This Week I Love …

gray_tights

… gray tights.

Many of my style consult clients struggle with hosiery and ask me where they should start when it comes to tights. Black opaques have become the standard somehow, but I always recommend playing with gray. Gray can be tricky because it will have warm or cool undertones, but it’s still more versatile than black in many cases. Here’s why:

Gray is not as heavy as black

Although black is a great choice if you’ve got black elsewhere in your outfit or if you’re doing black shoes/boots, black can seem heavy and severe as the default neutral for tights. Here’s a funky little outfit with some wintry layers that uses black opaques. They weigh everything down. Charcoal or dark gray would work better, allowing the eye to flow over the whole ensemble instead of heading right for the darkest element.

navypurple_outfit

Gray plays nicely with colors

Above you see navy, purple, and teal. Adding black tights would suck all the life out of these colors, but adding yet another color to this mix might seem like overload. Gray tights are subtle, don’t interfere with the mix, and allow the colors in the outfit to shine through. Gray tights will definitely work better in warm color mixes, but they do nicely with cooler colors like these, too.

Gray blends

If a relatively uninterrupted leg line is a figure-flattery priority for you, gray tights can be a great option. While black tights create hard breaks at the foot, ankle, knee, and hemline with all but more black, gray is lighter and softer, so it blends. It even blends fairly well with black!

floralscarf_burgdress_outfit

Gray is a reliable three-season option

Many of us opt for black as a year-round color, and black tights can certainly be worn in transition during autumn and spring. But gray? It looks less weighty, allows for a broader palette, and can tie together outfits worn in the dead of winter as well as the outer edges of the warmer surrounding seasons.

Gray is versatile and ageless

Well, so is black, of course. But if you’re tiring of it and looking for an equally versatile and ageless alternative, try gray. And don’t feel like it has to be light gray! A heathered charcoal is a great place to start, and is frequently less undertone-y than straight grays of any kind. Start with charcoal and see how you do.

Anyone else a devotee of gray tights? Do you feel like it has all the good qualities of black and then some? (To ask a leading question!) How do you wear yours? Got a favorite shade? Anyone NOT a fan? What trips you up about gray tights?

  • elin

    I love grey tights! I especially love my light gray tights, which do have bluish/purple undertones but I wear those colors a lot any way. People always tell me they like them and I often pair them with grey or black heels.

  • Jean

    Great post. You’ve inspired me to wear the grey tights today. They languish but you’re right. Black is too heavy for many outfits.

  • Allison

    Love my gray tights. In almost all cases, my outfits seem to work best if I pair black boots with black tights and brown boots with gray tights (I am not a style ninja like Sally and don’t have any other colors right now.)

  • J.B.

    LOVE grey tights! I am wearing grey tights as we speak! I find charcoal grey especially versatile. I like it when I want something truly neutral (black often feels like to sharp a contrast). Also, I usually don’t like wearing black boots with black tights (I know it is supposed to lengthen the leg or whatever, but it just doesn’t appeal to me). Today I am wearing a dress that is two shades of teal and black, a black cardigan, and black boots. In the past I have worn teal tights with this outfit, but it is too much. And black tights gives me the black tights/black boots issue. Grey is perfect. I also wear grey tights a lot when I have a more earth tone-y outfit, like with taupes and tans or with brown boots.

  • Margaret

    90% of my tights are gray, charcoal and some lighter. I am not a big fan of black anything, though I recently invested in some black tights because I had zero. Gray is also my default neutral for other wardrobe items (see above for “not a fan of black”) as i find it softer, more flattering and it plays well with others!

    • Jen

      Me too, although I maybe have 3 pairs of gray- 1 light, 1 charcoal, and 1 a grey small-scale herringbone print. I do have some brown tights and brightly colored tights, but I don’t actually have a black pair that fits currently.

      Gray is also my default neutral. I have a gray peacoat and two pairs of gray knee high boots, one heeled, one not. I love gray . . .black washes me out. I wish more stores would carry it, as opposed to so much black.

