Patterned tights: just how flattering are they? And which patterns are the best ones to buy? As the owner of a pair of what I’d call “okay” legs (they certainly won’t rival Blake Lively’s, but with the right hosiery and heels, they look presentable with a short skirt), I thought it would be interesting to compare several pairs and find out what flatters a pair of average legs the most.

Over the last 12 months I’ve gathered together a bit of a collection of patterned tights and have been wearing them on the blog with various outfits, as seen below (yes I seem to have a thing for black and pink…?!)

So using the tights that I already own, I’ve simply photographed them all with me wearing a neutral dress and heels to see how the various patterns compare. I have them in other colours too, but I stuck to black for the purposes of this experiment. Read on for my scientific analysis* of what the different patterns do for my legs – and see which pair I crowned the overall winner at the end.

*it wasn’t scientific at all, but I think you already knew that…!

Fishnets / swirly dots

1. Standard fishnets (similar), 2. Swirling dot fishnets (similar, sort of a reverse of mine)

Starting with the classic patterned tights: fishnets. I have to admit, I haven’t worn fishnets in a very long time. They were very popular in the 90s and 00s, and although they haven’t gone completely out of style, they have been replaced by the fancier patterns of recent years. They do the same job as sheers but are infinitely more flattering – you get that dark outline but your legs don’t go that unflattering flat greyish colour.

The ones on the right – the swirling dots – are much more flattering again, as my less-than-perfect knees have been effectively hidden by the pattern. I haven’t got those gorgeous “triangle” knees as I call them, and my calves aren’t the slimmest, but the way the dots swirl round and down give the impression my legs are much more shapely than they actually are.

Crochet pattern herringbone stripes

3. Crochet pattern fishnets (I love these ones), 4. Herringbone stripes (similar)

I’ve worn these crochet pattern fishnets a few times on the blog now (here, here and here), and I’ve always considered them my favourites. You have to make sure the pattern is perfectly in place down the front of your leg when you put them on, and what I love most is that they give the illusion of a shapely kneecap if you place the pattern right on top of your knee (I missed it a bit here – the top oval shape should have been a little further down).

Even better is the herringbone stripe pattern – these work like go-faster stripes! Vertical stripes alone wouldn’t look as good; the zigzag of the herringbone breaks up the stripes and makes my legs look slimmer and more toned (they appear slightly darker than number 3).

Gipsy fan / animal print

5. Gipsy fan net (I love these ones), 6. Animal print (similar)
The final two are the boldest patterns here; starting with the fan net on the left, my legs are widened somewhat by the large pattern (it looks a bit like lots of smiling faces)! So I think I prefer to wear this bolder pattern with a longer skirt as worn with the leather midi skirt at the beginning of the post, then you get a hint of pattern rather than a whole great smack-in-the-face pattern.

The same goes for the animal print, though I think these are more flattering than the fan net. They actually make my legs look flatter (i.e. less three-dimensional) with more of a dark outline. I haven’t actually worn these out before – they were a freebie from a blogger event and I didn’t think they did my legs any favours. But now having seen them in the photos with an objective eye and in comparison to the other tights, I think I may just venture out in them. 

So that’s my tights put to the test and compared – which pattern is the winner? Well you may have a totally different opinion to me (which is fine!), but my preference for the tights that flatter my average legs the most is…

The swirling dot fishnets!

As I said they’re my choice for most flattering – the way the dots go down and round like a helter skelter seems to slim and shape my legs at the same time. But I think they’re all fun and I still want to wear them all, plus it’s great to have lots of choice for different outfits.

I’d love to know what you think: do you agree with my choice? Do you have a favourite pattern, and do you think (honestly) that they’re the most flattering? It will be interesting to hear your opinions…!

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