How to Style and Care for Tights
Oct 11, 2018
For working women, tights are a cold weather lifesaver. But which ones should you buy, and how should you wear them? It’s time for my yearly guide on wearing and caring for tights.
The Best Tights to Buy. I am an advocate for thick, opaque tights. I want tights so dark that no skin is visible, ever. Denier is a measure of how thick a tight is, so the higher the denier, the more opaque the tight.
My preferred tight are the Spanx Blackout Tights with 100-denier. They’re really dark, hold up well over many wears, and provide shaping. But at $38 per pair, they’re not exactly affordable.
Nordstrom makes a pair of high-quality 100-denier tights for $19. Readers rave about Topshop’s 80-denier tights. For something under-$10, check out these 80-denier New Look tights. Plus-size? Try these 70-denier tights from Berkshire.
If you’re a cold-weather commuter, try these Gipsy 200-denier thermal tights for a little bit of warmth.
The 2-out-of-3-Rule. Styling your look from the waist down, there are three elements: dress/skirt, tights, shoes. Two of these three elements should always be the same color, and those two elements should connect. Here are a couple of examples.
shoes and tights connect, dress is different // dress and tights connect, shoes are different
The reason I prefer the 2-out-of-3 Rule is that, when you don’t connect two of the elements, the look is disjointed. Say you’re wearing a black dress, grey tights, and black heels. The tights slice you mid-thigh and at the ankle, making you and your legs look shorter.
Of the two looks above, I prefer when the shoes and tights match. I think it’s an incredibly sleek look that slims and lengthens the leg. I also think it looks more polished and professional. Whether you’re 18 or 45, you can make this look work during the winter months.
The Shoes You Need. As I mentioned, my favorite ensemble for work is black tights with black shoes. Period. You almost want the tights to blend in with the shoes like they’re an extension of your body. There are three types of shoes that work best with this look: pumps, ankle boots, and tall boots.
Notice I didn’t say flats? I think flats with tights can look a bit juvenile, especially round-toed flats. This is a personal preference, probably shaped by the fact that I look young for my age, and don’t want to emphasize it. But if you want to wear flats, I recommend pointed or almond-toe flats. Choose something basic, like these Nine West flats or these Marc Fisher flats.
As for the pumps, round toe or pointed toe, dealer’s choice. But much like the flats, simpler is better for work. These Trotters Gigi pumps are quite comfortable. I also like these pointed toe Tahari Parson pumps.
In the market for boots? If you work in a casual office, you can get away with these gorgeous Madewell Penny boots. For an unembellished, heeled tall boot, these Frye Isabella boots are just the tops. If you prefer ankle boots, these Mango midi-heel boots are a sleek choice.
Colored Tights. I don’t wear colored tights often. I have a pair of eggplant tights and a pair of navy ones, but that’s about it. I mostly stick to black these days.
With colored tights, it’s important to match the colors as closely as possible. When I’m trying to pair a colored piece with tights, I take it to a department store to find something that will work. If you’re looking for colored tights online, the best options are Modcloth and J.Crew Factory.
Laundering Tights. Tights should always be washed in a mesh laundry bag. This protects them from pilling, snagging, and ripping in the wash. It also keeps them from taggling up other clothing items. I buy mesh bags on Amazon, and use them for washing all of my delicates.
If they pill a bit, this $15 Conair sweater shaver will keep them looking great. Sadly, I’ve never found a cure for those unsightly snags that can form over time.