I’m one of those people who absolutely loves tights. I know this can be a divisive opinion, as I’ve heard some swear they will never wear them. But as someone who loves shorts and mini skirts and finds a way to wear them year-round, I appreciate how tights allow me to increase my cold-weather outfit possibilities.
During the fall and winter of 2020, I began experimenting with pieces that brought me joy whenever I had the opportunity to get out of the house. Through this, I found myself growing quite the collection of patterned tights because they can be an inexpensive way to add some punch to an outfit. During a time when I mostly wore stretchy leggings or sweatpants, it wasn’t a shock to my system to put on a pair of tights. I had a pair of hand-dyed tights from my friend Emily Dawn Long, which started my collection. I love the look of a very classic, low-key outfit with a splash of fun on the legs.
Patterned tights are simple dressing, so easy, and in my opinion, very cool, so I’m here to get you on this train so you can ride along with happy legs all season. Below, see some of my personal favorites.
A Masterpiece on Your Legs
Starting with my personal favorite: painterly tights. From hand-dyed shapes to tie-dye creations, I love that these are handmade works of art, which would be fully unexpected when paired with a shorts suit or tailored vest.
I love floral patterned tights because they’re not too wild, and they're really easy to dress up (cocktail dress) or dress down (denim mini skirt and an oversized sweater). Your options are really limitless here: I love watercolor flowers with a '70s vibe, Liberty print florals, and artistic Etsy finds that remind me of chic bathroom wallpaper.
Playing with Asymmetry
If you want to go wild—which I do, and have—try a pair of tights that features a different pattern on each leg. Whether you go for florals, plaid, or something else entirely, when pairing these with something easy and simple, you instantly have an exciting look.
Iconic Designer Prints
When I started working in fashion, I learned that a pair of designer logo-patterned tights add a touch of esteem to a look, for far less than a bag or shoe. Gucci's pairs aren’t cheap, but they certainly make a mark on an outfit. I also love Emilio Pucci's iconic swirl print and Marine Serre's "tattoo" tights with the recognizable moon logo. Pro tip: Because these are expensive and tights are fragile, I actually wear a second pair of tights under the designer ones. If I’m wearing boots, I wear socks with them, again, to protect the tights. This way, you can wash them less and keep them in good condition for longer.
I'll always love the subtlety of lace. A dainty allover pattern, it adds a hint of romanticism to any outfit. I personally like lace peeking out from the ankles of a long skirt or dress, and once colder, layered over another pair of tights in a bright color or nude (for a touch of extra warmth). Go for classic lace, or spice it up with a bright color or modern geometric pattern.
The Bolder, the Better
If I’ve convinced you to join the patterned tights club and you're ready to go all in, consider some boldness. I've envisioned my holiday party look wearing the below Thom Browne gingham tights with a mini pinafore dress, and I can’t un-imagine it. Philipp Plein's leopard tights are sheer enough to not be too loud, but are very, very cool. And finally, if you have a cat, I urge you to get a pair of cat-printed tights and take a picture in them while holding your pet. A pair of patterned tights is, in fact, all about the statement.