Gracey On: Tights

By Gracey, Already Pretty Contributor

The other day my friend Alex asked me how to wear tights.  I laughed at her because I thought she was kidding.  And because I’m mean.  However, once I realized she was serious I wanted to help.  I mean, how horrible is it that the poor woman freezes all winter because she simply doesn’t understand the nature of The Tights?  *shudder* Happily for Alex, and for you, Dearest Reader Friends, I’ve been on Team Tights for ages now and The Tights and I?  We’re practically besties.

So, how do you wear tights?  You can wear tights four different ways: for high contrast, for low contrast, for no contrast and over your face to illegally procure diapers for your adorable, illegally procured baby.  No.  Wait.  No, those are panty hose.  Do not try that with tights, you will run into stuff and, seriously, it’s illegal.  But, the other three ways to wear tights are totally valid (and legal).

High Contrast

Gracey the Giant in high-contrast tights outfits.

High contrast tights-wearing results when there is a high contrast between the color of the tights and the skirt or dress worn with them.  Think of it as adding a pop of color to an outfit, with your legs.  It can be used to great effect for cold weather color-blocking and for confusing the heck out of your co-workers.

Warning: high contrast tights-wearing, while fun, can be a bit stumpifying.  But, you can combat the shortening effect by keeping your hems above the knee and/or having a low contrast between your tights and your shoes.

Low Contrast

Gracey the Giant in low-contrast tights outfits.

Low contrast tights-wearing results when there is a low contrast between the color of the tights and the color of the skirt or dress worn with them.  Low contrast tights-wearing is great with multicolored prints and with neutrals.

Warning: Trying to decide which color in your print or whether to match your skirt or your top can be confusing and make you want to go back to bed.  But, remember, it’s not that deep.  Just pick a color, any color, and it’ll probably work out just fine.

No Contrast

Gracey the Giant in no-contrast tights outfits.

No contrast tights-wearing results when, yep, you guessed it, there is no contrast between the color of the tights and the color of the skirt or dress worn with them.  If you’re into the monochromatic look, no contrast tights-wearing is for you.

Warning: no contrast tights-wearing is probably the most “flattering” and is the easiest to master but it can feel a bit dull.  You can avoid a snooze-fest of a look with a contrasting shoe or jacket and/or a variety of textures.


I know that tights can be hard to find when you’re tall.  Or plus-sized.  Or tall and plus-sized.  After years of trial and error, here are the brands I’ve found work best on my tall-and-plus-sized body.

Spanx – I buy a new pair of jet black Spanx every year during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and wear them all winter long.  They are thick, they are dark, and the Tight End Tights help you suck it in on the days you just don’t feel like doing it yourself.

Hue – For colored tights, Hue is my go-to brand.  They have great colors, they tend to be nicely opaque and they fit me well (I wear the size 4).

Target – For inexpensive tights, I love Target.  I buy the Merona brand, in 1X-2X, and while they do not last as long as the Spanx or Hue brands, but they’re usually good for a season and they’re less than $10 a pop so it all works out.  I also like the Assets brand tights from Target.  They’re from the same company that makes Spanx, but at a lower price point and are good for black and black patterned tights, but no colors.

And there you have it.  Absolutely everything I know about tights.



_ _ _ _ _

Already Pretty contributor Gracey hails  from Fashion for Giants. She’s essentially your average blogger, except that she’s taller than average (six foot) and bigger than average (size 14). She also likes to think that she’s more amusing than average, but that could just be vanity. In addition to being tall and plus-sized (and possibly hilarious), she’s also a thrift store shopper, a vintage lover, an Oregonian, and a bike commuter.

Likes: Gracey likes to shop, to blog, and to terrify her co-workers with brightly colored outfits.

Dislikes: Robot uprisings, too-short skirts, and leggings as pants.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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28 Responses to “Gracey On: Tights”

  1. Lurdes

    Oh my, so THAT is the difference between tights and panty hose. The troubles of non native English speakers… And such a funny way to clarify the matter. Thank you, Gracie.
    Love your blog, by the way

  2. Lauren

    I’m a high contrast gal myself, but I thought it’s worth mentioning for the tight phobic amongst us – a) hold ups (good quality ones) can remove the rolling down or sausage tummy look (though they may have rolling down issues of their own!) and b) that nude fishnets can offer a hint more warmth without feeling as much like you’re wearing tights. A tip shamelessly nicked off the lovely Amber of 🙂

  3. Hoosiermama

    Huh. If you’re 6 feet tall, doesn’t being a size 14 make you normal, rather than a plus size? Just asking. Enjoyed this piece about tights and diaper theft. My favorite look for tights: high contrast, with shoes that match the tights.

