I Spend All Winter in Tights, and These Are the 4 Brands I Always Recommend

Sheertex, Natori, Calzedonia, and Falke are my winter MVPs. 

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tights
Photo: calzedonia.com

I stopped wearing pants 14 years ago. They were never comfortable, I constantly dealt with fabric thinning caused by chafing between my thighs, and the whole situation made me question how the fashion industry sizes clothes. During the warmer months, my commitment to being pants-free is often imperceptible, but in the winter, people notice and remark on my aversion to pants. When I explain that I've forgone pants for over a decade, the question is always the same, "How do you get through winter without pants?" The answer: tights.

Well, not just any tights. I'd estimate that I've tried more than 100 pairs of tights over the years—the market is saturated with all of the options you could imagine. Because of how vital hosiery is to my wardrobe, I think of a pair of tights as an important part of every outfit. When I opt for a lacy patterned pair to wear with a plain black slip dress, the tights actually are the outfit. So I need tights that work on three levels: style, practicality, and endurance. My experimentation has led me to four brands of tights that sit far above the rest. Those are Sheertex, Natori, Calzedonia, and Falke.

Sheertex (XS-3XL)

tights
sheertex.com

Sheertex tights cost more than I typically like to spend, but the patented no-tear technology is worth it. Just last week I experimented with a pair of standard $16 black sheer tights. While trying to get them on, I punctured through several snags, and by the time I was going to leave the house, they were unwearable. So yes, they were a fraction of the price of a pair from Sheertex, but they also went from the package to the trash. You will not have that issue with Sheertex.

The tights are the result of years of scientific research and formulation in order to miniaturize the sturdy types of fibers commonly found in climbing and sailing equipment, according to the brand's website. I can put its tights on mindlessly when my nails are long and while wearing rings—no snags or tears. These tights are miraculously durable enough to last entire seasons, which, to me, justifies the price. The one downside, besides the steep price, is that the patterned options are limited, and because of the innovative fabric, intricate lace pairs don't exist (yet).

Natori (XS-XL)

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natori.com

These are my favorite tights based on looks. They are so elegant, sultry, and design-centric. I really feel like my best self when I'm in a pair of Natori tights, specifically the lace and netted options. A plain outfit, like a black skirt with a black T-shirt, is elevated by adding a pair. I have literally been stopped on the bus while wearing them and asked to spell out the name of the brand. The problem with net and lace tights is sacrificing warmth, but this isn't a huge issue for me. I think years of being pantless have made me more comfortable with the cold. When it's really freezing out, however, I can still make these work by putting a patterned pair on top of a sheer pair.

I am usually an XL or 1XL in clothing, so I was worried because Natori's sizing capped out at XL. The tights run a bit large, though. I could have gone down a size or two, so the sizing is more inclusive than it seems.

Calzedonia (XS-XL)

tights
calzedonia.com

Calzedonia is great for playful everyday tights at the right price. The brand frequently has sales and bundle discounts on its tights, which are already affordable at an average of $20 a pair. Its mesh and motif tights are sturdier than they look, but sometimes snags happen. The knits are comfortable and the opaque tights come in a variety of thicknesses and materials, so most people will be able to find exactly what they're looking for. One thing to note is Calzedonia's sizing is frustratingly limited: Sizing can go up to an XL, but many styles are only available in S/M and M/L.

Falke (S-XL)

tights
nordstrom.com

Falke is a German brand that creates high-quality, lightweight yet warm tights. If you are looking for plain tights—the type that can go with anything—this is your brand. They come in subtle, sophisticated color options. For example, I was finally able to find a pair of tights in the right navy blue shade that I'd been after for months for a specific outfit. I also discovered that tights created specifically for wearing with sneakers exist, and it has been life changing. As with some of the other aforementioned brands, the sizing could be more inclusive.

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