How to Dress For Cold Weather: Fun Tights Edition

by Bailey Powell


The time has come, Texas girls, to talk of winter things: of boots and scarves and dramatic capes, of fun tights, and things.

Moment of honesty: Sometimes I get a bad attitude about cold weather rolling in (however indecisive it may be). I feel sad to watch my suggestion of a tan fade back to my natural pastiness and put away my simple yet chic sundresses and espadrilles. However, I think my deep-seeded beef with the chilly season is actually a lot simpler than a laundry list of annoyances. I have no faith in my layering skills. 

The queen of layering.


…The fact that I despise the way I look in pants and therefore am perpetually in leggings and skirts doesn’t help the situation, either.

In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed with the whole issue of layering, sighing, closing my laptop, and falling into a wardrobe-anxiety-induced heap onto my bed, I’m going to start small.

Enter: fun tights.

They go under skirts, they go under dresses. For women with fabulous legs they go under (sequined, wool, or other warm material) shorts. Tights have the ability to take an outfit from boring to “HEY GIRL!” or simply give new life to winter basics in general. The cool thing about tights is that, unless you’re set on Wolford, they can be relatively inexpensive.

Black tights are super basic, so I’m assuming everyone has a pair of those. (If you don’t, what’s wrong with you? Just kidding. You can pick up a pair for a pittance at Target or even Wal Mart, but for longevity I recommend DKNY.) If you’re bored with plain black but not quite ready to break out tights in a rainbow of colors, patterned black tights are an easy way to add an interesting and fun element to your look:

Top to bottom, left to right: Vertical stripes elongate the leg. Polka dots add a playful element. The chevron pattern is kin to the fishnet. Wear a pencil skirt with back-seam panty hose, which are reminiscent of old school underthings and add a touch of sex appeal. Zig zags make a brave statement while still being relatively low-key in the muted color. Everyone needs a classic pair of fishnets- just be sure to wear them with a conservative skirt in order to eliminate any street walker vibes. A diamond pattern that looks like an exaggerated fishnet is a fresh idea. Wear tights in a magnified houndstooth pattern to make work outfits more interesting. Play up the snakeskin trend with a pair of tights, or have fun with a bold back-seam look.

For those of you looking for hosiery inspiration in the realm of statement making or quirkiness, try these on for size:

Top to bottom, left to right: Panty hose with a faux over-the-knee sock are on-trend and eliminate one step in getting dressed. Embrace your inner Blair Waldorf with a pair of canary yellow tights. Hint: Wear them with a hunter green skirt or dress- bonus points if you wear a headband. To avoid looking like a jester pair the two-tone tights with a black shift dress and a statement necklace that matches one of the legs. Get hyper-feminine with the pink lace tights and wear them under a frilly black cocktail dress or a cap sleeve black shift (again!)*. Pair the brown and red diamond/front-seam tights with a pair of high-heeled oxfords for a professional, chic look. Throw in some leopard print via tights with a solid color dress or skirt. I snuck in another pair of black vertical stripe tights because I’m obsessed with them. Be brave and try the look out. Grey tights are a nice alternative to black. Add an off-the-wall element with alphabet tights (I love these!), or throw in some punk rock tartan with plaid tights in happy colors. Embrace your inner romantic with a girly heart print.


While trend exploration is meant to be adventurous, inspiring, and somewhat limitless, it is important to remember a few finite faux pas regarding tights:

  • Vertical striped tights are leg-lengthening. Horizontal tights are not. In addition to adding visual weight to your legs, they make you look like you’re wearing part of your skanky Halloween costume from college.
  • White tights are also a part of the unflattering club. Remember, black makes things look smaller and white makes things look bigger. Unless you’re a three year old girl, a ballerina, or a nurse ca. 1960, white tights are a no-no.
  • Cut off tights=leg-lengthening suicide. Unfortunately that trend seems to be dying hard, and lovely ladies with legs of every length are suffering the consequences. Ditch the cut-off tights (or 3/4 leggings, for that matter). Tacky, tacky, tacky.
  • *If you’re wearing loud tights, let them do the talking. Keep the rest of your outfit toned down and if you’re not sure about pairing something with a statement-making pair of tights, ask a fashionable friend. Remember, they’re just like a statement necklace or a look-at-me pair of shoes. You don’t want to overwhelm your look.

I hope this post inspires a more positive outlook for anyone having trouble with layering. (One step at a time, okay?) Click links to shop.