A Tights Debate

Yesterday we read Jess Cartner Morley’s humorous ramblings on tights. She asserts their status in the pecking order of fashion is way below even the humble sock saying; ‘ A pair of socks may not be exciting, but it is not actually embarrassing, whereas there is something cringe-making, excruciatingly domestic and below the stairs about tights’.   Admittedly this accessory may never reach the heady climes of other items of attire yet they can’t be completely dismissed.

It recently occurred to us that maybe our attitudes are shaped by our own cultural and fashion landscapes. Wolford could easily be considered the high priestess of tights labels; such is their extensive collection utilizing the finest luxury fabrics.  We visited their London headquarters recently where we talked in great detail all things pertaining to the tights.  It transpired that the chic women in Italy by 35 would never be seen with bare legs, excluding holidays of course.   We are not talking full on 70 deniers in high summer, rather what Wolford might describe as a silky whisper of the finest nude mesh to give the leg a smooth silky sheen or as Jess Carter Morley offers; ‘sausage skin for legs’.  It made us chuckle too.

In stark contrast to the Italians the high maintenance New York urbanite rarely dons a pair of tights. Certainly never for a big night even in the depths of winter, complete with blizzards, snow and any other weather condition that might have us reaching for our thickest pair.  Leg maintenance; waxing, working out and immaculate pedicures, are de rigeur for New York women hence why would you want to cover up perfection?

Yet over this side of the pond and with our relatively less vigorous beauty regimes us Brits generally have a fondness for tights.   After all nothing slims the leg more effectively than a black pair of opaques -hold off on the shiny ones though for optimal results.  With a new generation of sculpting and lifting mechanisms magically embedded from the thigh upwards it certainly beats spending a lifetime in the gym.   Spanx, the American brand, seems to be the forerunner in the heavily saturated shape wear/tights market   Their tummy control tights do everything they should whilst remaining comfortable enough to hold a conversation without feeling too squeezed or constricted.

Moving away from such purely functional numbers there are labels out there whom herald a refreshing approach. Bebaroque is a name that immediately springs to mind a Scottish brand that hand prints and embroiders their tights adding quirky embellishments.  Any notion that tights are anything less than glamorous, humorous, or an essential fashion accessory in a style savvy woman’s wardrobe are banished by their fabulous designs.

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