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Different Types of Tights & When to Wear Them

Tights can be the perfect accessory to pull together an outfit, whether you’re transforming your favorite dress from summer staple to fall favorite or adding some texture under a skirt or even shorts. The best part: there are near-endless types of stylish, figure-flattering tights to round out any wardrobe. The sheer variety (pun intended) may seem overwhelming at first, but with a little help from our tights style guide, you’ll be on your way in no time.

Control Top Tights

Control top tights are perfect for lightly smoothing the tummy, butt and thighs while adding a layered look to your outfit. They come in a range of colors and styles, from opaque to subtly sheer. The key with these tights is comfort: If they’re sized right, you’ll barely know they’re there. They should hold everything in place, not make it hard to breathe.

Styling Tip: Pair control top tights with clingy or form-fitting dresses and skirts. The control top will show off your curves while giving a smooth finish.

Seamless Tights

Seamless tights are what to wear when you need them to fade into the background and let the rest of your outfit take center stage. These low-profile tights are woven in a special manufacturing process that makes the seams invisible. They’re also comfortable to wear, since there’s no seam to rub against or irritate your skin.

Styling Tip: Use sheer, seamless black tights under your favorite summery dresses to carry them forward into fall.

Support Tights

Support tights provide all-around comfort for your legs. They can help improve circulation, prevent swelling and relieve tired muscles so that, at the end of your day, your legs will feel lighter than they might have otherwise. Available in an array of looks, these tights can be a day-to-day wardrobe warrior that keeps you comfortable while adding interest to your outfits.

Styling Tip: If you’re not sure what style to choose, you can’t go wrong with semi-sheer black support tights. Theis versatile version will work with nearly any dress or skirt.

Sheer Tights

Accessorize your legs while showing a hint of skin with sheer tights. (In the world of legwear, “denier” numbers, which go from 0 to 100, tell you how thick the fabric is. Typically, sheers have a denier of less than 30.) Sheer tights come in a variety of skin tones and are usually meant to blend in and offer some smoothing, but if you’re feeling bold, fun patterns like polka dots and stripes are also an option. Sheer tights are great way to get your feet wet with sexy stockings since they can be worn with a nice dress or with some sexy lingerie.

Styling Tip: Wear a patterned pair of sheer tights with a little black dress to breathe new life into an old standby.

Opaque Tights

The opposite of sheers, opaque tights have a denier usually north of 50, making them thicker and less likely to snag or tear. This also makes them great for the winter months, when your legs need more protection from the elements. Opaque tights come in wardrobe-staple neutrals like black and navy, as well as eye-catching colors.

Styling Tip: When choosing tights, pick out one of the colors in a printed dress to really punch up its fashion quotient.

Fishnet Tights

Fishnets are as classic as they are trendy and, depending on how you style the rest of your look, can read sexy or sophisticated. Fishnet tights don’t just come in black anymore; you can find them in everything from rainbow to sparkles. For polite company, pair your fishnets with full-coverage bottoms such as skirts, cropped pants and pointy-toe pumps. In the bedroom, pair them with your favorite panties or lingerie set.

Styling Tip: Wear black fishnets under a pair of ripped jeans to give your outfit some texture and a rock ‘n’ roll edge.

Footless Tights

Many styles of tights come in footless versions, too, which can solve the problem of tights that are too long or too short for your legs. Footless tights are similar to leggings in shape but are usually thinner and meant to be worn as an undergarment rather than on their own as bottoms. Many are one-size-fits-all, not to mention available in a ton of colors and patterns.

Styling Tip: Pair footless tights with an oversized sweater and booties or heels.

The versatility of tights can’t be overstated. In so many styles, colors and textures, tights can be a fun way to spice up an outfit or really pull together a professional look. Even better: They can keep your favorite outfits going when the temperature drops. Armed with this tights style guide, you’re sure to find the perfect pair of tights to make your wardrobe winning in every season.

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