The Very Best Tights for Work

the-best-tights-for-work

2017 Update: We still stand by this roundup of the best tights for work, and links have been updated below. You may also want to check out our more recent discussion of sleek, strappy heels to wear with tights to the office.

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

As cold weather sets in, I thought we’d do a roundup of some of the best tights for work out there. Ladies, which are your favorites — which are your favorite everyday tights, your favorite superwarm tights, favorite opaque tights, and favorite shaping tights? For me, my favorites for everyday are my Spanx shaping tights, for warmth, my fleece tights from Plush, and for opacity — which is lower on the list for me than comfort and durability, but I know is key for a lot of other women — are my Commando tights. I can’t wait to hear what your favorites are!

First, some general categories — and do note that we’ve talked in the past about how to care for tights, as well as hunted for the best thigh-high stockings for work.

bestselling-tights

Above: a few Hall of Famers, pictured: one / two / three / four

uniqlo-heattech I’ve always heard great things about Uniqlo’s Heattech tights, but I’ve never tried them– but for $7.90 (on sale today), it’s hard to go wrong.  They’re available in solid, ribbed, and cable versions, sizes S/M and L/XL, $7.90-$14.90, at Uniqlo. Women Heattech Tights
200-denier-tights Whoa: I always thought 70-100 denier was Very Opaque, so I’m surprised to see that H&M has some tights that are 200 denier.  For $12.99 they’re definitely much lower-priced than other options — and if you’re looking for more of a legging/tight hybrid, do check these out.  (They also have non-shaping 200 denier tights and fleece tights, listed separately.) Pictured: Control-Top Tights 200 Denier
navy-black-tightsI feel like reversible tights were more of a “thing” a few years ago, but there are still a few options around, including these affordable navy/black reversible tights from The Limited, on sale for $16.17 today (down from $26.95). (Here are some other thoughts about what color tights to wear with navy skirts.) The great thing about reversible tights is that, in addition to getting multiple colors in one product, they tend to be pretty opaque. The Limited also has some nice-looking cable knit fleece tights. Pictured:  Navy and Black Reversible Tights (2017 Update: unfortunately The Limited is now closed!)
commando-tights Commando has always been THE best for opaque tights.  Things have gotten a bit confusing now that they’ve branched out: there’s the “ultimate opaque” tights in regular and control top, as well as these “eclipse opaque” tights that are an even heavier denier (110) and rave reviews from customers ($40). I’d say if you’re looking for warmth in tights go for the higher denier; if you want lightweight but opaque tights, go for the regular 70 denier “ultimate opaque.” Pictured: Commando ‘Ultimate Opaque’ Control Top Tights
spanx-higher-power-luxe Control top tights are everywhere, but I thought I’d picture my preferred type of shaping tight: the kind that covers you all the way up to your braline to smooth out your midsection as well.  I’ve always liked these because a) control top tights often create a muffin top effect, and b) having a lightly smoothed midsection, without needing to wear another shaping piece (like a bodysuit, slip, or camisole) is worth a lot.  Spanx’s line used to be called “Higher Power,” but they seem to have done away with that in favor of their new Luxe line. SPANX® Luxe Tights
wolford-merino-tights If you’re looking to splurge, Wolford or Falke would be the top names I’d look to — these merino tights from Wolford are best sellers at Saks, and given that they’re merino, I’d guess they’re going to last for a thousand years.  They’re $75, available in sizes S, M, and L. (Also: hello, cashmere/silk tights — wow.) Pictured: Wolford Merino Tights

 

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Every working girl loves a good pair of tights to stay warm and stylish in the fall, winter, and spring -- but which are the BEST tights for work? We rounded up our favorites -- whether you're looking for opaque black tights, affordable tights, or super warm tights, or more, we've got them all.

 

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    Wary Wolford… No control top, and I now realize I like at least a little bit of support.

  2. Anonymous :

    I don’t understand why Berkshire has a size called tall that spans from 5’6″ to 5’9″ on the size chart. That is not tall!

  3. Sydney Bristow :

    I almost always wear Spanx tights, usually the Tight End Tights. They used to wear like iron, but I noticed the quality wasn’t quite as good last year. I just ordered a pair of patterned ones (the herringbone ones) but I haven’t tried them on yet. The fabric seems pretty good though. I’m trying to branch out into patterned tights to wear with my black skirts this year. I typically have just gray or black tights but sometimes the black skirt, tights, and shoes seems a little much. I’m hoping the herringbone pattern and hopefully a polka dot pair can help shake things up a bit.

  4. Anonymous :

    Would also appreciate words of wisdom on styling black tights at the office. Links to favorite dresses also appreciated

    For me, it means ….

    Slips

    Above the knee, slightly shorter skirts.

    Lots of black chunkier/more solid heels, and boots.

