Festive Dressing: Can I wear tights with my going-out shoes?

As discussed, over on Instagram, I asked what festive style conundrums were bothering people in this party-heavy portion of the year. And one of the main concerns was whether you CAN wear tights with heeled sandals – and if so, how?!

Now I’m not a huge fan of style rules (I prefer people finding their own style that makes THEM happy), but there are a few guidelines that I personally stick to when it comes to hosiery and heels – so I thought I’d share.

ALL IMAGES: BLAIR EADIE (ON INSTAGRAM)

YOU CAN WEAR OPEN TOE SHOES WITH TIGHTS:

IMAGES: Who What Wear | Hello Darling Blog | Bat Gio

Yes! You can! In fact, this is my personal favourite.

Seventies-style platforms, such as the ones above, work brilliantly with contrast coloured opaque tights.

I LOVE Falke’s 50-denier coloured opaques. They’re matte, but have an intensity of colour that makes pattern matching easy. Great choices for alternatives to black are the Barolo (maroon), Marine (navy) and Military (khaki). They cost £19 per pair and you can buy them online here, or at selected department stores (although department stores only tend to have a limited colour choice).

IMAGES: ALL TAKEN FROM THE FALKE WEBSITE (ALL FROM THEIR 50-DENIER COLLECTION)

BRIGHT TIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A CHILDREN’S TV PRESENTER:

IMAGES: BLAIR EADIE BEE | KLEIN PHOTOGRAPHEN | MARGARET W BECHTOLD

You may have a fear that in choosing brightly coloured tights, you will look a little like a CBeebies presenter, or someone appearing in a pantomine. But honestly, don’t worry.

A good tip is to choose your colour by EITHER matching it to your shoe, OR picking it out of your outfit.

Choose the base colour of your skirt or dress, or a predominant shade within the print of that item. That way, the eye connects the two shades and the whole look is seamless.

This is why it can appear a bit jarring if you wear a dark opaque tight with a lighter shoe, because the eye can’t connect the colours anywhere and the contrast is too stark.

MATCH YOUR TIGHTS COLOUR TO YOUR SHOES:

IMAGES: STRUMPHE | FERAUD (via Flickr) | BLAIR EADIE BEE

In the vast majority of cases, matching the colour of your tights to the colour of your shoe is a great ‘rule’ to follow.

The most popular choice of tights is black – and thick, black opaque tights work best with a black, closed-toe shoe or boot (UNLESS you want to wear with a Seventies style platform sandal, which pretty much go with most styles of tight).

So if, for example, you’re wearing a classic black court shoe, go for a black tight.

LEFT: THERMAL TIGHTS 150, JOHN LEWIS | MIDDLE: VELVET TOUCH LUXE 100, M&S | RIGHT: THERMAL HEATGEN 100, M&S
ALL AFFILIATE LINK
S

Noteable mention has to go to Falke’s Seidenglatt 80-denier opaque tight, which has a slightly shiner finish. They are a brilliant tight – I used to stock up on these when I was working in an office, rather than now, when I mainly wear loungewear as a freelancer at home!

Falke, Seidenglatt 80

One thing to note is that I haven’t included a specific section on shaping tights on this post. I personally don’t like heavy shaping underwear, but have tried these from M&S (AFFILIATE LINK) and would recommend.

PATTERNED TIGHTS WILL ADD WARMTH AND PERSONALITY TO A SIMPLE OUTFIT:

IMAGES: Monikh | Lupsona | Getty

And, they’re REALLY cool! Katie Holmes (above right) wore classic sheer polka dots with a Saint Laurent dress recently – and they’re the hosiery item I always buy an extra pair of if I spot them (SORRY) when out shopping.

If you can get your head around their slightly Eighties vibe, sheer tights like these are a really great option.

Because they are sheer, they work well with most shoe styles – from strappy stilettos (perfect if you don’t want to go bare-legged to a party, but neither do you want to wear heavy opaques), lace up brogues, through to chunkier boots teamed with dresses.

I would say that black sheers do tend to work better with black or dark hued shoes, simply because the contrast is quite so stark. However, there are myriad coloured sheers available out there. The Falke spot tights I have recommended below are a brand with lots of different colourways in the style.

LEFT: SHEER SPOT, ASOS CURVE | MIDDLE: FALKE | RIGHT: HEART PRINT, ASOS (AFFILIATE LINKS)
LEFT: COMMANDO AT NET A PORTER | MIDDLE: ASOS | RIGHT: JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS
(ALL AFFILIATE LINKS)

For maternity options, check out this pair of sheer spots from ASOS.

If your shoe colour is lighter, say for example, a neutral beige, choose a skin-coloured sheer – either plain or with a slight pattern on it.

I LOVE Heist Studio’s ‘Nude’ tights, which come in seven representative shades.

They’re consistently raved about as the best tights out there, thanks to a high thread count (5000 yards rather than the more usual 500), they’re soft and they keep their shape. Also there isn’t a central seam (it’s under the foot), so they don’t snag against your toenails. More expensive, but look after them and they’re a great investment.

IMAGE: HEIST STUDIOS

AND DON’T JUST STICK TO TIGHTS, HAVE FUN WITH SOCKS TOO:

IMAGES: MAN REPELLER | LEANDRA MEDINE | LUCY WILLIAMS | WHO WHAT WEAR

Trouser lovers can obviously stick a cool pair of tights on underneath your trousers, either for warmth, or for those all important couple of inches flashed at ankle-level. But there is also the option – if you want to make a real style statement – to opt for the disco sock.

The disco sock is generally ankle height, contains a smattering of lurex thread, or fishnet and can be worn with flat shoes – and if you’re feeing party-ready – heels (see above inspiration shots).

It’s a marmite trend – you’ll either love it or hate it – but, you could start off with something simple, such as teaming a pair with a trouser suit and lace-up brogue for the office, or jeans, sweatshirt and trainers for a casual look. Starting off small builds up your confidence – and then one day you may well think ‘tonight’s the night for the heels and the disco socks!’

Your outfit, your rules.

FAR LEFT: MARIA LA ROSA AT NET A PORTER | LEFT: BLUE LUREX, & OTHER STORIES | RIGHT: PATTERNED SHEERS, GUCCI AT NET A PORTER | FAR RIGHT: BLACK SCALLOP MESH, TOPSHOP
(ALL AFFILIATE LINKS)
  • Comments ( 4 )

  • avatar
    Hayley Wells

    I am so inspired to try a disco sock! (Though I cant get your links to work?) Loved this post Erica. My biggest festive dressing dilemma is what to wear on Christmas Day if you might be required to remove your shoes. H x

    • avatar
      Erica

      Did you look on your mobile? I’m so sorry Hayley, there seems to be an issue with mobile views and links at the moment, which is being sorted! I know, I’m the same – rememBer that Sex & The City episode where Carrie has to take her shoes off at a party and hates every second?! ‘But it’s my LOOK!!’

  • avatar
    Olivia Church

    Thank you for the tights blog! Really useful being a personal stylist myself and looking to change up the black opaque look x

    • avatar
      Erica

      So glad it was useful! x

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