  • Linda L

    Huge grey tight fan, here. Black does have it’s place, but it’s not a perfect fit with every outfit. I find grey to be far more versitile. I wish I could find more light grey tights to go with my winter pastels.

    • http://www.DressMyLegs.ie DressMyLegs

      We love grey tights at DressMyLegs.ie, an online hosiery store based in Ireland with a great client base in the USA! It’s much softer than black and works great with many other colours, like teal, burgundy and burnt orange. Nearly black/smokey grey is our best seller in sheer tights after nude as it still gives the classic elegance of black without its harshness. Pop over to say hi :-)

  • Stacie

    I LOVE gray tights! I love gray with brown. I love gray with blue. I love gray with brights. I love gray with black! There is no gray area here, I just love ‘em!

  • Kristen

    Gray tights are a staple for me, too. I agree with all the reasons above, and I have one more: gray can read as a slightly less formal option than black. Which is exceedingly helpful if your work environment happens to be allergic to traditional formality, as mine is, but you yourself still want to be wearing a skirt.

  • Marlene

    Hi, Sally! Can you provide details about the last outfit (burgundy elbow-length sleeve dress, grey tights, etc.) in this post? Thanks so much!

  • http://birdybegins.blogspot.co.uk/ Eleanorjane

    Yup, I’m a big grey tights fan. I particularly loved a pair I had which matched my grey suede booties. I also have subtly patterned pairs of grey tights – very useful and a touch more interesting than plain opaques.

  • http://fashionforgiants.blogspot.com Gracey the Giant

    I tend to stick to black tights because I actually like how stark they are with non-black shoes. But, I also wear a lot of black shoes/boots and black blends there when I need it. I have gray tights, but I tend not to wear them. Perhaps a bit darker pair would get more use in my closet.

    Great post, Sal!

  • Rose

    I find myself reaching for my gray tights whenever my outfit has brown, pink, or yellow as a main color. Though I love my black tights to death, I can’t bring myself to pair them with any of those three colors, except in small doses. The gray are so much more versatile.

  • Kristen

    I should keep an eye out for a pair of gray tights. I heavily lean towards using brown or gray instead of black, but they’re harder to find! I find this issue with leggings, too – there are a million pairs of black leggings to be found, but I’ve mended the hole in my brown leggings because they’re more versatile for me. Tights are relatively easy to find in a variety of colors, and I’ve stopped wearing the black tights I own because it’s too harsh with the types of colors I wear (more often muted, almost faded colors). Those undertones with gray – and brown – can get tricky, though!

  • http://notdeadyetstyle.blogspot.com/ Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    I like my navy, gray and taupe tights, as a nice relief from all-black. xo

  • Jean

    I wear black or textured black tights most often, but also like charcoal and heather grey, especially with navy or deep earth tones. I have always thought that grey is underrated.

  • Sue

    I’ve been looking for a pair of medium gray tights. I have charcoal grey, but sometimes I want to go lighter. No luck.

    But yes, I love gray tights.

  • Michelle

    Another great article which sees me questioning why I wear what I wear. Man, you’re good at getting me thinking, Sally!

    Charcoal gray is one of my day wardrobe staples and looks great with the gorgeous dress shown in your photograph. At night I find myself veering towards black or jewel tones like maroon and teal. For me, gray loses it’s specialness at night and often ends up looking like cheap, faded black.

    Any tips on how to wear dove gray tights? I have a beautiful pair I’d love to wear but I am not sure what shoes to coordinate them with. Thanks.

  • Thursday

    Black tights definitely have their place, but they get worn less frequently than my navy, teal, and grey tights. I agree with all your points about grey tights, and also echo the above poster that grey works better with brown, especially shoes and boots. Grey can work for the office and casual looks, whereas I find black skews more formal. A typical winter weekend outfit for me will be navy, grey and brown boots!

  • http://alison-young.com Alison

    I love grey and have a few tones of it in my wardrobe but I actually never considered grey tights before. Now you’ve got me wanting to go on a mission to try and find them. It’s far easier to find black or tan ones in my country. Last year I purchased and sported purple patterned tights which went well with how much black I tend to wear in the cooler months.