Millicent Wilkinson takes a look at the hosiery trend…

A few years back the powers that be announced that black opaque tights were ‘in season.’ For the majority of us they never seen our drawers, the perfect companion for denim hot-pants and slinky pencil skirts alike. They have helped us battle against the freezing Scottish weather and provided a failsafe when we’ve forgotten to shave our legs (don’t deny it, we’ve all been there.)

However this season looks different. Filtering down from the catwalks, the trends have included thick wools from Prada and Union Jack prints from Vivienne Westwood. But can they be translated to the high-street?

Patterned tights have long had negative implications. The Wicked Witch of the East has given horizontally striped tights a bad name, forever damning the print to be worn during Halloween or on the legs of teenage emos. But in fact, the print has a number of good points going for it. Contrary to myth, horizontal stripes are actually more flattering than vertical and, providing they are not involving black or neon colours, can be pretty versatile. I’ve seen a few camel and navy versions floating round the web which are both subtle and classic. If colour is not up your street there are some great geometric print varieties, seen amongst the clashing patterns of Louise Gray’s collection.

Another style of hosiery that gets bad press are fishnets. Traditionally worn by prostitutes, then punks, and then by Rocky Horror enthusiasts, they don’t keep out the cold and, if too tight, can cut off your circulation. However across the blogosphere bloggers have been layering them to keep warm. Wearing a pair of coloured tights beneath your fishnets makes them look less street corner and shows more of an individual sense of style. With this you can easily experiment with colour or size of the holes.

A personal favourite style is the mock-suspenders. Made popular by Henry Holland, this look was taken by celebrities and copied across the high-street. It remains popular as it is a simple twist on the classic black opaque, without the complications of suspender belts and garter straps – a modern solution for a vintage-inspired, but lazy modern generation. On a similar note, suspenders and hold-ups still remain popular and can be sourced in a variety of patterns and colours. And the cheeky flash of a garter never loses its allure.

If you wear tights because you need to keep warm and not purely to add zing to your outfit, leave the fluffy cotton varieties at home. It is easy to pick up wool, merino or even cashmere varieties on the high-street. Take a look in TKMaxx, or Amazon to find some bargains. You’ll need them over the chilly months…

There’s a style out there for everyone. Whether you prefer quirky geometric prints or a cosmic explosion plastered across your kneecaps, just have fun with it. You may not have legs like Jessie J or Beyonce, but a jazzy pattern is going to brighten anyone’s day. Personally I’m on the search for the red and white twist. Perfect for making your legs look like barbers’ poles…


Millicent Wilkinson

Image by Millicent Wilkinson