Tights that are right

By Brigit Grant, January 31, 2013
Emilio Cavallini houndstooth tights, £15

Emilio Cavallini houndstooth tights, £15

Hands up if you’ve bought a Prada blossom skirt yet? An iridescent Alberta Feretti dress to be worn with neon- trimmed trainers? Maybe a crop? No, me neither. It’s not that I’m not interested in the 2013 fashion trends, as nothing pleases me more than the thought of spring and fewer layers.

But that’s all it is right now — a thought — as we’re more likely to be struck by a snowball than a sunbeam over the coming months and some of us don’t generate enough body heat to strip off and try on.

As my father-in-law Stanley likes to say: “I don’t have the koyach to even look”, but I do look, and while I may not be adding to my stuffed closet, out of deference to the industry I write about, I continue to boost the sale of shoes, boots and tights.

I’ve always loved tights and though I’ve dallied with stockings, hold-ups and over-the-knee socks through the years, show me a pair of Wolford Individual 20 and the contest is over.

I use to buy the luxury Austrian hand-made hosiery in Franks in Golders Green and I’ll never understand why that shop closed. Aside from their expertise in hosiery, the older shop assistants were grande dames of lingerie and could spot a bra size at 20 paces, while hoisting a strap with the gusto of an Olympian weight-lifter.

With Franks gone, my love of Wolford continues, but I now buy tights at mytights.com where they do a range of brands that is hard to find at a department store.

You don’t need me to tell you how to buy tights, but it’s easy to forget how a Jonathan Aston pattern or an accent of colour by Charnos can give a quirky spin to a mundane suit or give shoes a personality.

Mary Portas & Charnos scroll shaper tights, £14

Mary Portas & Charnos scroll shaper tights, £14

Everyone wears black to everything these days, but teaming an LBD with Aristoc mock suspender fishnets gives edge to an also-ran outfit, and that is true of so many statement tights, even the coloured woolly kind (though avoid green unless you’re in Emu fancy dress).

Just think what a stir you would cause in tights by Turkish brand Penti (penti.com), which feature a man climbing up one of the back seams, though his visibility is dependent on skirt length.

When Henry Holland put the alphabet on his House of Holland tights I bought three pairs, as a sheer 15 denier is a risky wear. I’ll never forget the time I fell over in a pair of Teflon-like Wolford Individual 20 (£25) and cried. Not because I’d shredded my knees but because of the ladders. Levante, Andrea Bucci and Charnos are among the brands that do ladder-resistant tights, and Charnos even do a line with “Queen of Shops” Mary Portas using 3D elastene. As well as tights, Portas has developed a range of hosiery sleeves, or “armery” as she calls them, to help banish bingo wings.

I’m not sure I’m ready for armery, but Falke’s Perfect Skin colour tights interest me. I’d always stayed away from natural for fear of the sausage effect (don’t ask), but their shades have been carefully created with a dermatologist to ensure every woman can find their optimal colour tights to achieve the most natural effect for their skin colour.

A sort of even complexion for legs that won’t see much sun for a while yet, in spite of what the spring clothes arriving in the shops suggest.

Last updated: 1:13pm, January 31 2013