I love all the new blog features! I hope you’ll still do “Ask Belle.” If so, can you please do a post on when it is okay to start wearing tights (and maybe boots)?
I saw a woman wearing horribly scuffed, brown knee high boots to an evening event two weeks ago, and I shuddered. No tights, but definitely a mess. But now it is starting to get cold, especially in the mornings! Is it a faux pas to bust out the opaque tights in September?
The weather is crisp, the leaves are falling, it must be time for me to post my annual guide to wearing tights. I love to wear dresses, so tights are the only way to do so while avoiding frostbite. I think I’ve tried every brand and style. So here is a wrap up of what I like, what I think looks good, and other tips.
When can I wear tights? My general rule is if the daytime high is going to be below 65 degrees, tights are okay. If you live in a place where the weather is too fractious to control your decisions, October 1 is as good a line of demarcation as any.
Denier Matters. Denier is a measure of the density of the fibers in a fabric. Larger numbers mean 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. However, Spanx are my favorite. They make a nice 70 denier tight. And their Luxe Leg Blackout Tights are super opaque with 100 denier. I also own their reversible tights in black/navy.
Looking for something more affordable? Topshop’s 80 denier tight is a good buy. Plus-size? ASOS makes an 80 denier tight that they sell in a $17 pack of three. Petite? Merona probably makes the best selection of affordable tights for your size. Tall? Berkshire makes longer lengths.
The Wolford Debate. Wolford tights are the choice of fashion girls everywhere. But, honey, are they pricey. Devotees swear that they wear like iron and are worth it. I’m just not there yet.
Sheer black nylons are a no for me. I know some women love them, but I find them to be matronly. To make them less church lady, I would recommend a pair with a seam back. It adds just the right amount of sex appeal, but may be too risqué for conservative offices.
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 outfit from looking disjointed. I always have black, navy, and grey on hand.
Leggings at work? Sweater dresses are my casual Friday go-to. And when I want to be comfortable, I wear a pair of Zella Live-In leggings under them. Why Zella? Because they’re soft and super opaque. Lululemon is for the gym.
Patterned Tights. Not as popular as they once were, patterned tights are still the subject of debate. Patterned tights are not appropriate for a conservative or professional office. Also, there may be an upper age limit on these. I’m 34, 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. Halogen makes a pair for $19. Plus-size? ASOS Curve makes a pair. Not caucasian? A friend bought a good quality new pair and a bottle of RIT dye and darkened them. Sad that no one makes a flesh-tone pair in other flesh tones.
Nylons are also an option. I like to keep mine super sheer to avoid that Hooters-waitress look. Donna Karan Nudes are the best.
I’m also a believer that you can go bare-legged when need be. I don’t do it often between November and March, but it sometimes is a necessity. If you’re worried about being too pale, there’s always a moisturizer with a hint of self-tanner.
Questions, concerns, or suggestions should be left in the comments. xo, Belle