They tested 16 pairs of tights, and make recommendations based on color, fit, quality, and size offerings.
I really, really don’t like to talk about where I work, but I do work in legwear and accessories, here are my notes (which are completely unrelated to my place of work and their opinions):
It makes me itch just a little that the body types described don’t give hip or thigh measurements. Or inseam. You can have two people of the same height and weight with VERY different variables between toes and waist.
I don’t know dress sizes that well, but I do know that there is a tights fit break right around 12/14, depending on inseam. I know they’re not testing for plus sizes, but the best tights fit into plus either while still being one size or, while remaining within their standard size range.
They mention Foot Traffic’s cotton tights, which are one of the more problematic tights I’ve encountered. I like them, but I’m a very tiny human with comparatively large feet. They have no formed heel, so narrow and smaller feet get lost in this tube of cotton, they are prone to defects, with inseam varying between pairs, and the “underwear style” elastic waistband is the least kind when stretched to max. They also do not hold up over time.
I do like that they noted this:
No two bodies are alike, and even if a pair of tights fits most people, there will always be a few people for whom they don’t work, through no fault of their own. We can’t expect a pair of tights to fit everyone, but we do want it to fit the vast majority of people.
Durable tights shouldn’t rip, tear, snag, pull, pill, or do any of the other annoying things that make a pair look trashy. Big caveat: No pair of tights will survive forever, and even the best might, in a stressful situation, rip. But they need to survive day-to-day usage, not ripping or pilling because they’re rubbing against leather boots or zippers or tearing because your fingernails were a fraction too long when you put them on.
Here, from my experience, are two styles of tights that I see more people enjoy for comfort and fit than anyone else:
If you want shapewear and support then Silkies are the bomb. They have about a million colours in their basic tight, AND they acknowledge the transition between stretchy leg and supportive panty with a super cute floral insert. However, they offer no “sheer to waist” (where there’s no knit difference between leg and panty) options, so folks who prefer that are out of luck.
For fashion tights and a good solid-to-waistline option, then B.Ella tights (which Sock Dreams seems to have the best, or only good selection of) are your aim. The Erika have the only instance of cotton microfiber I’ve seen, come in a bunch of colours and four sizes. They’ve got no heel (like the problematic Foot Traffic, above), but are better at wrapping around small or narrow feet.Their con is price and that their nice XL size is not available in most styles.
A word of warning regarding fleece-lined tights: I can tell you now that if you buy a fleece lined tight or legging, you have a 10%-30% chance of a structural seam blowing out or a hole forming quickly in the crotch area. It clearly has something to do with both how the fabric acts when sewn and that fleece lined options blew up in the last year, pushing manufacturers to make styles with even less testing than normal. Toe seams and any double seams in the rear are the most vulnerable. Any decent company will take a true defect back, so try that shit on ASAP so they don’t think it’s a result of long-term wear (time makes defects and true wear hard to discern). Even with the inherent failures, if you are not prone to crotch rot and need warmth, fleece lined styles are totally amazing and cozy. They’re also a great option under slacks and jeans for extra warmth (like thicker long johns).
Click on to read about my continuing endeavors into learning how to dress like a lady.
Yeah lady, you be so ladylike! Man, I was stoked to see you getting the open-work ones, because they layer so good.
What garter belt (if any) do you use? …
I just got my first garter belt last month, actually! The brand name isn’t attached to it, so I have no idea who made it, sorry :-/ But I loooooooooooove it. Even though it’s being worn for functional reasons (keepin’ mah tights up), I can’t help but feel like a secret sex vixen with them on. So, y’know, double bonus.
Normally, I used to only buy straight up tights-tights (as in, ‘one piece of fabric, leggings attached to panties’), not Over The Knee tights (is there a shorter word for that? Aside from OTK, I mean), but oh my goodness it turns out my vag cannot handle the lack of air circulation that comes from wearing tights over underwear and 2011 was kind of a Yeast Infection-apalooza because of my insistence on having pretty colored legs.
To circumvent this dilemma, I cut out the crotch of all my tights that have that special little insert sewn in and all future tights acquisitions are now just OTKs, held up with my pretty black lacy garter belt.
Eh, it’s different when it’s art? But then I shoot product pictures of a lot of lady parts, so I am getting desensitised and my personal context is different.
Garterbelts are the BEST. I have one of these lacy things for girl drag and one of these for normal times. Though I use these double grip clips paired with boy shorts a lot because it’s just less gear.
"Tights", on this side of the pond, mean the things that go from toe to waist. What you’re digging currently are "stockings" which just means "thin thigh highs and over the knees (OTKs)". For thicker, socky stuff, "over the knee/OTK socks" or "thigh high socks" tend to be the terms. I made a diagram for work that’s on our sizing FAQ page.
For folks who work in the industry, it can get confusing when somebody is talking about “tights” but they aren’t talking about something with a crotch. Which, come to think of it, is what defines tights. Unless they’re crotchless tights. Which. I guess is like the “toeless toe socks" we sell.