Learn to love your tights
They're an unloved winter wardrobe staple, but the likes of Chanel and Versace have finally embraced hosiery. You can too, writes Victoria Moss
Is there anything less tempting than grappling around with a gusset first thing in the morning? But now that we are here, in the eye of the festive storm, with nothing but drizzle, frost and dank to look forward to, I offer what I have devised to be the seven stages of hoisting up the nylons.
You might have heard the urban legend of stoic New Yorkers who find nothing intimidating about a six-inch stiletto and a pencil skirt grazing the knee of an uncovered leg in the deepest of blizzards. I've seen such creatures in their natural habitat. They have drivers.
Sometimes just the thought of fishing your way through a bag or drawer filled with depressing black nylon - each pair, variously, too short in the leg, inexplicably laddered on the thigh, a hole exactly over your big toe, bobbles along the shin - is enough to keep you shivering for a couple more weeks at least. Not to mention that pair with elastic so loose that you find yourself in a public toilet shimmying them off as you can't walk more than three paces without having to unceremoniously hitch the things up (let's never speak of that again).
That plumped-up bag does feature a smattering of Falke and even Wolford… Somewhere in there, past the bizarre purple pair that one can only assume was maliciously planted by the bad taste fairy on a slow night, there are good pairs. Don't they deserve to see the light once more? Plus, the cold slap around your ankles is really starting to become painful.
So you're cold, but tights can be grim. May I suggest a newish brand called Heist? Its pairs are seam-free and do not have a gusset at all. So modern.
It has also developed its range into a proper spectrum of sizes from 4 to 24. So no more of that irritating do I buy s/m or m/l contemplation.
A moment to reflect
Why not keep posting pictures of your summer holiday on Instagram, captioning it with mawkish sentiment, "wishing it was summer won't turn these grey clouds into blue skies again" and #summerdreaming (you know who you are). But this is simply the cyclical seasonal nature of life. Shall we move on? Think of all the snow-covered garden pictures that are surely just around the corner!
On that note
I have great news. That most maligned of denier, a thick black opaque, which has neither the sexiness of the sheer black, nor the royal primness of the ghastly 'nude' and often coasts through the years with not much more than a 'meh' about it, has been embraced by high fashion. See Chanel and Versace. And Julianne Moore, truly a fashion icon for our time, happily covering her pins in a sturdy pair. Spending on tights is worth the bother. Wolford's Velvet de Luxe 66 (€29, available online and in most department stores) are soft, matte (crucial - there is nothing positive to say about a shiny tight) and extremely comfortable. There is also what Wolford calls "innovative plating technology" which makes them durable. I also recommend Couture Ultimates seamless ladder-proof tights in a 60 denier (€9, Amazon).
Investigation and further study
Once you get back into the swing of tights, you will recall the smoothing effect, which I am always grateful for. You can, of course, look for even more supportive options. Here, I go straight to M&S for its Magicwear line (I like the 60 denier, €8.25, M&S). But you need to watch for the tricky combination of knicker line and tight. Make sure your underwear is either seamless or sits at the same point of your tights. It's boring, but there's nothing like dodgy underpinnings to ruin a look.
Once you're back in the cosy, covered-up phase of winter, where tights are nothing more than a should-one-wash-in-a-net-bag-or-not conundrum (you should, but life is short), you will benefit from how helpful they can be at making a dress that clings hang more smoothly, give new life to a skirt previously avoided for its perilously close-to-the-knee length, and excusing you from having to find a matching pair of socks.