    • Grint

      That’s what I was wondering. Also, the average woman in the US is a size 14, so that’s exactly average, rather than above.

  4. Dee

    Does anyone know which brands are best for not being too tight at the waist? I don’t want control tops and I am around 185 lbs but not really tall. I found a pair I like — really comfy — but there is no tag, so I don’t know what brand they are!(I bought them last winter.) Maybe HUE? Gracey, do you have any suggestions?

    • Gracey the Giant

      HUE, in my opinion are comfortable without being binding/controlling. I also really do like the Target tights; they don’t squish my tummy at all.

    • Robin

      I’m smaller than you are but have strong feelings about overly tight waists.

      My most reliable finds: 1) Pricey, higher-end Commando tights, whose waistbands are tall and stretchy like those in maternity pants (though much thinner). 2) The cheap, warm fleece-lined tights from Nordstrom Rack (they’re kind of brand-less and have their own display), which are soft and stretchy all the way up and have dual seams up the rear for more give overall.

      I’ve also had some luck with major brands if they have covered waistbands, because those seem to be a stretchier type of elastic and the extra fabric keeps it from digging in. But the above are my preferred brands.

    • Annabeth

      The best fix for this, honestly, is to buy a size up. Most tights are so stretchy that a size up will still fit you without bagging or drooping, and you’ll avoid that indentation at the waist.

      • SistyCatlee

        And infinity. I found that two, three, four sizes up made very little difference in length,, but all the difference in width/waist comfort.

    • Krysta

      I’m about 180-190ish and 5′, and the XL from Target are the ones I’ve found fit me the best. I was a bit surprised to see Gracey saying that they fit her well, because they’re one of the few tights that don’t feel insanely long on me, and I’m on the opposite end of the height spectrum from her! I always get some sagging at the knees and ankles because manufacturers just don’t make tights for my height (at least, not adult ones and kids brands wouldn’t go up to my weight). The Merona brand ones don’t sag nearly as much as, say, L’eggs.

  5. Ness

    Love tights! Nordstrom Rack has some good brands, too. Also if you need warm tights, the Urban Outfitters fleece-lined tights and the Gap ultra hot ones are super warm and soft and lovely.

  6. Mimi

    I want to give a shout out to We Love Colors, for both straight sized and plus sized tights in an array of colors. Good also if you are tall, I’m 5’6″ and these come practically up to my armpits.

  7. Madalie

    You put them on one leg at a time, and then you’re wearing tights. Done.

  8. Bella Q

    Not only a great “Tights for Dummies” post, funny as hell. Made for a bright and smile laden reading. T’anks, Gracie!

  9. Shybiker

    Great advice, Gracey. Not only is it accurate, it’s entertaining. Your humor is terrific. I agree that Hue and Target are the brands to choose; you can’t beat their selection and prices.

  10. whitney

    Another vote for We Love Colors (! I’ve ordered tights from them for years and they hold up very well. Also, they’re not kidding about the color part.

    • Peggy

      Wear patterned tights with EVERYTHING! I have pair of multi-coloured geometric tights that I wear with a pink and white polka dotted dress. They look amazing!

  11. Kathleen

    I have a 35 1/2″ inseam and it’s ridiculously hard to find tights that work. I love, love, love Assets, but I wish they came in colors other than brown and black. I have a pair from Long Tall Sally, but the quality isn’t great and again, no color choice. I haven’t tried Hue, but a quick peek at shows me a “tall” option, so yay!

  12. val

    The absolute best tights I have found as a woman of average height and weight are the No-Nonsense opaque tights. They fit right, they don’t sag in the crotch, they have over 20 colors, some bright, some matte and muted, but best of all you can order them from No-Nonsense’s website for about $6.50 a pair. They wash and dry well, and they are very durable. I’ve found them in limited colors at Wal-Mart for $6, but the color choices are limited. I had given up on wearing tights until I found these.

  13. Thursday

    I cannot recommend the Dublin opaques from Cette enough for taller and plus sized ladies – and I have a feeling not so plus sized ladies would also benefit. Comfy, non-binding, warm and last exceptionally well. And they come in actual colours other than black. Rich, lovely colours, although I think they have replaced their perfect shade of teal with a bright aqua shade, which is horrible as my teal pair are almost worn out!

  14. Caryl

    I love these looks, and your blog is great. And, yes, you’re funny! On a second note, I agree with a couple of other comments on here: You are clearly not plus-sized. Yes, the average woman in America is a Size 14, but usually of average height (5’4″ to 5’6″). Only in this world of painfully skinny and unhealthy models would someone over 6 feet tall and a Size 14 be considered plus size. You sound – and look – healthy to me.