Where my ladies at? Surely you remember wearing white tights and black patent Mary Janes as a kid. Being born and spending my formative years in Wisconsin, and spending at least a few days of every winter of my life in Indiana with grandparents, tights became, and remain, a staple for me.
In the late ‘90s, my parents, older brother and I moved into the Peach State and we learned how “Hotlanta” became a thing. That July, I realized I would never need my bibbed snowpants (the best kind) ever again, and my Dad was not going to buy a new snow blower. Tights became less common in my day to day wardrobe, it was just too hot. I resorted to ruffled socks with my nasty, beat up Reeboks and skorts. It was very Sporty Spice.
Look, I’ve been in the South for almost 20 years so I have adapted. I very much appreciate the versatility of the mini dress, especially since you can throw one on any time from March to October and make it look like you tried. I’m actually wearing one as I type this, albeit with a chunky sweater over it, boots and tights.
Yes, tights have never truly left my wardrobe, not just as a Midwesterner but also when I moonlight as a Southern Belle. I love tights, nylons, pantyhose, whatever you call them.
I wore pantyhose to my sorority preference ceremony in September 2009 and my future sisters noticed, one of whom would remind me that I was wearing pantyhose “like a lady” and that she instantly loved me for that. Hosiery: 1, bare legs: 0. Many of my friends laugh, in a friendly way, because I still wear hosiery and even slips on a regular basis, but I know I am not just secretly ancient - slips and tights keep you warm AND help prevent transparency in those $10 dresses I pick up on Amazon. Me half-living in the 1950’s means Hosiery: 1, bare legs: 1.
How about not feeling obligated to shave your legs if you’re in a rush. Soft nylon making squeaky shoes less squeaky and then creating a blister barrier between heel, toe and shoe. Hosiery: 4, bare legs: 1.
The only downside to hosiery is that my pets don’t seem to understand they can’t casually stretch out on my shin, or make biscuits on my day’s outfit, laid out on the bed, while I’m in the shower. The claws come out, but not maliciously. Nothing will ruin your tights faster than a sweet, unassuming pet claw. Hosiery: 4, bare legs: 2.
So here are some tips I’ve learned over the years to keep tights (and other delicate clothes) in good shape and avoid the dreaded shred:
- Opt to get your pet’s nails ground (with a rotating file) instead of cut. Or, learn to do it yourself, if your pet will tolerate it.
- Cold weather means drier skin, so when you apply hand and foot lotion, rub some pet-safe balm on your pet’s paw pads and claws. Consider a human line that is pet-safe and dries fast so Scruffy won’t lick most of it off. As always, be sure pets have access to clean, fresh water to help them stay hydrated. You might even consider those ridiculous, tiny booties if you take the dog for a daily walk in the colder temperatures.
- When treating a dog, bend at the half and extend your arm away from your body to prevent any excited paws from falling forward on to you. Or, try sit and stay and then toss the treat to them.
- Thicker tights, like sweater or fleece lined, are great in the winter and are more resistant to claws. But, consider wearing thinner leggings with say, boots and a skirt, in the winter. Use taller socks to prevent them from riding up in your shoes. Leggings are great for the opaque look and are usually more durable.
- Hand wash brand new tights immediately with Woolite, vinegar, or some of that special tights wash that I think is too expensive to try. Woolite works fine for me. Hang until dry and then stick them in the freezer overnight. Not sure why it works, but I have found a prolonged elasticity in tights that I freeze. Something about the elastic reacting to cold.
- I used to wrap my tights in a tight ball so they wouldn’t tangle in my tights drawer. However, I’ve found folding them in half, then in fourths from the toes under/waist on top keeps them in the best shape. If your sock/tights/whatever drawer isn’t smooth or lined, consider placing your folded tights in a drawstring bag or wrapped in a smooth piece of fabric. Stick a dryer sheet or two in the drawer or bag to help prevent winter static. Tape over any drawer knob backings, screws, etc, with masking or painter’s tape to prevent additional snags.
- And here’s a weird one I learned from a professional dancer – dance tights are costly, so if you prefer a more expensive brand of tight and get a run in one leg, cut that leg off and save the other half. You may be in a pinch later and find a run in another pair, and while it’s a little weird to wear two waistbands, hey, you’ve got two run-free legs, don’t you?
I am Team Tights knowing I’ll be comfortable all day long, running from work, to an assignment, to walking the dog and to dinner, never having to stop to change just because I am too cold. The feeling that I can withstand the cold just a little longer with my tights tricks is liberating! Now… to get Smidge's nails ground.