Ask Belle: A Winter Tights Tutorial

Oct 12, 2015

Dear Belle,

In a previous posting you mentioned “denier” when you talked about tights/pantyhose. What is it? Why is it important to have? If you could cover your favorite tights from sheer to warmest, what are they?

Signed, Bare Legs

We’ve spoken about tights many times on this blog.  Because I love to wear dresses, tights are the only way that I can survive the winter without frostbite.  I’ve tried nearly every brand and style, and I know what I like and what I don’t like.  Here is a wrap up.

Denier is a measure the density of the fibers in a fabric.  Higher denier means a thicker, more opaque tight.  I like a higher denier, but there is a limit.  A few years ago, I tried on a 150 denier tight and it was like wearing a sweater on my legs.  No thank you.  Leg warmers went out in the 1980s.

Best High Denier Tights. The 110 Denier Ultimate Opaque Tights from Commando are beloved for their comfort waistband.  Spanx makes a nice 70 denier tight.  Donna Karan also makes a great 70 denier tight.

Looking for something more affordable?  Topshop’s 120 denier tight is a good buy.  They also make an 80 denier tight for $10.  Nordstrom also sells their Everyday Tight for $15 for a pack of two (also in plus).

Plus-size?  ASOS makes an 80 denier tight that they sell in a $22 pack of three.  Petite or Tall?  Merona probably makes the best selection of affordable tights for your size.

Sheer black nylons are a no for me.  I know some women love them.  To each, her own.  I find them to be very aging, probably because all the little old ladies at my church wear them.  However, if they work for you, I don’t consider them faux-pas, just not a favorite.

Colored Tights. If you want to wear a colored tight (navy, grey, burgundy, etc.), the sleekest way to wear them is to follow Belle’s Two-Out-of-Three-Rule.

Basically, match your tights to either your skirt/dress or to your shoes.  So if you have a navy skirt, wear navy tights.  If you have grey shoes, wear grey tights.  The continuous block of color gives you a look that is sleek and chic, and keeps your look from being disjointed.

Patterned Tights. Not as popular as they once were, patterned tights are still the subject of debate.  This diamond-print pair could look good with a navy skirt.  However, two words of caution: Patterned tights are not appropriate for a conservative or professional office (maybe on casual Friday).  Also, there may be an upper age limit on these.  I’m 33, and I think I’m past it.  Your mileage may vary.

What to do when tights won’t work?  We’ve all been there you have a great skirt or dress you want to wear and tights would just look weird.  It’s winter, you don’t want to wear bare legs, what do you do?

I like micro-fishnets in a flesh-tone.  Spanx makes a nice pair.  I’m intrigued by Commando’s ‘very fine’ fishnets.  Berkshire’s pair come in at an affordable $12.  If anyone knows of a source for fishnets in a non-Caucasian skin tone, leave it in the comments.

Nylons are also an option.  I like to keep mine super sheer to avoid that Hooters-waitress look.  Donna Karan Nudes works for me.

Questions, concerns, or suggestions should be left in the comments.  xo, Belle

Ask The Edit, Style

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  1. Heidi says:

    I do not know if the are sold widely in the US but Wolford has the best tights and nylons, they are on the expensive side but so good

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