The Best Tights and Half-Slips for Work

Nordstrom 'Everyday' Opaque Tights | CorporetteWhich are the best tights for work, and where can you find them? What about half-slips for underneath workwear? Reader K wonders…

I work in a very casual office, but with winter upon us, I would like to change up my typical pants/sweater wardrobe to add more tights. Can you do a post on the best tights out there? The best opaque, the best durability, the best for patterns/textures, and best quality for price. I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the offerings, and without knowing which brand seems to have the greatest appeal, it’s hard to invest $20 (or more) for what amounts to a pair of tall socks. Along with that, where on earth do we find half-slips anymore?

Great question, Reader K. We haven’t talked about tights in a while (and it’s been eons since we talked slips!), so let’s discuss.

A note about durability and price: a lot of durability comes down to how you care for your tights. If you wash them in a lingerie bag, hang them to dry, and be very careful when putting them on, you’re going to get a lot of wears out of even more affordable tights. It may be a personal preference, but I’ve always found that control-top tights are extremely durable — the fabric is thicker where you’re fussing with it most days (both when you put the tights on as well use the restroom).

I’m curious to hear what readers say about price. In my opinion the $30 range — Commando, Spanx, Plush — gives you the best value for your money, but then I’ve only owned a few fancier pairs, most bought at sample sale sites like Rue La La or as lucky finds at stores like TJ Maxx. Readers, which do you think is the best value for tights — the $15 and under range? the $30 range? or beyond (e.g., WolfordFalke, La Perla)? One brand that I have had luck with at the lower end is the Assets brand by Spanx, which you can get at Target.

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The Best Opaque Tights

The most opaque tights I’ve ever owned have been Commando’s tights — and if you’re looking for a thin, non-shaping tight, that is likely going to be your best bet. (Ooh, but they do now have a control-top version.) But it’s worth noting that reversible tights can also be very opaque (since they have to have a whole color on the other side); and the proliferation of fleece tights has also made for more opaque tights. You can find cheaper versions of fleece tights at your corner drugstore, but I still like my pair of Plush fleece tights from Shopbop. I haven’t tried them, but Nordstrom has two more highly-rated affordable options if you’re not looking to spend $30+ on tights: Nordstrom brand “Everyday” Opaque tights for $15, and DKNY “Super Opaque” Control Top Tights for $16.

Patterned Tights for Work

We’ve talked about the propriety of colorful tights for work before, as well as patterned tights, and my opinions haven’t changed too much. I’d stick with small, regular patterns — rib knits, teeny tiny polka dots, chevron patterns, sweater-like cable knits — and note that these will make any outfit more casual.

Half-Slips

I’ve always been fine with the more affordable Vanity Fair slips I’ve bought at places like NYC’s Century 21; Amazon has a number of styles for sale. (I would also take a look at your local Kohl’s or Target type of shop.) If you want to get a bit fancier, Nordstrom has a beautiful Hanky Panky slip in regular and plus sizes. I feel like I’ve had at least three conversations over the years with women who were thrilled to discover a very old-fashioned slip, the pettipant, for comfort and wearability; the more modern version of this is everyone’s summertime favorite, the Jockey Skimmies Slipshort, which gets mixed reviews for wear with tights.

Psst: how to care for your tights, and the best shoes to wear with tights

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Comments

  1. Great thread – esp. curious what half- (and full!) slips others have had luck with. As to tights: I’ve tried moderately expensive to cheap, and by far the very best for comfort, looks, and durability… Target! Their Merona brand black opaque tights, which come in both control-top and non-control top versions (am I the only one that gets stomachaches with control tops?), and a 2-pack is $14. I have a pair I bought last year, wore multiple times a week for 3-seasons (I live in cold climate), and they’re still going strong, no tears, comfortable, and look great. Highly recommend.

    • I’ve also had really great luck with the Merona brand tights. I’ve had some tights for almost 5 years now and they’re still going strong.

    • That's Mrs. JD to you! :

      Commando tights are the way to go. No stomachaches–and they are insanely comfortable. Only brand of tights and pantyhose that do not create the overwhelming need to change out of at the first chance. The tights are really durable, the pantyhose are a little prone to runs–but based solely on comfort level–worth it IMHO. Have not tried the control top Commandos yet…but definitely intrigued.

