MS: Leggings and Hosiery

I know I said I wouldn’t be around for awhile, but darnit I need something to do and I don’t feel like drawing. So I’m going to write about something generally inoffensive and something even I’ve figured out. Feminine dress. I have tried to keep the pictures in this post as modest as possible, as I don’t wish to lead anyone astray.

So, for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, cold weather is on its way. So what is a gal who’s dedicated to dressing femininely to do? Skirts and dresses can be rather, er, drafty. The answer to the question of how you keep from freezing to death in the winter seems rather painfully obvious when you hear it, but rest assured I had to ask the same question around a year ago.

Tights.

Before I carry on I’m going to lay out a few definitions, because I don’t want anyone to get confused as they read. I must emphasize that these are the names that I use for these items and are not necessarily what you would call them.

So, some definitions:

Tights: A catch all term for any tight, form-fitting piece of clothing that you wear on your legs, except socks and tight jeans.

Leggings: Tights made of opaque material. Normally leggings cover the hips and legs all the way down to the knee or ankle. May cover the feet or have “stirrups”, but generally don’t. Despite popular opinion they are not a suitable replacement for pants.

Leggings

Black and White Striped Pattern Stretch Leggings from Blue Pearl World.

Nylons: Tights made from predominantly Nylon. A group term for stockings and pantyhose. Generally more formal and/or alluring than leggings.

Pantyhose: Translucent tights made of mostly Nylon. May or may not cover the feet, but do cover the hips.

Pantyhose

Pin-Up to You Tights on Modcloth

Stockings: Translucent tights made of mostly Nylon. However, unlike pantyhose, they extend up from the feet to the mid or upper thigh. They are held in place either by a garter belt or by elastic/silicone bands.

Stockings

Have a Confetti to Make Thigh Highs on Modcloth

Now, on to the actual subject. As I said earlier, one of the first steps for a skirt or dress wearing lady to take towards keeping warm in the winter is to throw some tights on underneath. Not all forms of tights are built with this in mind, but in the age of the internet it’s pretty easy to track down leggings that are made of the right stuff to keep you warm. Especially since there has been a growing trend towards using leggings as pants, but that’s not something I condone unless there is a yoga or dance class involved.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen leggings from time to time in the mall and not been very impressed with the color selection. Lots of black and a few toned down colors. Not to say there’s anything wrong with that, but if you like color and don’t want to put black with everything it can be disappointing. When it comes to all varieties of tights, the internet is going to be where you do most of your shopping. These days you can find tights in all colors, styles, and materials. Just spend awhile looking and pick some out that suit you. There isn’t much specific to say about leggings, so I’m going to spend some time talking about nylons.

These days it’s pretty unusual to see a women wearing nylons of any kind, but not that long ago they were a staple in every lady’s wardrobe. One of my teachers in high school talked about how when he was a bank manager he would have to send women home if they weren’t wearing nylons. Being a history teacher, he also talked about how during the silk shortage of WWII women would take eyeliner pencils and draw seams on the backs of their legs, so as not to look unladylike. The particularly industrious would spend all night drawing fishnets on their legs. While I’m not going to spend time contemplating why they were so quickly tossed aside, I will mention one aspect of them that hasn’t changed. Nylons make a woman look like a lady. While bare legs with healthy skin have a raw allure, nylons give that extra sense of polish. And these days you don’t even have to concern yourself with keeping your seams straight or being limited to black, white, and nude. They still take some gentle handling to avoid runs, but they are almost disposably cheap and the trick of dabbing clear nail polish on the origin of the run is well known.

So, there’s no reason to not have a pair or two in your wardrobe. If you go to a lot of formal events or like me, your legs are you best feature, then these are a necessary staple to your wardrobe. Do understand that regardless of where you get these, you most likely won’t be able to try them on or return them. So make sure to look at a sizing chart, which should fairly accurately tell you what size you wear. Some follow a small, medium, large, etc labeling, but most I’ve encountered use A, B, C, etc. to label the different sizes. The chart should look something like this:

A hosiery sizing chart.

Find where your height and weight intersect and that will tell you what size you should be wearing. Obviously the closer you are to the upper edge of a size means that it will be a tighter squeeze. Given that this is women’s fashion we’re talking about, there will be some variation in what height/weight combos will fit into the sizes. So again, if you’re on the upper edge of a size you should check with different brands.

I’ll be following up on this post with one on slips and another on legwarmers. If you have further questions on this topic I’ll be glad to answer your questions in the comments.

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5 responses to “MS: Leggings and Hosiery

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