Hosiery options have really expanded since your grandmother was putting tights in your stocking, with textured wools, colored sheers, elegant lace and more pattern choices than ever before. If you’re used to plain tights and pantyhose, you might be shy about adding something a little more intriguing to your wardrobe — but don’t be. Like jewelry, the trick to wearing fun hosiery is knowing the difference between what’s in fashion and what’s going too far. Use this guide for tips on pairing patterned tights with items you already own, and you’ll soon agree that they’re an indispensable fashion accessory.
1. Mix and Match With Textures
There’s no rule that says you can’t mix textures. In fact, combining textures can take an outfit from humdrum to super-fashionable. Pair woolly cable-knit tights with textures like denim, leather, suede or houndstooth. The result looks well put-together and expensive. Pretty neat trick for a simple pair of tights!
2. Play With Color
Now that hosiery comes in every shade from hot pink to chartreuse, it’s easy to add a pop of color to any winter outfit. Neons and brights are fun when peeking unexpectedly out of a pair of flirty cowgirl boots. You can also color-block your whole ensemble. Stick to solids, and think in vivid contrasts: red tights with cobalt blue, purple paired with silver-gray or bright yellow with green.
3. Keep Your Body Type in Mind
“One size fits all” is usually a lie, and it’s the same with patterned tights. Every style doesn’t flatter every shape. Big patterns and horizontal prints can make a heavier leg look even wider. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid patterned tights: seek a delicate pattern, such as tiny Swiss dots, and look for prints that run vertically. Dark colors can elongate the leg, especially when worn with a sleek, tall riding boot.
4. Be Careful with Fishnets
Fishnets and lace tights can amp up an outfit’s sex appeal in an instant. The only problem? It’s possible to amp it up too much, and what starts out as a sophisticated look can turn trashy as soon as you wiggle into the legwear. The trick is to keep it simple. Pair sultry hosiery styles with a simple black pencil skirt and a pretty blouse. You’ll look like a knock-out while still keeping it classy.
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