    • I have had the best luck finding slips (both half and full) and standard department stores (Dillards, Macys, Belk, JC Penney). If you have a Hanes outlet near you, they also have them sometimes.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        +1, and adding Stein Mart to the list.

      • Anyone have any luck finding 100% cotton slips for summer (out of season right now, i know, but i’ve struggled to find these). i hate wearing poly/nylon slips and sweating. skimmies are helpful but don’t really work when the issue is a sheer skirt or dress. i’ve only seen long cotton slips aimed at folks who are committed to plain or modest dress (which is fine, but long slips are not helpful for my needs).

  2. Sydney Bristow :

    I typically buy Spanx Tight End Tights for $28. In the past, they’ve worn like iron even though I’m not careful at all about caring for them. I just throw them in the washer and dryer with the rest of my clothes.

    That being said, I had to buy new ones this year because I went up a size and I’m not as happy with the quality. The top part seems to be stretching out a bit in areas and there is a small hole in the cr*tch on some of them. I’m hoping the holes don’t get bigger. I had a hole in the toe of an older pair and it never grew in size. The fabric on these ones just seems a little different though so I’m not sure how it will work out yet.

    • Diana Barry :

      I also have a bunch of the Spanx tights and they are great. (Haven’t bought any this season though.)

    • I am a HUGE fan of these tights. I read somewhere (nordy’s, zappos?) that they slightly changed them this year and people don’t like them quite as much.

      Also, if you hate Spanx, these are NOT like normal spanx. They have a little control top, but it’s not oppressive or anything.

      And they are cut extremely long in the higher end sizes–they fit my super-long legs in ways that no tights ever do.

      I am also a huge fan of Marks & Spencer tights. They are a UK department store and this is their own brand. They ship to the U.S. They make super-high-denier cottony tights that are so comfy and last a really long time. Big huge fan. They are not quite as long as Spanx though for really long-legged gals.

    • Same comment re Spanx. My pairs that are four years old wear like iron. I had to buy a size up last year (wah wah), and the quality was considerably lower.

    • jumpingjack :

      Another vote for Spanx tights. They are comfortable and last forever. Besides the basic solid black (and other colors) they also come in some nice, professional patterns.
      .
      I’m a big fan of control tops on tights (and stockings). A saggy feeling pair of tights is super gross to me. The worst offenders have been Banana Republic and Wolford. I was able to return some Banana Republic tights when they were sagging down my legs before I even made it out of my bedroom. Wolfords weren’t quite as bad (they made it through the day) but I never wore them again because of how saggy they felt.

  3. lindsay e. :

    Last winter I got some tights of varying degrees of opacity from Asos Curve. They all held up really well – in fact, I’m wearing a pair that I bought last year today.
    They’re inexpensive – the price depends on how opaque they are. But all of them held up really well. I plan on buying more when these start wearing out but that hasn’t happened yet!

  4. I got a half slip at Gap for about $20 and love it. It’s perfect under wrap dresses–if the wind blows the wrong way, it provides some extra insurance. And I love the DKNY tights that Kat linked to. I’ve accidentally thrown them in the dryer and they’re still completely fine. Pro tip–they sell them at Costco.

    • I like the costco dkny tights too! I do find that they pill at the feet after a while- but theyre warm, opaque, and wonderful. I do try to size up in tights to minimize stretching the material more than I have to.

    • DKNY’s tights in general wear like iron, and they come in a “Tall” size that actually fits my 5’10” self.

  5. A from Boston :

    I have a lot of Simply Vera by Vera Wang tights, and I will admit it’s a pain that they need to be hand washed, but the quality is great. But, since I’m a dancer, a lot of my tights are dance tights – don’t worry, I’m not sporting ballet pink in the office, but Danskin’s “light toast” tights match my skin tone pretty closely, they can be tossed in the washing machine (I’ll admit, I really should use a garment bag for them but I don’t . . .), and they’re pretty durable since they’re made to stand up to physical activity.

  6. TO Lawyer :

    I love Hue tights – I don’t take particularly good care of them and have ones that have lasted me a couple years so far.

    • +1 and they are Made in the USA.

