. Ever wonder how the Gossip Girl ladies stay warm filming in winter in NYC? Eric Daman spilled their secret; put on a pair of tights the same colour as your legs (in their case, probably tan; in my case, white would suffice) and then put the coloured tights on top. This could work in a fishnet situation as well. In fact, fishnets can look cute layered on top of coloured tights too – this can tame the inherent sluttiness of fishnets and bare legs.

fix 6.0 Black fishnets layered over green tights

7) Coloured tights always make a statement, so be careful what you wear them with. I wore a pair of bright orange tights with an all-black outfit earlier this month which did two things: first, it made me look like I was a Halloween candy and second, it made the tights stand out even more. As an experiment, I tried wearing bright green tights with all-black and again, it made the tights stand out even more. I figured that by toning down the rest of my outfit, it would make the tights look less cray-cray; but the opposite was true. I would suggest, therefore, pairing bright tights with at least one other colourful item.

fig 7.0 Red tights worn with colourful outfit

8) Don’t wear bright green tights with shorts and brown boots. It makes you look like Peter Pan. Just trust me, and don’t ask how I discovered this and how embarrassing it was.

9) Make sure your skirt/shorts/dress covers the top of your tights. Many varieties of patterned tights have the pattern ending in the upper thigh region, at which point they turn into opaque black . If your skirt/shorts/dress aren’t long enough to hide this fact, then you need a longer skirt/dress/pair of shorts. Nobody should be able to see where the “support” part of the tights starts (this can also be true in opaque tights).

Fig 8.0 The opaque part at the top SHOULD NEVER BE SEEN

10) Fun tights are not just for models and tween girls with stick legs! This season on Project Runway I was reminded that patterned tights can look just as awesome on real-sized thighs. Real-person-sized designers April and Kenley both rocked a variety of striped and polka-dotted tights on national television. If they can do it, why can’t you? The only variety of patterned tights I wouldn’t recommend for real-person-sized legs would be white ones. That’s just going to make your legs look 1000x bigger.

fig 9.0 April Johnston rocking striped tights

Now, since the purpose of tights is ostensibly to keep your legs warm, here are some tips to stay even warmer:

- look into fleece-lined tights and/or leggings
– if it’s not super-cold out, I recommend footless tights and/or leggings with real socks. Tights don’t breathe very well on feet, so your feet can get stinky and sweaty if it’s not really cold out. Some good sweat-wicking socks are a good call for a spring-type day.
– layering tall socks and/or legwarmers over tights, and then putting boots on top? Is never not cute. Just make sure that everything isn’t the same colour – if your tights and boots are black, use grey or brown socks, for instance. Otherwise what’s the point of layering socks?

fig 10.0 Layering tall socks over tights with boots

If you’re lucky enough to live in Halifax, Sock It To Ya on Spring Garden is the place to be. Whenever I’m in Hali for a visit, this is most def the first place I go to stock up on delightful legwear.

Other good options include The Bay (seriously, they have a good tights section) or online sites such as Sock Dreams or ModCloth. I will caution you, though, that ModCloth has a terrible habit of calling tights size M/L but really they’re really more S/M and then you get the tights and are sad when they don’t go up past the knee.

6 Responses to An ode to tights

  1. Megan says:

    All of this is excellent advice. Thanks Ann!

  2. Lara says:

    This really is a great post. Thanks for the emphasis on the see-through factor…it’s amazing how many ladies be rocking out with their bums out!!!

    Also, good advice about Modcloth. It’s always scary to order online when you have no idea about how they size their wares.

    Cheers!

  3. Morgan says:

    Joe Fresh has an excellent selection of good quality tights in all the colours you could imagine, and they are only $6!!

    I love the idea of layering tights!

    • la says:

      I am pumped to hear this! I need new tights and I’m done with American Apparel (love the colours, hate the quality for the price. They used to be so good for tights).

      • Annabelle says:

        WARNING: while I agree the Joe Fresh tights are comparable in quality to AA, they also can be very thin. I had a very sad ripping scenario with a fresh out of the box pair of cranberry red ones. So, insert your feet carefully.

    • rosario says:

      I love Joe Fresh tights I have such a huge collection of these great quality tights. On sale now fleece lined footless tights with no cotton gusset for $5.99, you can wear these as leggings as nothing shows through. Great deal and great tights.

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Fashionable People, Questionable Things.