This week autumn finally arrived in London and this seemed to be the cue for discussions on what we in the UK rather boringly refer to as 'tights'. I overheard everything from ‘Nasty’ and ‘Gross’, to ‘Only in black - colours are just wrong’, right through to declarations of ‘I can't live without them’, ‘Hooray it's finally cold enough to wear them’ and ‘I have a drawer full of ‘em!’
It got me wondering how these humble knitted tubes of yarn could be so divisive,– the Marmite of fashion if you will - so offensive and adored simultaneously, and I felt compelled to share the reasons why, for me, they are such a vital part of any wardrobe.
Preliminary confession: I used to hate tights. And I mean hate tights. I vividly remember being forced to wear those thick knitted school tights when I was a child and apart from being made of horrid cardboard-y wool, they had those huge seams at the toes, which would inevitably get crumpled up in your little school shoes and made me cringe endlessly. Apparently even in those days I had high standards! This was clearly a traumatising experience and I was well in to my twenties before voluntarily trying on a tight again and finding that I wasn't physically repulsed. So you see, it isn't that tights are bad – it’s that you're wearing the wrong ones.
REASON 1: I NEED TO GET DRESSED EVERY DAY and sometimes that sucks
Sometimes getting dressed in the morning can be a relentless time of crisis for me: I have no idea what to wear, I'm looking for things in my wardrobe that I don't actually own, I only have 5 minutes to choose something and the clock is mercilessly ticking. I curse myself for not having planned an outfit the night before (that's a whole other blog post right there). Here is where tights are just about my absolute saviour. Goodbye looking for a clean pair of trousers and the other f*king sock to the one I clutch in my hand, Hello tights and a jumper dress and just like that, I am looking put together and reaching for my keys.
But it isn't only convenience that keeps me loving tights - that would be boring!
REASON 2: I NEED TO EAT LUNCH and it's not acceptable to walk around the office with my jeans undone
If you feel great, you look great. But if you feel like you have a hernia from wearing those super-tight jeans for 5 hours whilst sitting at your desk and eating a salad, that's going to make strutting down the street looking radical a little more difficult. When I wear tights, I feel the perfect amount of form-fitting comfort. If I'm having a bloated day, my tights don't judge me, they obligingly accommodate. I know that in a mini skirt an opaque tight has got me covered, literally, so I don't need to worry about sharing more than intended. There’s also something so liberating about having your legs covered but with joyful maximum mobility that makes me feel like Mary Quant in my own French movie (I digress). It might sound like I'm talking about minute details here but this is essentially about managing personal style on a daily basis and understanding that things have to be realistic and functional, as well as nice-looking, if you are going to feel great in your clothes day in, day out. Tights, I salute you for this.
REASON 3: YES THERE'S 3 and it's not about practicality or fat days
They can pack a punch if you use colours to your advantage. I love brightly coloured tights, which is - to some people - a sacrilege, but a rule which I feel can elevate a look to the top if you opt for a head-to-toe hue. Think Jenny Mustard all in white; you look put-together and everything matches. This can often be an easily assembled outfit, but one that looks intentional and striking - and like you've made way more effort than you actually have. Comfort, check. Confidence, check. Looking great, check check.
I am that person whose winter tights must be merino, procured from Net-a-Porter (the only thing I can afford from them, I assure you) because I know that one pair will see me through the whole winter, being worn practically every other day. And you know, even with all the hose haters out there, I feel a tight revolution coming on. Just the other day I discovered that luxury, innovative hose hoisters Heist are the sponsors of cool podcast The High Low.
This, I took as proof, must mean that tights are now Cool. Hearing Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton utter the word "gusset" with repeated glee, confirmed my suspicions.
A guide to the best tights from the most fussy person on the planet (that’s me)
Worth the seemingly high price tag. I have had some of their Opaque tights for nearly a _decade_. Yes, a decade. Impossible to ladder and available in every shade imaginable. Currently on hiatus in the UK, hopefully to revisit our shores again very soon (until then, there's always Fedex)
For the thicker option, required in the depths of winter. They don't droop, don't pill, don't itch, and will see me through at least two winters, before they start to age and are absolutely worth every penny.
For the quick option. These wont last as long as the above, but are still fantastic value and the wool tights are the blackest of black. Plenty of bang for your buck, but rather popular so they do sell out fast!
The push-the-boat-out-option. For show-stopping ombre, hand dyed tights, excellent quality and something more special than you're likely to find – or see -anywhere else.
Tights in Sand Dollar American Apparel / Shoes Finery London / Necklace Iris De La Torre
Jumper & Other Stories, Leather shorts Vintage
Ombre tights BZR shop
Orange sixties boucle coat - Vintage, Etsy / Black silk shirt dress - All Saints / Necklace Wolf & Moon / Brogue trainers Clarks