    • Anonymous Poser :

      +1 for Hue tights

      • +2? i’ve had great luck with Hue tights as well. sometimes I wish they’d wear out so I could justify more new ones. i also love their wide wale cord leggings in the winter.

        my favorite half slips are from commando. they aren’t compressive at all — mostly i use under wrap dresses for coverage, under sweater dresses to avoid cling, or occasionally under a flared skirt to combat drafts on a chilly day.

        • +1 for Hue’s super opaque tights. Warm, durable, and no sagging at all.

          I’ve also had luck with Mondor and Voila for opaque black tights. I have also found that Filodoro makes very durable opaque black stay-up stockings.

  7. Shopping challenged :

    Related, but not directly.
    I love the undergarment the “do it right” model is wearing. What is it called?
    http://sobadsogood.com/2015/11/15/11-tips-housewives-trying-be-sexy-1930s/

  8. Marks and Spencers for both tights and slips. Although Primarks 100 denier microfibre tights are surprisingly good and super opaque (and not shiny! Nothing annoys me more than shiny tights)

    • AND M&S has free shipping to Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand right now. Stocking up on tights and knickers this week!

      • Just a word of caution on M&S, I bought my normal 60 den tights in the same size as last year and they are too long and too big in the waist. I bought two packs and was hoping it was a fluke but they might have changed their sizing.

  9. My fave by far are Ann Taylor without control top. Can’t stand the feeling of being in sausage casing that control top (let alone spans or its ilk) gives me. Only available in black though. Long lasting and very comfortable.

  10. There is a Boston-area store (with several locations) called Lady Grace. That is where I have bought full and half slips. They have a good selection of tights and bras as well. If you live in the area, it’s all about getting sized by the staff (for bras). If you don’t live nearby, you can still use the website to buy slips: www dot ladygrace dot com

  11. Anyone have advice for plus size tights? I can’t ever find any that fit me! Even “queen” ones seem to stop fairly small…

    • Just my size (try onehanesplace dot com) or try the Spanx Tight End Tights. They go up to Size G, much bigger than most brands.

    • Hue and Berkshire have good plus size ranges. Try Bare Necessities dot com to see some options. Colors are much more limited, though. Black and sometimes brown.

    • Asos Curve and Lands End (opaque not the heat tech ones) are some of my best. My super-opaque Asos tights are on their third season now.

    • lucy stone :

      I like the Assets brand at Target (cheaper Spanx), Spanx Tight End Tights, or Lands’ End. Go a size up from what you think you need and they’ll be smoothing without sausage-casing.

    • Anonymous :

      JC Penney has I think up to 6x in some tights. They even have short and tall plus size tights.

    • WeLoveColors’ website (not sure whether putting the company’s site as a link will get this caught in a spam filter? I don’t comment much) has as many colors as you would expect from a company with that name, and they DEFINITELY carry your size.

  12. I’m also a big fan of the Spanx tights. They are more expensive, but I’ve had some pairs last for 2-3 years. Often you can get them on a flash sale around Thanksgiving. I definitely stocked up last year when they were ~70% off.

  13. mamiejane :

    I buy Donna Karan tights at Costco. They are very opaque, hold up well and aren’t so pricey that you feel annoyed if they do run (which happened with some Spanx tights I had). I have some Donna Karan tights that are close to 10 years old.

  14. CapHillAnon :

    I don’t like plain black tights–I like a particular dark charcoal color. I’ve settled on Ann Taylor and Hue–both have the right dark grey, come in control top and both wear well (esp the Ann Taylor ones–I get one and a half seasons out of them!)

  15. lawsuited :

    For opaque, black tights, Mondor tights are the very best. They are actually figure skating tights, so they last forever without pulling or pilling and are so comfortable to wear. They’re a bit pricey, but I’ve had my pair for 3 years.

  16. Can someone clarify the vocabulary here? Are tights different than panty hose?

    • In the US, pantyhose are sheer, often but not always in a color that approximates one’s skin tone. Tights are thicker and opaque or semi-opaque and are worn in colder weather. Or they may be FLEECE TIGHTS. (Inside joke on this s!te.)

      I know that in the UK what we call pantyhose are called tights — but then what do you call the thicker ones there?

      And I like the Vera Wang patterns; most are subtle enough for work. Although I will sometimes wear (on Friday, and with knee-high boots so relatively little shows) a pair in charcoal gray with black polka dots that make me unreasonably happy.

