Spice Up Your Wardrobe With Patterned Tights

Pair patterned tights
Pair patterned tights with a simple, clean-lined dress for a sophisticated look.

If you’re looking for a way to add a little excitement 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 lace, 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 on 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 an effortless 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 essential 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 tights.  You look refined, but the tights give you that little oomph!

Check out Carol Middleton wearing black patterned tights. 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 gray, or khaki. Wear one tone on tone with your outfit for a luxurious, subtle look. A monochromatic outfit will also make your 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 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 sheerer 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 Subtle Pattern

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 make your legs look heavy.

7. Pinstripes Lengthen

Pinstripes are traditional and will tone things down. They also have the 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 hose peeking through, and even that is pretty sexy.

9. Don’t Wear Fishnets to Work

Fishnet stockings are sexy 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 just create enough excitement to make someone take a quick second look, and then you know you’ve got it right. A touch of drama is all you need to spice up your wardrobe and look sexy at 40, 50, and beyond.


Join the Conversation

3 thoughts on “Spice Up Your Wardrobe With Patterned Tights

  1. I wear some patterned tights in light cream colors. My hair is blonde and this seems to balance out my outfits. You have some great tips here. Although I think Sally@Already Pretty wears colored tights in a brilliant way.

  2. Hi Marilyn, This is a common question and I’d suggest you don’t wear pantyhose strappy sandals. A much better choice would be a pump and even a “peep toe” pump or slingback shoe will work. When you have sandals and pantyhose it is a recipe for frumpy!
    Have fun looking Fab!!!

  3. I’m going to London and will be dressing more formally to go to the theater and the weather will be cool (about 50 degrees) my dress is short, about 1-1/2-2 inches above my knee and my legs have some visible marks. I’m planning to wear pantyhose to cover or hide this, but my shoes are silver sandles w/back strap and 2″ heel. Will this work? I’m early 60’s so I don’t want to look dated or frumpy.

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