This week Autumn finally arrived 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, Gross, 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! It got me wondering how these humble knitted tubes of nylon could be so divisive, offensive and loved all at once – and I felt compelled to share the reasons why I think 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 – its that you’re wearing the wrong ones!
At the moment getting dressed in the morning has become 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 previous evening (that’s a whole other blog post right there). Here is where tights are just my absolute saviour. Goodbye looking for a clean pair of trousers and the other f*king sock, Hello tights and a jumper dress and just like that, I am done and no longer running late.
But it isn’t only convenience – that would be boring!
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 feeling fabulous a little 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 fit no matter what. I know that in a short skirt an opaque tight has got me covered, so I don’t need to worry. It might sound like I’m talking about minute details here but this is essentially managing personal style on a daily basis and understanding that things have to be realistic and functional, as well as expressive, if you are going to feel great in your clothes day in, day out.
They can pack a punch if you use colours to your advantage. I love brightly coloured tights which is, in some people’s mind, 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 which looks channelled, intentional and striking – and like you’ve made way more effort than you have. Comfort, check. Feeling confident, check. Looking great, checkity 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 at least 2 years, I kid you not, being worn practically every other day. And you know, even with all the hose-hatery 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 Cool. Hearing Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton utter the word “gusset” with such glee over and over, confirmed my suspicions.
AMERICAN APPAREL – Worth the seemingly high price tag. I have had some of their Opaque tights for nearly a decade. Yes, a decade. Yes, really. Impossible to ladder and come in every shade imaginable. Currently on hiatus in the UK, hopefully to revisit our shores again very soon (until then, there’s always Fedex)
FALKE MERINO WOOL – For the thicker option. 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.
MONKI – 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!
BZR SHOP For show-stopping ombre, hand dyed tights (worn above), excellent quality and something more special than you’re likely to find anywhere else – or see on anyone else.