At this time of year, it’s impossible to think about shoes without also thinking about hosiery.
I wish it wasn’t so. Unlike many of you, I’ve never been much of a fan of the colder weather, or the opportunity to ‘layer up’, but if I want to continue wearing dresses and skirts during the winter months, tights are really the only option, and luckily there’s no shortage of options in that department.
For many years now, opaque tights have reigned supreme as the tights-of-choice for almost everyone. Over the last few years, however – and thanks in part to the influence of women like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge – sheer hose has been making a bit of a comeback. I say a “comeback”: nude tights never actually went anywhere, and have continued to be worn by plenty of people. For a long time, however, they haven’t been considered particularly fashionable, and many would deem the shiny-legged, re-inforced toe look positively frumpy.
Times are changing, however, and while they’re still not exactly at the cutting edge of fashion, sheer hosiery is starting to be seen more often again. I for one am pretty happy about this, because while I do own and wear opaque tights when the occasion demands them, I can’t claim to love them, they way so many people do. I actually find that opaques can detract from the shoes or outfit worn with them, especially if either of the two are the same colour as the tights – black, most often. Black shoes tend to blend into black opaque tights, which will, in turn, blend into a black dress. That look can work for some people, but if you want your shoes to stand out (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this site, you probably DO…), it’s not ideal.
Can nude tights ever look truly natural, though, especially on someone with skin as pale as mine? UK Tights sent me a selection of nude and sheer styles, so I could find out for myself. Here’s how I got on…
Although these are described as “net” tights, it’s a net texture/pattern, as opposed to the actual net weave you get with fishnet styles. That might make these a good choice for those of you looking for tights for work, say, and thinking the full fishnet effect might be a little bit much. These will give you a bit of texture, and the appearance of nude tights, but with more coverage than you’d get from a sheer or a fishnet. The ‘natural’ colour was a bit too dark for my pale skin, however, so they weren’t quite ideal for me.
For those who prefer the ‘glossy leg’ look, these are 15 denier, with a lot of sheen. They seem hard-wearing and super-stretchy, but, again, the ‘natural’ colour was much too dark for my skin tone, so would only be suitable for someone less ghostly than I am!
These are 20 denier, but actually feel more delicate than the 15 denier pair mentioned above. They also have a slight sheen, but the appearance is much more natural, and the colour, although darker than my natural legs, is much closer to my skintone, creating a ‘barely there’ effect. If these were just slightly paler, they’d be perfect!
My favourite of the bunch, these are a traditional fishnet, with a small weave, and a natural colour. This is exactly the kind of tights I wear most often: again, the colour is darker than my skintone, but I find it easier to get away with that with a fishnet style, as the effect is one of texture rather than colour, if that makes sense. I love this kind of style because they’re worlds away from the un-natural-looking shiny, American tan look, but they’re also far removed from what most people think of as “fishnets”, so they’re appropriate to wear just about anywhere.
These are toeless tights, designed to be worn with open-toed shoes. I’ve never tried a pair of these before, purely because my thinking is that if it’s warm enough to wear open shoes, it’s also warm enough not to need tights. The theory here, however, is that these will provide all of the leg-smoothing effect of hose, while still allowing you to wear peep toes, and I guess if you work in an environment in which bare legs would be a no-no, or you just don’t feel comfortable about baring all, these could come in really handy. The toe section is in two parts, so there’s a section for your big toe, and another for the rest: I’m not sure how comfortable this would prove to be (I’m quite fussy about having things touching my toes), but the tights themselves are almost invisible on the leg (if you’re wondering if these were ALSO a bit too dark, yes, they were, but they were probably the closest match of all of these pairs, and I’d definitely be able to get away with wearing them), and also felt nice and cool against my skin, so I think they’d be comfortable enough on a warm-ish day, too.
What do you think of nude tights? Would you wear them, or is it opaques all the way, as far as you’re concerned?
Main image © Dmitrii Kiselev | Dreamstime.com