Cover Your Legs While Still Showing Their Shape
As the winter rain falls on our sidewalks and the cold wind gusts through our lives, we pile on the layers to keep out the chill. Pants are a good option to protect your legs from the cold. But there are ways to show a little more leg this season while still keeping warm. Leggings, tights and sheers are three perfect ways to winterize your legs when you are not wearing pants.
Winterize Your Legs With Leggings
Leggings are an easy fix for chilly legs when worn with a suitable, longer-length, crotch-covering top (repeat after me: “Leggings are not pants”). They are thick, warm and offer full coverage. They are comfortable and cozy and stretchy, so I get why you want to wear them all the time! Public leggings (those worn out of your house) need to be opaque and in good condition, with no pills or stretched-out knees.
Aside from a long tunic top or an oversized button down shirt, leggings can be worn with a long cardigan or long blazer as a layering piece. Sweater dresses are great with leggings. Try capri-length leggings with a flippy skirt, or a dress that you held over from your summer wardrobe. Slip leggings into tall boots, or wear them with booties or oxford style lace-up shoes. Aim to have your capri-length leggings reach close to your ankle, so you are not visually chopping off your legs (check out our post on how to wear ankle boots with pants).
Winterize Your Legs With Tights
Opaque tights are a staple in my fall and winter outfits. They are warm and offer coverage without adding bulk. Basic black tights are a great option for feeling more weather-protected when wearing skirts or dresses. They can ground your outfit, and they look perfect with most styles of boots, heels and flats. Coloured tights can be a strategic way to add some variety to your outfits. Tights in dark neutrals like grey, burgundy, navy, and brown can add visual interest without looking costume-y. These basic colours are also easier to pair with your footwear than bold, bright tights. Reversible tights are a great innovation. They are double thick, a different colour on each side and can be as cozy as sweatpants when you are facing freezing temperatures. Brilliant!
Winterize Your Legs With Sheers
Pantyhose are forging a comeback. They make your legs look smooth and even-toned. Black translucent hose can add modern appeal to your dresses and skirts. Black sheers are a little more subtle than black opaque tights. They are an easy option for evening looks, but they can be worn with a playful, daytime skirt as well. Nude-for-you nylons can be a little trickier to wear in a stylish way. They certainly even your skin tone and provide a little warmth for the cooler seasons. Kate Middleton wears pantyhose with skirts on a regular basis, and she is getting rave reviews for her royal style. A few words of caution if you are venturing into nude-for-you nylons:
- You get what you pay for. Don’t expect the pantyhose you buy on clearance at a convenience store to look natural. Pay a little more money and you will get hose that is less likely to run in the first hour of wear, will have a better selection of flesh tones, and won’t bag out at the knees or sag at the ankles.
- Pick your nude-for-you shade carefully. You don’t want your legs to look weirdly tanned while the rest of you isn’t. The best way to choose the colour of your panty hose is to match them to the colour of your hand. Until you know what colour works best for you, stick your hand inside those little sample pieces of nylon that are hanging on the rack. If the store you are in doesn’t have them, go somewhere else.
- Find ones that are as sheer as possible. Nylons that are too thick will look like strange skin leggings. If they are too shiny, they look like part of a costume. Alternatively, sheers that are too matte look like support hose. You want them to look as if they are not even there.
- Do not wear footwear that exposes the toe seam. Enough said.
Hosiery is measured in denier, a number that refers to the weight of the yarn used to make the product. The thicker and more opaque the hose, the higher the denier. The thinnest sheer pantyhose will be labelled 10 Denier or less. Most common opaque tights will have a denier of at least 40. Thick, winter-friendly, opaque tights that don’t show your knees through them when you sit will be 70 Denier and higher.
There are many options for keeping your exposed legs warm through the fall and winter. Try out something new. Work a new thickness of hosiery into your rotation of winter outfits. You might be surprized at how much you enjoy the variety that leggings, tights and sheers can offer.
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