7 Tips For Wearing Tights And Other Types Of Hosiery

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7 Tips For Wearing Tights And Other Types Of Hosiery

Your legs can be a little bit high-maintenance: For example, they need insulation during the colder months when you want to wear a dress, and they sometimes require a bit of coverage when following an office environment dress code.

Fortunately, legwear isn’t always so utilitarian! Glamming up your gams is a simple way to add some serious interest to your current wardrobe. Sure, tights and pantyhose seem pretty straightforward, but if you haven’t given them a second thought lately, consider some tricks and tips for a new spin on a much-loved classic.

1. Understand The Lingo

Your friends on the East Coast call them stockings, you’ve always called them tights and your mom calls everything either pantyhose or nylons. Since they’re all stretchy and cover your legs, they seem like they’re practically all the same, but there are some minor differences that are easy to spot:

  • Tights/Stockings: They’re thicker and more opaque. They may be made out of any material, including nylon, but if they’re cotton or wool, they’re definitely tights.
  • Pantyhose/Nylons: They’re sheer and made of nylon.
  • Leggings: Knit like a pair of yoga pants, opaque like a pair of tights or sheer like a pair of pantyhose, the term “leggings” simply means they’re footless. However, if you’re channeling the '80s, they might come with stirrups worn under your feet.

2. Repurpose Your Tights

Whether your tights drawer is excessively full and you just bought new tights to replace the old, or if you pulled them on too forcefully and your toe burst through the foot, don’t toss them out just yet – turn them into leggings!

Simply cut the footie off of each leg and try them on. Continue to cut off a bit more until you’re happy with the length. Surprisingly enough, rather than shredding, the bottom of each leg typically rolls slightly for a smooth finish.

3. Figure Out Your Size For A Good Fit

Too-tight tights or pantyhose? So uncomfortable. Too loose? Immediate granny ankles with stacking fabric. To avoid fit issues, read the back of the package and always err on the side of tights that are too small:

  • Read The Chart On The Back: Many classic brands use a chart with rows and columns representing measurements like height and weight. Find the point at which both of these measurements overlap and then look to see within which size your measurements fall. It’s more effective than guessing!
  • Pay Attention To The Numbers: If the package simply says "Small," "Medium" or "Large," check for a size chart or for pant sizes in parentheses next to the listed word. For example, if the "Small" says (2-4) and the "Medium" says (6-8), choose according to your pant size.
  • TIP: If you’re very petite and find that even the "Extra-Small" (XS) isn’t fitting, take a trip into the little girls’ section and check out their sizes and associated measurements. A girls’ 14 or 16 will often work for your smaller frame.

4. Use Them For Body Shaping

Tights and pantyhose often perform double duty by providing body shaping so you feel sleek – heavy duty shapewear is great for special occasions, but it’s not always a favorite option for day-to-day use. Shaping options are:

  • Tummy Control: For flat abs
  • Control Top: Support in the shape of a brief or a boy short
  • Leg Support: Support that runs from the waist to mid-thigh
  • Full Support: Support from top to bottom

5. Add Color And Texture To Your Outfits

Classic black tights and nude pantyhose are fantastic staples to keep around, but legwear offers a lot more versatility and excitement if you’re looking for a way to amp up your outfits.

  • Add Color: Tights are available in every color you can imagine. From heather gray to hot fuchsia, you’ve got options at your fingertips.
  • Add Pattern: Whether you prefer a more conservative look (think pinstripes or Swiss dots) or a more daring display (like windowpane or multi-color florals), tights and pantyhose offer single-tone to multi-hued patterns.
  • Add Texture: Nubby wools or cashmere blends add depth to your outfits with a sweater-like appearance. Then again, nude fishnets work wonders for hiding uneven skin tone, while lace adds a little va-va-voom to your look.

6. Wash Legwear Carefully

While you can hand wash your legwear, you may also maintain re-wearable legwear by making some simple choices before tossing them into the washing machine:

  • Turn them inside out
  • Use a delicates wash bag
  • Wash on the delicate cycle
  • Avoid using hot water
  • Use mild detergent – avoid bleach
  • Air dry (either by laying them flat or hanging them up)

7. Troubleshoot Snags And Runs

Stop a snag from turning into a run so you can make it through the day without shredded legwear. The tried-and-true method of dabbing on some clear nail polish to the affected area works to keep a snag or run from spreading. It’s that easy.

Whether you’re on your way into the office or out for a special date, hosiery offers a world of options that give you a leg up on creating the ideal outfit for every occasion. Just remember to throw that bottle of clear nail polish into your bag, and you’re good to go.

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