Tights or stockings ?04:50:00
Hidden from view they may be, but surely there’s no mistaking the type of woman who chooses stockings over tights?
Indeed, a piece in style bible Vogue recently said: ‘A woman’s attitude towards tights is the ultimate personality litmus test.’
There’s more choice in the shops than ever before, but is it really so easy to tell who wears what? We asked five women to reveal their secrets.
They're my anti-ageing weapon
Lindy Gallagher, 54, runs an estate agency with her partner Simon, 36, in Cirencester, Glos
Lindy Gallagher, 54, runs an estate agency with her partner Simon, 36, in Cirencester, Glos. Lindy says:
I do a lot of public speaking and there’s something that’s empowering about standing before a room full of people and being the only one who knows I’m wearing stockings.
They remind me I’m a woman in what is still predominantly a man’s world. That’s certainly a great confidence boost. About three times a year, I spend £220 on a set of matching bra, knickers and suspenders.They feel like a secret indulgence — other women in their 50s might choose Botox, but my anti-ageing weapon is beautiful underwear and sexy stockings.
I’ve been wearing them since I was 16, hidden beneath my ugly, green school uniform. It felt like a secret act of rebellion.
My partner doesn’t have a big thing about stockings, though he does compliment me on how I look.
I’m a size 8 to 10 and, if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t wear stockings if I was overweight.
They’re a secret for my husband
Sunita Andrea, 33, works in the financial services industry and is married to Danny, 49, who runs a chain of coffee shops. The couple have a ten-month-old son, Hari, and live in Surrey
Sunita Andrea, 33, works in the financial services industry and is married to Danny, 49, who runs a chain of coffee shops. The couple have a ten-month-old son, Hari, and live in Surrey. Sunita says:
I’ve worn stockings for all occasions over the past five years, since discovering how much more comfortable they are than tights — and how much sexier I feel in them.
A lot of my friends live in trousers and jeans, but I love skirts, dresses and heels — and my legs are my best feature.
My husband is the only person who sees my stockings, and I like it that way: they’re our little secret. And, of course, he loves stockings and suspenders — what man doesn’t?
I also think they’re a lot more hygienic.
The lingerie department is one of my favourite places in any department store and I spend up to £20 on each pair of stockings — about £160 a year.
I gave birth to my son last April and knew that I was finally back to my old self when, just a few weeks later, I pulled on my favourite Jane Norman dress, Kurt Geiger heels and, of course, Wolford stockings.
I went out to a restaurant feeling like the sexy woman I’d been before pregnancy.
Suspenders are a pain
Tessa Broadhead, 48, lives in Hampshire with her partner and their four children, aged from 23 to 12. She wears tights regularly but can count on one hand the number of times she has worn suspenders
Tessa Broadhead, 48, lives in Hampshire with her partner and their four children, aged from 23 to 12. Tessa says:
I defy anyone who sees me in a pair of tights, with sexy underwear, to tell me I don’t look attractive. The spandex in them also flattens my stomach and bottom whereas stockings and hold-ups don’t have that capacity.
Worse still, because stockings don’t go all the way up to the waist, unless you’re stick thin, your thighs are likely to spill over the top.
Falke and Aristoc are my favourite brands and I think high sheen gloss tights, in a 15 or 20 denier, look just beautiful. In the depths of winter, I go for 60-denier opaque — stockings just wouldn’t keep the cold out.
I have three drawers filled with tights — patterned, ribbed, wool — in just about every other colour under the sun. They cost around £20 a pair and I must spend hundreds on them each year. I always carry spares in my bag in case the ones I’m wearing ladder.
I’ve always worn tights — at boarding school we wore knickers over the top to keep them up — and can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve put stockings on. I found the feel of the suspenders irritating.
Thankfully my partner never asks me to wear them — he tells me I look good whatever I’ve got on.
Tights hold in all the right places
Michelle Jackson, 46, is a receptionist from South-West London. She has a 16-year-old daughter and a long-term boyfriend, John, a manager in international banking
Michelle Jackson, 46, is a receptionist from South-West London. She has a 16-year-old daughter and a long-term boyfriend, John, a manager in international banking. Michelle says:
I love tights and have only worn stockings once in my life, ten years ago when John and I were living in Perth, Australia.
We chose them, plus a suspender belt, while out shopping together and I was happy to put a smile on his face.
But the belt felt so bulky around my waist and, on the short walk to the restaurant that night, one of the stockings unclipped and hung loose for the rest of the evening.
Our meal was ruined because I was feeling so uncomfortable.
John has never asked me to wear stockings since, though he buys me lovely lingerie from Boux Avenue and Victoria’s Secret.
I tend to wear flesh- coloured tights from Tesco or Sainsbury’s at work and black, or nearly black, ones from Boots or M&S when I go out, so I don’t spend a fortune on hosiery.
To be honest, I’m surprised any woman prefers stockings — I can’t remember the last time a friend wore them.
But tights don’t have the same sex appeal for men, and I can see why they find stockings more appealing.
Under clothes, however, a sturdy pair of tights will pull you in at all the right places —and what woman doesn’t appreciate that?
Tights are far more flattering
Sharon Gage, 48, is a self-employed conference organiser. She lives with her partner, Paul, 47, a furniture maker, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Sharon Gage, 48, is a self-employed conference organiser. She lives with her partner, Paul, 47, a furniture maker, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Sharon says:
I love wearing bodycon dresses that are so clingy the only thing to wear with them is a pair of smoothing shaper tights.
The tops of stockings and suspenders would be visible through the tight-fitting material, which would look dreadful.
I buy my tights at M&S, for £10 a pair, and they come with a reinforced section around the waist, bottom and thighs, and really hold me in.
I’m a size 8 to 10, but even so, without that extra support, I’d be self-conscious about my tummy.
Rather than finding them a turn-off, my other half loves my tights and can see how flattering they are. Also, I’d worry about stockings falling down.
Some of my friends only wear stockings — they feel they’re ‘more breathable’ — but shaper tights aren’t like control pants, which I once had to nip to the loo to take off partway through a New Year dinner because they were digging in so painfully.
I love nearly black because they’re sheer and sexy, but I also have thick, opaque tights for when it’s really cold outside. And tights can last for years — unlike flimsy stockings.
They make my uniform feminine
Jennie Wright, 45, a nurse, lives with her fiance, Lennard, 54, in South-East London. Jennie says:
I have to wear a uniform for work, and it’s not the most flattering outfit, so I compensate by putting on a pair of pretty stockings underneath. They make me feel sexy and feminine.
The thought that no one would guess I’m wearing them as I go about my daily job, taking blood from dozens of patients, also makes me giggle.
It can also get very hot in hospitals and stockings are much cooler to wear than tights.
My fiance is delighted that I choose stockings. I shop for them at Ann Summers and TK Maxx and pay about £20 a pair.
I love all types of pretty underwear — what woman doesn’t — and have two drawers full of bras and knickers.
There was one time, about three years ago, when I was in the middle of taking blood from a male patient and started to feel my right stocking rolling slowly down my leg.
I crossed my legs to try to keep it in place, without him noticing, but then I had to stay seated until he got up to leave. I then dashed to the loo to pull it back into place.
Thankfully I’ve never had anything so embarrassing happen since.