If you’re looking for a way to add a little excitment to your 40+ wardrobe then patterned tights are a classy way to do that. These days you’ll find an endless array of tights to choose from including: lacy, dotted, pinstriped, swirly, patterned and colored.
Even though you may think they look fabulous on the runway, patterned tights can feel a little scary to try if you’ve never worn them before. They’re a pretty powerful accessory.
So how do you wear them without looking like a midlife cougar or a clown?
I have some helpful guidelines for how to wear patterned tights.
1. Let Your Patterned Tights Have Spotlight
Patterned tights are going to attract attention, no question so the easiest, most conservative way to wear them is to pair them with a very simple dress or skirt in a solid color so they are the star. (Creative types may choose to pair patterned tights with a patterned outfit but this takes more skill to get it right)
It’s also important to balance the sexiness of the tights with the sexiness of the outfit. That’s why something conservative like a pencil skirt, tunic or sheath dress looks so classy with patterned hose. You look refined but the tights give you that little oomph! It’s not overboard.
Did you see Carol Middleton wearing black patterned tights recently? She looked fab!
2. Choose Dark Neutrals
You can’t go wrong with low-key colored tights in black (always looks great), dark brown, deep navy blue, charcoal grey, or khaki. Wear one tone on tone with your outfit for a rich, subtle look. A monochromatic look will also make you legs look longer and you appear taller and slimmer.
3. Don’t Fall for Brights
There have been a lot of bright colored tights but it’s my feeling that after 40 they really look too primary school to be chic. Sure, there’s always the odd dramatic fashionista over 40 who makes it part of her style , but in general I’d say stay away. The same with white and flesh colored patterned tights. They’re quite blinding and will make your legs look big and chunky.
4. Opt for Opaque Patterned Tights
The more opaque the tight, the quieter and classier the look. The more sheer the tight, the sexier and more aggressive the look. Especially at work, you want to avoid anything too sheer and flimsy.
5. Avoid Shine
Shiny patterned tights look heavy and costume-like. If you’ve been thinking about wearing patterned tights, then choose one more on the opaque side with a matte finish to get the look right.
6. Pick a Pattern That Is Subtle
With so much patterned hosiery for women out there, which patterns are best? Small repeating patterns in a geometric print work well. So do small dots or a tiny floral. The more compact the print the more discreet and slimming the look. Large, bold patterns are loud and makes your legs look heavy.
7. Pinstripes Lengthen
Pinstripes are traditional and will tone things down. They also have the added bonus of lengthening your legs because they create a vertical line from top to bottom. Don’t ever buy patterned hose with horizontal lines. These are just not flattering on any woman.
8. Wear With Boots
You can wear patterned stockings with shoes or booties. It’s best if they are the same color as your stockings. If you are shy about exposing so much leg, throw on a tall boot. You’ll still see a bit of the stocking peeking through and even that is pretty sexy.
9. Don’t Wear Fishnets to Work
Fishnet stockings are one of the sexiest of patterned tights. If you want to wear these choose black or nude. In most business environments they would be too suggestive to wear so reserve them for after hours.
When patterned tights are a big distraction because they are too sleazy or too kooky, you’ve got the look wrong. But when they when they just create enough excitement to make someone take a quick second look, then you know you’ve got it right. A touch of excitment is all you need to spice up your wardrobe and look sexy at 40, 50 and beyond.