Good news! Sheer black tights are back.
Fashion epiphanies are sometimes a matter of noticing the smallest, almost imperceptible things that can end up making you feel incredibly smug.
This winter, it’s the tiny yet game-changing matter of the right tights. Forget opaques. Dismiss bare legs. Believe it or not, sheer black tights are back for the first time since the Eighties.
Now, if anyone had told me last year that I’d ever find the slightest desire to wear sheer black tights again, I would have scoffed at them. Never! Not me! I’d had sheer hosiery so firmly categorised as old-fashioned, frumpy and generally unnecessary to life that it was just inconceivable.
Last winter, I remember waiting in a smart Paris hotel lobby while a cocktail party was going on and feeling supercilious to observe that the gathered Frenchwomen — and I am speaking of businesswomen of a certain age — were all wearing sheer black tights and court shoes.
What an old, backdated, conservative French custom, I thought. Something we advanced British left behind around the time of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love video — which would be 1986.
Now I’m eating my words. The subliminal comeback for black sheers started on the catwalks in March, most noticeably at Hedi Slimane’s swansong collection for Yves Saint Laurent.
You’ve guessed it: the inspiration was all things Eighties —velvet pelmet minis, giant lame shoulders, puffball skirts.
Frankly, the models were so thin they were painful to look at and the whole thing was so shockingly extreme it was hard to imagine it having any real-world impact.
But there has been one: Slimane’s girls wore black 15-denier tights and since then it’s become a trend on the catwalks and among the fashion crowd.
Once you’ve adjusted your eye, the great thing about this look is that it’s obviously the cheapest fashion revolution of the year: a new look available in every supermarket and department store in the land. Also, it’s ageless.
While young, leggy girls are switching to sheers as a novelty, the rest of us have a perfect entitlement to them, too. Good legs are a lifelong blessing, if you happen to have them and they never look better dressed than in sheer black hosiery. Fifty, 60, 70 — go ahead, be enviable!
15 denier tights:The rules
As soon as there’s the slightest snag, bin them — you just look unkempt otherwise.
Sheer is good, shine is not. We don’t have to go back to the Eighties. Keep it matt — it looks much more sophisticated.
Resist patterns, whether seams up the back or polka dots. Keep it simple.
NEVER be tempted to go down a size. There’s nothing less flattering, or uncomfortable, than tights that don’t fit.
Even those of us with non-racehorse limbs can get into it. For me, the new black sheer option solved all my dilemmas about what to wear with my favourite black midi skirt and has given new life to a mid-calf cocktail dress I haven’t worn for years.
Opaques looked too drab and depressing with them. Fishnets felt too risky. A semi-transparent coating of black tights does the trick beautifully. As for where to buy them, there are options on every corner.
If you’re the type who can’t wear sheer tights without seeming to encounter every nail or splinter in the vicinity, it’s probably wise not to splash your cash on the upper end of the market.
But there’s no denying that if you spend more, you get smoother, silkier tights that — in my experience — last longer than less expensive brands.
For some inexplicable reason, when it comes to high-end hosiery, the German-speaking countries have cornered the market with Wolford (Austrian), Falke (German) and Fogal (Swiss) among the best.
Try Wolford’s super soft Luxe 9 (£17, wolfordshop.co.uk), Falke’s Lunelle 8 denier, which come in six sizes (£16, falke.com), or Fogal’s super soft Catwalk 10 denier (£25.50, fogalworld.com).
When it comes to the High Street, M&S offers every variation at competitive prices.
With so many options, you’ll find one to suit — it’s an easy, sophisticated solution for what to wear this winter. Great for parties, nice for everyday.
A new pair of tights have been released which are said to relieve stress and anxiety, alleviate PMS, diminish blemishes and reduce cellulite - but is it all too good to be true?
Beauty Tights are the newest product from a German legwear company called Item M6, and while there's no scientific evidence that they work, a Vogue editor insists she felt a difference when wearing them.
The tights have ceramic crystals melted into the stretchy yarn. According to the brand they turn body warmth into infrared radiation; the same principle used in infrared saunas that’s said to heal and detoxify.
It doesn’t stop there though. The tights are also made from compression fabric, you know, the type hailed by fitness fanatics and frequent fliers for combating fatigue and swelling.
The company behind the tights says they fit so precisely that they stimulate an acupressure point called the spleen 6 meridian. That's an area said to boost energy, ease digestive concerns, treat insomnia and even alleviate symptoms of PMS. Apparently they tackle fatty deposits too.
But so far, none of the tights' effects have been scientifically proven.
However Vogue editor Eviana Hartman said: “I could have sworn my skin felt softer afterward. The tourniquet effect was pleasant—calming, even. As for the results of all that spleen meridian stimulation, it’s hard to say. But I was mostly happy and productive during that fortnight, and after wearing them on a six-hour JFK-to-LAX flight, I noticed a conspicuous absence of jet lag."
As spirituality and wellness becomes more mainstream the use of crystals is escalating; even beauty brand Starskin has combined sheet masks with diamond, tourmaline and emerald to brighten and illuminate the skin.
But what’s interesting here is that these new age fans are a far cry from the clichéd hippies you may once have associate with crystal healing.
Buy yours here
Ivania Carpio showed her Love Aesthetics blog followers how to do it and more YouTube tutorials have been surfacing since.
And with celebs including The X Factor’s Louisa Johnson, model Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian fans of see-through fashion, this is a great way you can get their look on a budget.
For as little as £4 – and with our DIY tips here – you can re-vamp your wardrobe with variety of patterns. Here, model Sabine shows how to wear a tights top.
Nude polka dot, £5, Prettypolly.co.uk; bra, £12.99, New Look
Fishnet, £6, Next; bralet, £32, Boux Avenue
Black polka dot, £7.99, Gipsy at UKtights.com; bralet, £12.99, New Look
Blue, £4.50, Pretty Legs at UKtights.com; bra, £14.99, New Look
Grey, £7.99, Charnos at Sockshop.co.uk
Glittery, £6, River Island; bra, £20, Boux Avenue
Pink, £5.99, Jonathan Aston at UKtights.com; bralet, £9.99, New Look
Lacy, £4, Peacocks; bra, £3, Primark; jeans in all, £12.99, New Look