Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tight on Tights

Sometimes people write to me for fashion advice. As a matter of fact, I received a post just the other day that read...

Dear JetSet,
Please write a post on the correct wearing of tights. Consider my feelings: I want to wear tights because it's cold. *EDITED FOR CONTENT*

Please advise,

Sassy-haired in P-ville

Dear Sassy-haired in P-ville (that's a lot longer than Kacy, which is what I normally call you),

I'm glad you wrote to me, although that kind of language was uncalled for.

I was just thinking the other day that it's been too long since we went out for Korean, when lo and behold, you dropped me a line. Of course, it wasn't to invite me to an intimate dinner with forty of our closest friends at the best dive this side of Pyon-yang, but I have decided to forgive and forget.

What a treat to talk about tights!

The general rule of thumb is that if you wore the trend once in your youth you shouldn’t wear it again. For most things (acid-wash jeans, hyper-color shirts, and stirrup pants) they’d be right. However, my rule of thumb is that you should wear anything you want (as long as they aren’t pajamas in public) even if you did wear them the first time as long as you still look smashing. If possible, confirm “smashing” through a neutral third party. Your significant other is not a neutral party, they have a vested interest. Ask a friend or a sister, if you are reasonably sure that they won't take the occasion to store up humorous anecdotes. Notable exceptions: no mini skirts after 35 and most of what you were wearing in 1987.

Tights, last being in wide-spread accepted fashion about 15 years ago, tried to make a comeback about three years ago. None of you were paying attention, so they tried it again this year.

I don’t know about you, but I love an opaque tight. They hide all kinds of sins and knees. Frankly, the knee is just about the least attractive part on a person, so anything that covers that joint up with something has my stamp of approval. Opaque tights with no pattern can be worn by everyone, but mostly women, because this ain’t King Louis’ court mon frier. Where should you buy your opaque tights? Anywhere that carries your size. Should you get a control top? I don’t know, should you have another piece of cake?

As far as patterned tights go, the smaller the repeat the better. Thick, cable knit tights should be avoided unless you have the kind of legs for it. Do you have the kind of legs for it? I highly doubt it. Possibly the worst idea for stockings is the giant fishnet with gaps the size of half-dollars—most of you will look like a pork roast and the rest will look desperate.

Can you wear a patterned tight with a pattern shoe? Yes, but it’s dangerous.


If you are nervous about your pairing of colors and patterns, you will want to stick to a one-pattern-per lower body motto. If you’re feeling daring enough, look to store displays for inspiration. Buy it off the mannequin if you have to, because generally the display is paired correctly. If you want to try the double pattern at home, huzzah and well met! You’re looking for a balance of contrasts. For instance, a dark pattern tight can be paired with a light color pattern shoe. A bright pattern tight paired with a more subtly patterned shoe. Advanced users may be able to pull off the bright pattern shoe/tight combo, but the likelihood of it being you is minuscule. People who I know can pull it off: Miggy and Likely. The rest of you—good luck and send me pictures.

Heels and tights? Sure, why not. Beware of an ankle strap and where it might hit (lower is better) because tights may only accentuate how stumpy one’s legs are.

And that’s how you wear tights if you wore them once already.

Your Friend,

The Jet Set


Terri said...

I am a firm believer in opaque tights. However, I hate "nylons."

How do you feel about tights with a peep toe in winter? I sometimes am on the fence, but think overall I am pretty opposed to even a peep toe in tight season. Open toe shoes should not be worn with any type of hosiery!!! (right?)

Emily said...

Dear Jet Set and Sassy-haired, I want in on Sam Hawk. I'll leave my giant fishnets at home. Shall we set a date?

Emily said... called. They said you nailed it.

AzĂșcar said...

Dear Terri,
I love a peep toe with a tight. What was a faux pas just 15 years ago is now the height of boho chic. Do it if you dare--and I do!

Dear Emily,

Emily said...

Really? I can show the seam of the tights in open-toed shoes?!

Kacy said...

Much thanks.
Will try sausage casings (scratch that) tights soon.
Sam Hawk.
Time and date?

Shawn said...

I love my tights! I've got those dreaded spider veins---not so that they only appear on old ladies! I've had to deal with them for many years...

So, since I don't care much for "nylony" (is that a word?) opaque tights, I found a site that sold cotton opaque---nice! I haven't bought new ones for a couple of years, but need some new ones this year---so I'll find that site again and get back to anyone that wants cotton tights.

By the by---I love to wear a wild fish net to church and shake up the members! Heh, heh...

Love your site!

Hannah said...

I have always thought colored tights made legs look fat. Am I wrong?

I love the look, but I have been scared. I guess I will give them a chance.

redlaw said...

i loved opaque tights even when the world eschewed them. they are fabulous! and i do them with peeptoes too!

Queen Scarlett said...

Great post.

I hate any kind of tights. I like being naked... legs that is (well...and at other times too). The whole tight thing makes me feel too restricted. My legs are part of the nudist colony.

I guess that means I wouldn't have done well with corsets either.

the MomBabe said...

And I think you need to remind people that tights should not be used INSTEAD of a decent length skirt/dress. They are not underwear, they are TIGHTS. That is all.

Likely said...


Thanks for the shout out ...

I was just in NYC the last three days. Tights EVERYWHERE. No joke. Every kind imaginable. I loved it. LOved the lady in a long-sleeved black dress, fushia tights and turquoise and camel mary jane pumps that helped me at Tinsel Trading.

You have more faith in me than I do.

Fig said...

I love tights too, but I confess I've seen some knees that I thought were just lovely.

If you're taking queries, may I ask about your feelings on tucking? As in, tops into bottoms? I really like doing it, but I feel like I do it wrong sometimes. Can I tuck? Should I tuck?

martha corinna said...

Yesterday I wore gray opaque tights with 3 tone green heels. Not sure if I pulled it off with the over 18 crowd, but the YW loved it, and since I am now 2x18, I enjoyed it for the day.

jeri said...

I'm spending a Sunday afternoon reading older posts on your blog - hence the late response.

Cicada and Nem talked me into wearing nude fishnets with cream suede heels and a wool skirt. It was cool. I wish the stockings had closed toes though - it's annoying to have your toes poke through the fishnets.