Ask a Stylist: 3 Ways to Make Tights Look Polished


In theory, tights are not complicated. Throw them on under a dress or skirt, and you’ve winterised your outfit. But in practise, styling them can get murky. What colour tights do you pair with which colour dress? Sheer or opaque? Black or gray? And how do you avoid looking like a schoolgirl (or schoolmarm)?
Enter Audrey, an MM stylist who knows the ropes. “I’m from Cleveland, where going bare-legged is definitely not an option in the winter,” she said.“In New York, I wear them at least once or twice a week in the colder months.” Below, she explains how three different pairs of tights can work for three different outfits—and when they can’t.
What makes this outfit work? “This is a power look. The black jardigan punches up the houndstooth print, and the semi-opaque tights add a formal, polished finish. Wearing shoes in the same colour as the stockings has a lengthening effect, because it doesn’t break up the line of your leg.”
Styling tip: “I’m all for experimenting with subtle prints, but when you’re wearing a patterned dress, definitely stick to solid tights.”

Look 2: Opaque Graphite Tights

Audrey wears the Emily dress, the coiled leather belt, and graphite tights.
What makes this outfit work? “This combination is a bit unexpected—exactly why I love it! Opaque gray tights can be surprisingly tricky to match with other colors, but the deep forest shade of the Emily dress works well because they’re both rich, dark hues. The belt adds definition at the waist and grounds the pairing nicely.”
Styling tip: “Gray tights are a fun alternative to basic black, but I’d steer clear of a gray-on-gray look. As a general rule, pair gray tights with non-gray dresses.”

Look 3: Sheer Black Tights

Audrey wears the Nisa dress and sheer black tights.

What makes this outfit work? “This look is clean, chic, and very professional. Sheer black tights, especially when combined with a black belt, make the color of the Nisa dress pop and bring out the quality of the fabric—even though it’s a quiet, neutral hue.”
Styling tip: “I wouldn’t recommend wearing shoes that are a lighter color than your tights. It’s hard to pull off—and usually not office-appropriate.”

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