October 12, 2016
Melrose Fisher (With credit to Tracy Varga Group at Pink Suede)
I am uncomfortable in dresses without hosiery. Is it ok to wear them now? Or is bare legged still the trend? With cooler weather coming, surely I’ve got to think about comfort, right? Yes, but follow these tips for how to wear hose.
Three cheers for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge who brought nude hose back in vogue. While the bare legged trend isn’t going anywhere, because of Kate, there’s far more stylish sheer hosiery options available in stores and no one will wrinkle their nose at your choice of hose. Below are tips for wearing hosiery, and suggestions of my favorite brands of pantyhose and tights:
If you want to wear sheer natural-looking stockings, you won’t find them at your neighborhood CVS. Quality is key for finding sheer, well-fitting, and natural looking pantyhose. The hose should be as close to your natural skin tone (no matter how pale you are); tan legs with fair arms and face is NOT stylish. Donna Karan’s ‘The Nudes’ comes in seven different colors, so you’re more likely to find a natural looking shade for your skin tone; the quality is excellent, they’re sheer and not too shiny making them like BB cream for your gams. ‘The Nudes’ come in toeless, high waist, control top, sheer to waist and even plus size so you can find a style that is most comfortable for you. I’ve also had luck with Nordstrom’s in-house brand. It’s a little less expensive and I think is a bit more visible when wearing, but still elegant. Nordstrom’s Sheer Control Top Pantyhose come in nine different “nude” colors and are available in plus size. If you’re a fan of thigh high stockings (also known as stay ups), you can’t beat Wolford; while they’re pricey, they’re well-made, natural looking, and one of the few brands I’ve found that stays up without putting dents in your thighs. I prefer their Individual 10 which come in six shades, aren’t shiny, are sheer, and cover imperfections nicely.
SHEER BLACK PANTYHOSE
Black sheers came back in style a few seasons ago and had again become a classic. While black stockings were popular for daywear before, this time, it’s best to keep them for evening events. As with nude pantyhose, choose a pair that is not too shiny, high quality, and as sheer as you can go while covering that which you wish to cover. Since black sheers are for the evening, it’s more acceptable for them to have a bit of sheen or have a higher denier (are thicker/more opaque).
Opaque tights are still a style mainstay this fall and winter. While I’m partial to very opaque non-shiny black tights with black shoes to create a long line and not compete with my dress, these days most any level of opacity and any color is acceptable and available at popular retailers. Shiny tights can look cheap and more like dancewear; a matte finish will look more expensive and be more versatile. For a traditional level of opacity, I’m a big fan of Nordstrom’s Everyday Opaque Tights. These are durable enough to last more than one season and have enough transparency that they can work for less formal evening affairs. If you’d like a blend between a sheer hose and opaque tight, DKNY’s Semi-Sheer Tights are a great choice. Durable like their traditional tights and with a subtle shaping top that doesn’t dig into your waist, these come in neutral colors that would look great peeking out from a feminine floral midi skirt or a pair of tall leather boots.
PATTERNED AND FISHNET STOCKINGS
This may not be advice you desire, but if you’re looking for advice on how to wear patterned, fishnet, or novelty hosiery you probably shouldn’t wear them. These are very tricky to wear; one misstep in regard to hem length or shoe choice and the whole look can go from classy to trashy. If you wish to dip your foot into creative hosiery, I recommend starting with something subtle like a nude fishnet, and pair with a longer skirt or tall boots. See how you feel, see what honest friends think, and then go from there.
ALTERNATIVE TO PANTYHOSE
These days, there’s a plethora of products that will do for your legs what foundation and concealer do you’re your face. I like Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs (I’ve had better luck with the lotion than the spray), which blends seamlessly, looks natural, and is water and sweat resistant. Self-tanners have improved greatly over the past couple of years, but I still am klutzy enough to end up with streaks; I’m a fan of Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, which offers a subtle tint to legs after several days of use. The gradual color means less chance for orange fingers or streaky ankles.