Ask Belle: Wearing Patterned Tights
Dec 15, 2009
Would love to get your advice. One of my favorite suits is a navy skirt suit with very subtle velvet trim at the waist that goes beautifully with my navy velvet Delmans. Problem is that I detest skin colored nylons, tights seem too much and it is too cold to go bare-legged. Any thoughts on leg wear?
My initial thoughts on monochromatic leg wear are threefold:
Get Over It. I wear black pumps with a black skirt and black tights constantly in the cold winter months. And since navy is a neutral, I see no reason why the same rules don’t apply provided that the tights are opaque and of a similar or identical color value to the rest of the ensemble. (Why can’t retailers agree on one shade of blue and call it navy? Why must everyone have a different tone?)
If you choose to rock the all navy look, DO NOT, under any circumstances, wear navy on top. This would turn you into a solid column of navy from head-to-toe, and that just isn’t chic.
Buy Patterned Tights. First off, I’m not talking about printed or floral tights. When I think of patterned tights that are suitable for work, I think about chevrons and other geometric prints. For example, I love the Trina Turk tights at left (Bloomingdale’s, $20). They have a structured Greek Key pattern that provides some texture and interest, but isn’t as obnoxious as wearing a star print on your legs. (See earlier photo.) Cable knit tights are also appropriate.
When buying patterned tights, I like to make sure that they aren’t too sheer. The last thing I need is to look like my legs are covered in tattoos. And as the hideous nightmares on this site prove, printed tights can be taken too far.
Rock the Bare Legs. No, it is not too cold to go bare-legged. If you’re afraid to walk to work in bare legs, I will sometimes wear jeans and then change into my skirt at the office. No one needs to know. And if you keep a heating pad at your desk (I do!), then you will never be cold at your desk.
There is absolutely wrong with wearing all navy on your lower half or with going bare legged. If you want to try something unexpected, you can opt for a pattern tight but you don’t have to do so.
Lastly, since you brought it up, flesh colored nylons are a serious no-no unless you need them to cover up imperfections (spider veins, etc.). Wearing hose every day is horribly antiquated and the only person I know who still won’t leave the house without lycra on her thighs is my 76-year-old Nana. Just keep the skin on your legs moisturized and smooth, and there is no need to wear hose.