Fashion & Beauty

Tights to Give You a Leg Up

During Fashion Week in London, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dressed models in over-the-top hosiery dripping with glittering appliqués.


By Janet Kelly

FLASHBACK to the 1960s. British style icon and fashion designer Mary Quant championed the mini skirt and changed the way women dressed, making clothes they could run for a taxi or a bus in.

According to the V&A Museum, because she needed companions for her thigh-skimming skirts, Quant partnered with the Nylon Hosiery company. They developed a way to make long stockings which joined together at the top and were dyed to coordinate with Quant’s separates. The partnership continued to come up with new colors, and in 1966 glitter stockings in silver and gold, as well as in green, blue and red.

Since that time, tights have gone in and out favor—and fashion—many times. This season they’re back and looking fresh. Alexander McQueen’s are dripping in sparkly sequins and such. Hosiery companies such as Falke and Fogal—both in business for the past 100 years and more, have introduced new colors and patterns. And fishnets—with or without crystals—are once again attracting attention. If über-embellished tights are not how you roll but you still want festive, Swedish Stockings makes a metallic pair from recycled fibers. Whatever your preference, tights offer a relatively inexpensive way of updating and/or adding personality to what’s already in your closet.

Below, 10 pairs we like for right now, for the holidays and beyond:

LEFT: Got your booster? Ready to kick up your heels—however cautiously? You’d be hard pressed to find more joyous colors than on Fogal’s 30-denier semi-opaque tights ($34). We counted—there are 26 hues from which to choose, including petrol and cobalt, shown above. They’ll look terrific, paired with black skirts and sweater dresses. (Note that when it comes to denier, if you’re anti-see-through, look for a denier of 40 or above; if you want the sheer look, a denier of 30 or less.)

RIGHT: Count on Falke to deliver high-quality products that are comfortable and fit well, such as these opaque Cotton Touch Tights  ($46), reinforced at “stress zones.” We fell for this pair in mistletoe, but they’re also available in eight other mostly office-friendly hues, including rust and navy.

LEFT: The mission of Swedish Stockings, which is designed in Sweden and made in Italy, is to move the entire hosiery industry toward sustainable production. These party-ready Tora Shimmery Tights are made from a metallic blend of recycled fibers. They’re $39 at Nordstrom.

CENTER: In the November issue of British Vogue, the singer Adele celebrates her return to the music world wearing a black Louis Vuitton mini-dress with polka dot tights. Enjoy the fun of dressing up again, feet first. These Mini Dots Sheer Tights ($38) are luxury for the legs.

RIGHT: Another option from Swedish Stockings, lattice patterned tights ($35, Nordstrom) are versatile enough to go from looking fashionable at the office to making a chic statement for an evening at the theater.

LEFT: What we like about these leopard Elektra Tights is they’re on the sheerer side (20 denier). That allows some skin to peek through, which lightens up the density of the pattern so they don’t look painted on your legs. They’re currently on sale for $14 on the Fogal site.

CENTER: Like knee socks but warmer, these cable knit wine-colored tights ($69) will keep your legs and toes toasty, thanks to their cotton and cashmere composition. They’re part of Falke’s 125th year anniversary collection.

RIGHT: Indulge your girly side in Asos Design’s floral lace tights ($11.50), made from a combination of nylon and spandex. Balance the femme factor with a black leather skirt and chunky-sole boots.

LEFT: The product of a collaboration between bodywear brand Wolford and shoe designer Amina Muaddi, Crystal Net Tights are made for a celebration. Fishnets with hand-applied Swarovski crystals never looked so glam. Like them? Be prepared to take a deep dive into your wallet. They’re $450 at Wolford.

RIGHT: Less blingy but still vampy, a flash of these micro-net Twenties Tights ($53, Wolford) can add an edge to a demure dress or a tweed suit, as Chanel creative director Virginie Viard recently showed on her resort and spring 2022 runways. If you’re worried about ruining a pair of $50-plus tights within nanoseconds of putting them on, I can relate. But I can also attest to the durability of Wolford’s tights. I spotted them at Harrod’s in London, er, maybe 30 years ago, when I purchased a pair in satin opaque. They’re still my go-to brand.

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2 thoughts on “Tights to Give You a Leg Up

  1. Nancy G says:

    Love tights! And the patterned ones are beautiful.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Wore my polka dot ones last night!

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