  17. Keilexandra :

    I used to be a big proponent of Commando tights, but recently I’ve switched allegiances to Express for black opaques. I size up to the M/L for added comfort and rise height. What I love is that they have the least amount of waist slippage of any tights I’ve tried. As a rectangle shape with no defined waist and tummy flab, that’s important. I love Commando tights when I first put them on, but after a few hours of sitting at my desk, they inevitably roll down and dig in.

  18. Keilexandra :

    Oh, and as for half-slips–I’ve been happy with mine from Gap Body. Nude, slippery, easy to wash (I machine wash and hang dry), not too long or tight.

  19. SheWhoBrokeHerLeg :

    I buy Gillian and O’Malley nightgowns from target to wear as slips — they are $15 and I like a full slip, which can be hard to find. I’m a dress wearer, and the full slip works much better for me.

  20. No Problem :

    Any advice for brands with lower rises? I’m petite and don’t need waistbands up around my rib cage!

  21. Stupid question from a southerner – what is the purpose of a slip? Is it something you wear under skirts to make them warmer? To keep the skirt from latching onto your tight and riding up? My husband is trying to convince me to move further north from Houston (Boston is his top choice, Raleigh, NC and Richmond, VA are possible options, Kansas City is my top choice) and I really have no clue on how to still wear dresses and be warm in the winter. When I younger and living in OK I just relegated myself to pants all winter. :(

    • underpinnings :

      Slips serve a purpose similar to the lining in skirts/dresses. They make the garment hang better/smoother and be less liking to stick to skin/stockings. I don’t think they add much in the way of warmth.

    • VA Biglaw lawyer :

      I grew up in Richmond, and I highly recommend it! But for my husband’s family in Northern Virginia and a job I love, we would definitely move back there. It’s not as northern as you think it is. The trick to dresses in the winter is tights, boots, and heavier weight dresses. As long as it’s not too windy, you should be fine with tights. There are always fleece-lined tights (my sister in NYC swears by them) if you’re uncommonly susceptible to cold.

  22. Does anyone have recommendations for really opaque colored tights? I’m thinking burgundy, plum, maybe forest green? I weat my black tights a ton (Assets and Spanx), found a decent navy pair and a double sided black/gray pair I like. I also have a steel gray pair from Spanx that are oddly shiny. What I can’t find are durable, matte, super opaque colored tights. More opaque than Hue (or at least the Hue they sell at Nordstrom Rack), and I need an XL or Plus (size 16-18).

  23. Commando “Up all Night” thigh-highs (which I think were recommended here) changed my life – after years of finding all tights too uncomfortable at the waist, these are amazing. They are secure, warm, comfy, and opaque.

  24. Also, does anyone know a brand that sells a color of opaque tights like British Khaki? Hue’s Caramel color is close but not quite right. Sort of like this Pantone color: http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/colorfinder.aspx?c_id=43827

  25. Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

    Ok, feeling like I am from another planet again! Are slips an east coast thing? Californian here, and I have never owned a slip and actually had to google what a half-slip was… :)

    • Keilexandra :

      Do you wear (unlined) skirts and dresses with tights? I just moved to CA last year from the East Coast, and the cold season is short enough that I don’t get sick of pants. But if it’s too cold for bare legs for 6+ months, half slips are pretty useful.

    • Anonymous :

      Some dresses cling or ride up with tights, and a slip can help that problem too.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Yeah, I wear tights with dresses and skirts 4-6 months of the year depending on how cold winter is. I have some unlined dresses and skirts. I have never had the issue of clinging or riding up thought. Maybe I am just lucky.

  26. VA Biglaw lawyer :

    I love the Simply Vera by Vera Wang Opaque Control Top Tights – you can get them at Kohls and Kohls often has sales bringing them down to $8-10/pair. I get 2-3 seasons out of them, but I hand wash with the Nordstrom liquid intimates soap (also what I handwash my bras with). The amount of dirt that comes out is positively horrifying. They also have some great prints – I had a tone on tone black argyle for a while that I loved but finally snagged after 3 years of use. None of their current patterns are as cute (or as opaque).

  27. I received a pair of Wolford wool tights several years ago, and with careful washing and line-drying they are still in decent shape. I even had to replace the waist elastic but the tights are fine! They are opaque but not too thick, and super warm without being itchy. They are very pricy but have been an excellent gift.

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