MA Beauty Expert: Show Some Leg - The Return of Hosiery

Sunday, September 20, 2015
Donna Macdonald, GoLocalWorcester Beauty Expert

A few years ago, I watched a fashionista make her way across a park in Newport in the dead of winter. She wore a gorgeous pair of pumps but was bare-legged. In the dead of winter. That was the year it was nearly impossible to find hosiery. Gone from store shelves were pantyhose, stockings, even tights - the bare leg was in. Thankfully, that has changed and legwear has become fashion's hottest accessory again.

Everyday Sheers

So we've decided that bare legs are silly, right? But you don't want to look like you've crossed over to Granny's support-hose territory either. Look for sheer stockings in soft dove-greys or light beige's with a little sheen. Go for wispy more skin-toned colors and avoid like the plague anything that says "suntan". The right hue will give every-day legs that extra touch of feminine poise and finish, minus ugly goosebumps.


The biggest expansion in hosiery has been in tights. Opaques look great with shorter skirts in the office, but black tights are showing up with cocktail dresses too, even sleeveless ones. The trend began on the red carpet and crept into mainstream for nighttime warmth while out on the town. Opaques now come in lots of vivid colors. Fuchsia, deep aqua, even red are super chic with monochromatic outfits. Think black cashmere sweater, black knit skirt, black suede shoes with jewel-like emerald green tights. That's enough sophistication for both the office and after-work drinks.


Unique textures and patterns are fun ways to show off legs. Small diamond patterns, tiny embroidered flowers, dots, and squiggles all make getting dressed more fun this season. Some stockings have delicate lace inserts with just-so ankle placement to add a bit of intrigue. Whatever appeals to you can work its way into your fall wardrobe styling. Cable-knit tights add comforting coziness which makes even bitter-cold weather more bearable. You don't have eschew wearing skirts and dresses with wool or wool-blend knits on your gams.


Although not as warm, fishnets give off a little wink and lots of fun. Smallish flesh-toned fishnets are even office-worthy because they are just a bit more interesting than regular hose but don’t undermine your professional image.  Wider-knit fishnets in black are best for after work where they look sexy and cool on crossed legs with stilettos while perching on a bar stool.  Fishnets "say" something to be sure, but they can be as conservative or as outré as you care.

A Woman's Prerogative

As far as regular hose, stores are stocking more thigh-highs and stockings than ever before. The legs-to-there look can be had without pantyhose these days and thigh-highs are beautifully made now with lace trims and comfort bands. But if pantyhose is still your thing, you will find more stretchy air-flowing fabrics which means you can opt for ease. Old-world style garter belts can be purchased in lingerie shops for real glamour.


Department stores are back in business with dedicated hosiery departments. Check out Nordstrom in Providence for one of the best and biggest selections. Your local boutiques and haunts are beginning to carry colorful tights too so if you're buying a sweater, always ask where the coordinating tights are. Smaller shops are more likely to have cable knits. Anthropologie in Cranston carries some unique graphic and floral tights. As always, drugstores and Walmart have the lowest priced hosiery. The longest-lasting black tights I ever bought were from my local Walmart so when you're going for bananas, check out the tights too.   

Donna Macdonald is a freelance writer who enjoys covering topics of interest to women, especially fragrance, style, beauty. She has also written marketing material for a women's book that hit the New York Times Bestseller list and netted her an up close and personal discussion on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Donna currently writes her own personal blog,, where she also writes about issues close to a woman's heart. Donna believes that when a woman finds beauty in the world, she will find beauty in herself.

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