Kate’s top-rated tights

by Kate Shapland

Am I alone in getting a bit overexcited about slipping into tights and socks at this time of the year? I’ve done some serious road testing over the years in the name of comfort, control, robustness and flattery too. Ladies, I give you my current favourites – none of which need yanking up, create a tourniquet around your waist or are so shiny they make the slimmest leg look like barrels.

 

BEST OVERALL TIGHTS
No Nonsense Super Opaque Control Top Tight

Not only the least expensive, these tights also earned one of the highest overall scores. They’re super comfy, fully recover their shape after being stretched out and held up well against snagging and colourfastness washing. As the name implies they’re super opaque (90 denier) and have a not-too-tight control top. Perfection!

BEST SLIMMING TIGHTS
Spanx Tight-End Tights

When you think of shape wear, chances are you think of Spanx, and while a bit more expensive, the slimming capabilities of this super flattering 40 denier style are exceptional – they hold you in without being too constricting (they have a control top), and lift your backside. The fit is spot-on, they’re highly comfortable and they last really well – someone I know has kept a pair of these going for five years! 

BEST SNAG-FREE TIGHTS
DKNY Opaque Coverage Control Top Tights

Stand out for being almost indestructible! These 40 deniers are highly snag-resistant and recover their shape nicely after wearing and washing. They’re comfortable throughout the day (although the control top can occasionally roll) and although opaque they have a flattering (not to shiny) sheen.

MOST COMFORTABLE TIGHTS

Heist The 50

If you have a hard time finding comfy tights, try this pair from Heist: They’re beyond! The material feels incredibly soft and smooth. And they slip on without a struggle. The material is also opaque without being too thick and the tights feature a high-waist control top so you get the slimming benefits around the torso.

BEST NON-CONTROL TIGHTS
Commando Ultimate Opaque Matte Tights

If you can’t stand the firm feel of control-top tights, Commando does these 70 deniers with a unique non-binding waistband which is very comfortable and doesn’t squeeze or pinch the way others do. Durability is good and while they don’t offer the slimming benefits of control tops, they are flattering.

BEST TIGHTS FOR COLD WEATHER
Berkshire Cozy Hose TightsB

Look just like regular tights, but these 70 deniers are fleece-lined so they feel extra warm and cosy. They don’t have a control top and I’ve had a few reports that they snag slightly easier than others but the comfort and warmth factor makes up for it in my mind.

BEST TIGHTS FOR BOOTS
Bootights Ankle Sock Core Tights

The built-in sock on this control-top 50 denier pair is perfect for anyone who wears tights with boots. Not only do the tights themselves perform well, looking great, but they are durable, wash well and the concept is clever: if you’re still layering socks over tights, give them a go – they’ll also keep your feet extra warm!

BEST LUXURY TIGHTS
Wolford Velvet De Luxe 50 Tights

While you don’t have to spend a lot to get top-quality tights, you can guarantee that Wolford’s never disappoint. As the name implies, the material for these 50 deniers is incredibly soft (like velvet – and unlike any other I’ve ever worn), comfortable, easy to slip on and non-constricting, especially because they don’t have a control top.

BEST THICK TIGHTS
Hue Super Opaque Tights with Control Top

These 90 deniers are super thick and have a control top, but they’re super easy to get on and off, they don’t snag, run or stretch and they look great on. They also have a reinforced toe. The waistband can roll a bit, but taking a size up will stop that happening without the legs. Matt look and in flattering colours: Black, Espresso, Graphite Heather, Surplus and Claret (left).

 

BEST LOW-RISE TIGHTS
Hipstick Opaque Tights

While most tights sit high and have a firmer feel around the waist, this 97 denier style is looser and sits below your tummy button giving a more relaxed fit. The lace waistband uses silicone strips on the inside to help keep it in place. These tights also come in other variations, like a footless version and a sheer option, but be aware that they are more expensive and not as robust as most.

BEST TIGHT COLOURS
Sofsy Opaque Microfibre Tights

If you’re looking for bright tights, this 40 denier style (which actually seems more sheer than that) comes in 30 different colors. Amazon has hundreds of five-star reviews on these tights and the company says it will give you a full refund if you aren’t happy with your purchase. I love that.

BEST FISHNET TIGHTS
Vero Monte Fishnet Tights Set of 4

Fishnets don’t give you the coverage of regular opaques (and they won’t always have a denier rating either), but they do give you fun patterns with lots of texture. This set comes with four different patterns and is Amazon’s Choice for tights in general – not just fishnets! – thanks to the hundreds of five-star reviews from users who say they’re soft, comfortable, and actually hold up to lots of wear.

How to choose the best tights

Denier tells you the fabric weight and lets you know how thick the tights will be. In general, the higher the denier, the more opaque the tights, meaning they’re thicker and less sheer. Any denier 40 and higher is considered opaque and not see-through, while anything less than 30 denier is more of a transparent, sheer tight. You can find 80 denier (and even up to 100 denier) tights that are super thick and opaque.

Control top tights are essentially tights that have built-in shapewear. They help create a slimming look by smoothing areas like the tummy, hips and thighs. It’s really a matter of personal preference; our testers were mixed between liking the feeling of being held in vs. thinking it was too constricting.

In general darker colours will minimise and make your legs appear slimmer.

Tights in shades that matches the colour of your heel will make your leg line look longer.

Choose your hosiery right for your body shape: some body shapes are better with attention in their leg line and other are best to keep in lean and clean.

Patterns and bright colour add visual volume to the leg line. So be aware that you don’t choose size over suitability. Just because it comes in your size doesn’t mean it will look right on you.

Watch out when you need to do proportional dressing – patterns and bright colours are usually best for women who have a short body and long legs and who are of average to tall height. Monochromatic works better for shorter women – the same colour from head to toe makes you look taller.

When you have big calves and knees keep to solid neutral, darker shades with a higher denier and matt finish for the most slimming effects.

Choose no less than 40 denier when you want to cover veins or other skin blemishes on your legs.

When you have a mature skin choose 21 + denier to add vibrance and a youthful look to legs: sheer shine and gloss are great to overcome any dullness in your skin.

Go a size bigger than you must. It will give you better comfort when wearing, make it easer to get in and will minimise the risk of runs.

When wearing sandals or open-toe heels, choose never a skin tone colour – being able to see the toe of your tights is really not a good look – or tights with a sandal toe which is designed to be worn with open toe footwear.

Black is an all rounder for all season and occasion and will always look smart and elegant. It gives a clear outline to legs and it has a slight slimming effect.

Keep in mind that your tights is pulling your outfit together rather doing the opposite, which means don’t choose the wrong denier with your outfit or the style and pattern for your calf size, body shape and height.

Hosiery are available in different finishes, including matte, slight sheen and shiny. Matt hosiery is smart and subtle and suitable for any occasion. Hosiery with a slight sheen softens the appearance of your legs and gives an elegant appearance suitable for both day and evening wear. A shiny finish will draw attention to your legs, so is more suitable if you have slim legs

Be economical with your spending on hosiery: they all get runs and pulls. So, my advice is to spend more money on tights with a higher denier because they are more run resistant, more durable and you get more wear out of them.