Leg-wear when you don’t want to go bare

 As I mentioned in a previous post, I thought leg-wear would be a good topic for a post. The bare-leg trend continues, but is not always practical or desired. Nothing on the legs can be chilly. It is amazing what a little light layer can do for warmth! Leg-wear can also tone the legs and cover what you might be sensitive about showing, whatever the reason. And lastly, leg-wear can just be plain ole’ fun! So here are some tips.

Before I get into talking about tights, I do want to first point out that skin-toned hosiery is making a come-back. The best bet if you are going to go with this option is to go with the highest quality you can afford, lightweight (a low denier number, like 10) and as natural looking as possible. I’ve read good reviews of Donna Karan hosiery for quality. You can find petite plus size and natural-looking skin colors for the lighter skin tones of white, lighter skinned Asian and mixed race women ranging from creamy white to about a caramel color at Bare Necessities. For women of color, you can find hosiery, as well as nude undergarments at Nubian Skin, which was launched in 2015 by Ade Hassan who was frustrated with the lack of skin tone hose and undergarments for darker skin. I also noticed that they have a great size range.

Hosiery options aside, you may be reading this because you want ideas on other alternatives. So here we go.

How about bright colored leg-wear with a solid black dress? As petite women, a dress that hits at the knee or above is very proportional for our figures, and gives more opportunity to show off fun leg-wear.  I recommend deep, rich or intense colors with a black dress or skirt. If you wear a white/grey or a light-colored dress, then pastels or softer muted tones work well. With all-over neutral grey, you can pretty much wear anything.

Layering: I like to layer fishnets over a solid color. This makes it less obvious that you are wearing fishnets, but creates interesting texture. I often get complements when I do this, and people are usually surprised when I tell them I have two pairs on! My trick is to pick fishnets and solids that don’t contrast too much. My favorite is burgundy fishnets over solid black tights. I have a pair of bright red tights, and when I put grey fishnets over them, it tones down the intensity of the red. Other ideas to try: black fishnets over teal, deep blue or purple. Grey fishnets over bright color solids, like red, rust, hot pink, yellow, mustards or lighter greens. Use “nude” the same way. (Nude meaning very light beige, as I could only find fishnet nude color for very light skin). Also, not all fishnets are the classic diamond shape: look for interesting patterns, too.

Fishnets alone: this trend continues. These may also be known as crochet pantyhose (helps to know the search terms!) If you are feeling daring, go for color fishnets or a pattern. If not quite so brave, try a color that doesn’t contrast too much with your skin color. It is surprisingly light and airy feeling, which makes legwear comfortable in warm weather (and keeps your sweaty feet from sticking to your shoes). I recommend the smaller diamond openings and smaller textures for shorter women. Another note on fishnets is that a tight weave in either black or nude can be a nice choice for wearing with a formal black dress, and often is not too obvious from a distance. On a slightly tangential note, did you know you can buy fishnet socks?

What about solid-colored neutrals? If you going to wear black, you might as well switch to leggings, since you are likely wearing them because they are practical and warmer than bare legs. This is good with a casual outfit. If the occasion is dressy, and don’t care to go bare, go with the best quality and natural looking hose you can find, as noted above. Another option if you want to don those black tights, is to go with wild-looking shoes, such as bright patent-leather red heals, or the bright and ornate shoes that we are seeing on the runways. Maybe add a belt to match your wild shoes, or top off the look with large, bold and bright jewelry. You will not look dated if you do that.

Otherwise, if you are going for neutral solid-color tights, I vote for brown, grey or navy. Brown matches with a surprising variety of colors and works well with brown boots. Navy has a clean professional look that can assist with monochrome dressing, often recommended for petites. Grey is a neutral which will look more interesting than black, and more fashionable than just simply practical. The world of grey is quite varied: textured, flecked, sparkly or striped. This is the neutral that you can probably still find interesting statement tights in.

About those leggings: don’t forget about ‘em. These are great for petites because it makes it easier to wear a short skirt. Many women feel less exposed and can therefore go shorter with skirts if you have leggings underneath. It is easy to find leggings on the market: solid, colorful, patterned, petite, eco-friendly, you name it!

Where to buy? We Love Colors: They have the best selection of colorful fishnets around! They also have plus sized tights and fishnets. For organic or eco-friendly tights, try these options: PACT, Rawganique, AllTRUEist, Maggie’s Organics. For petite sizes stockings and tights, try Bare Necessities. Pretty Poly has a wide variety within the basics and fishnet range. For fun colors and patterns, try ModCloth or Joy of Socks. For inspirational images, check out what I have collected on Pinterest on my Leg-wear board (click here). 

Whichever option you go with, wear it and hold your head high. Confidence is always attractive and fashionable, and will help you pull it off when you are wearing something that feels daring or new for you.

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