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10th Commandment: December 20

Like many city dwellers, opaque black tights are one of my winter wardrobe staples.  They provide a little bit of warmth and enhance the look of tall boots and heels.  They also permit me to skip shaving my legs for a day or two without shame (call it a bonus).  But here are a couple of tips to help your tights look chic, not childish.

First off, choose the thickest, darkest tights you can find.  Thinner tights spread out across the thicker parts of your legs and draw attention where you don’t want it directed.  The darker, thicker tights are more slimming, and sleeker looking.  Thus, I recommend buying a tight with 70 denier (a measure of threads per inch) or higher.

Second, I advocate something I call the two-out-of-three rule for wearing tights, which helps keep the tights looking classy instead of frumpy.  Essentially the “rule” dictates that your tights must either match the color of your shoes or the color of your dress/skirt.  Is it all-knowing?  No, but it’s a great place to start when putting together an outfit that includes tights.

Wearing a gray skirt with black tights?  Wear black shoes.  Pairing a burgundy pump with navy tights?  Wear a navy skirt or dress.  And while you might think that the rule permits you to pair a black shoe with gray tights and a black skirt, you will achieve a more sophisticated look if the matching items are touching.

Here are three pairs of tights in different price points that give you the right level of darkness and thickness.

Elected Official


Wolford 100 Denier Tights ($78)

Hill Staffer


Donna Karan Luxe Layer Tights ($24)

Paid Intern


Wallis 80 Denier Tights ($5)

If you don’t mind spending a bit more to get a better-known brand, I also like the Hanes Blackout tights for $12.

Plus-size Asos Curve 120 Denier Tights ($15)

This post first appeared on Forbes.com’s Style File, a source for professional fashion advice for women.



  1. Chloe says:

    Hue tights are amazing – I picked up a two-pair pack at Marshalls for $10 and then I promptly threw out all my other cheap tights and went back and bought out the other colors they had. They’re super soft!

    December 20, 2013/Reply
  2. Kat says:

    Being in Chicago – I wear fleece-lined tights from Urban Outfitters. I’m obsessed! Super dark and super warm! They keep their shape for about a few months after very regular wear (like three times a week). I’m not a huge Urban fan, but I love these tights.

    December 20, 2013/Reply
    • Justine says:

      How well do the Urban Outfitters tights launder? Do they pill or lose their fleeciness?

      December 20, 2013/Reply
  3. Diana says:

    I picked up the DKNY Super Opaque tights that you had mentioned before. They are on sale at Nordstroms for $11. Definitely worth it, hold up very well, and keep my legs warm

    December 20, 2013/Reply
  4. Lady Lawyer says:

    Belle- can you suggest some more fleece lined tights? The ones you love are sold out in a lot of sizes at the moment so I’m looking for other options. Thanks!

    December 20, 2013/Reply
    • Justine says:

      Some suggestions with MSRP:
      Pretty Polly (it’s 200 denier!) in black and chocolate $20 (cheaper on Amazon)
      Heat Holders in 3-4 colors <$15
      Plush (that's the brand name) in six colors $35

      December 20, 2013/Reply
      • Pancakes says:

        I recommend the plush ones. I’ve washed mine a lot of times, and the fleeciness is still great. They have pilled a little bit, but not extensively so.

        December 21, 2013/Reply
  5. anne says:

    Very helpful! Quick question – what are the best opaque tights (regardless of price) that still provide a good amount of tummy control?

    December 20, 2013/Reply
  6. Devan says:

    The 2-out-of-3 rule is so helpful – I always have the hardest time deciding if it’s appropriate to wear a different color shoe than tights.

    December 20, 2013/Reply