  5. Spanx Tight End Tights really need to be added to the Tall category. They are one of the few brands that carries Tall/Plus or Tall Cusp (over Size 12) sizes. They also wear like iron–I’ve had several pairs for a few years now–no runs.

    I have also had great luck with European brands, including Marks and Spencer, Next and Lindex for Tall/cusp sizes.

  6. Where’s my girl, Fleece Tights???

  7. Mrs. Jones :

    Spanx Tight End tights last me for years.

  8. I have a puppy that likes to dig in the sofa. I had held off on getting a new sofa (this one is very old) until the pup is through the worst of his chewing phase, but the digging, I suspect, is here to stay. I’m hoping that once the old sofa (which had a chenille cover that he liked to scratch) is gone, some of the joy of digging will be less, but I also want to make sure that my new sofa is covered in durable fabric. Any suggestions? Sources online are saying leather (which I don’t love aesthetically), velvet (which seems hard to believe), or microfiber. Any first-hand experience? I was thinking that maybe the type of fabric that gets used on outdoor furniture would be more durable, but not sure.

    • Anonymous :

      Mine is leather — it’s easy to vacuum off and wipe down to keep it clean. My dogs’ fur would otherwise work its way into and through the fabric and become one with the sofa cushion foam. You could do leather and then just cover the couch with a large throw you do like aesthetically? Throw can then be easily changed out or thrown in the washing machine.

    • Anonymous :

      +1 to leather, which seems counterintuitive, but it does hold up better than fabric. I got rid of my upholstered fabric couch for leather. I can wipe it with a damp wash cloth or vacuum my cat/dog fur out of the crevices. It doesn’t show scratches. I put a fuzzy blanket and pillows over it to make it more comfortable.

    • New Tampanian :

      If you get leather do NOT get bonded or faux leather as the scratching will absolutely show. My ex had one and the cat claw marks just from them jumping off the couch were out of control.

  9. Anyone have any favorite lightly textured black tights? I used to have a few pair of Vera Wang (Kohl’s) but I’m not loving the current offerings.

  10. I am looking for some tank tops with built in bras for yoga. Any recommendations?

    • I don’t love built in bras but I’ve found Gap’s Fit line amazing for yoga leggings, tops, etc. You can often get a good deal in the sale. Old Navy is also nice. I’d also look at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I know people swear by Lululemon and Sweaty Betty but I can’t justify the price for something I’m just going to sweat in. I think if you’re doing performance sports, it’s different but for yoga, I’m happy to wear comfy leggings and drapey tanks (in sometimes weird colours off the sale rack).

      • Anonymous :

        If you do happen to like Lulu, go to the store and check out their sale rack. IME, they put things that have been returned on the sale rack rather than restocking them full price. Sometimes there are decent finds. Downside is that it requires shopping in person, a think I hate doing.

        • Shopaholic :

          Lulu sometimes has a category called “we made too much” online which has sale prices for some tops. Not as cheap as in store but you can avoid shopping in person

    • Anonymous :

      Walmart. I’ve gotten some good T-back Danskin tops with built in bras there.

    • Anonymous :

      What size are you? If you’re larger than average, Lululemon or Zella are probably the best ones fit wise. If you’re a 34b, you can probably wear any old brand and it doesn’t matter so much.

      • I am a 36C. On the larger end but I don’t need tons of support for Bikrim Yoga.

        • Anonymous :

          You should be able to wear any brand. Lululemon or Zella or maybe Athleta will have better fabrics than Old Navy or whatever you get at TJMaxx.

    • I love Uniqlo’s built in bra tops. However, I don’t need support (A cup), so no idea if they’re at all supportive.

    • Sometimes you can find good tops like this at Target.

  11. I find hue tights the most comfortable (especially the soft opaque tights). I size up for more comfort in the waistband, and wear them pulled up (almost under my b-strap). They feel like leggings this way. They last awhile, although they do not look as pristine by the end of the season.
    I buy two or three new pairs on sale every year; I use the older pairs for boots/ longer dresses, and the new ones for shorter boots or shoes. I keep them for one and half or two years. I usually buy navy, black, or grey, and a neat texture or color as a wildcard. I wash them in a mesh bag after one or two wears, and hang to dry.

  12. Anonymous :

    I like Landsend tights. I had a pair for 3 years, and they just got a hole last week. I feel that I got my money’s worth. They are pretty thick and don’t show my skin. I hate black tights that become sheer and show skin around the thighs or knees.

  13. housecounsel :

    All Spanx tights, all the time. I stock up at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.

  14. Gail the Goldfish :

    For warmth-regular tights (usually Hue) over (of course) fleece tights. I find the fleece tights don’t stay up very well after a few wears, anyway, so layering regular tights over them helps them to stay up, too.

  15. Anonymous :

    I posted about temperatures in my office a few weeks ago (actually, probably closer to back in August). My coworkers were keeping it around 74 and then using individual space heaters, complaining they were cold, even though we are in a Northern clime and they weren’t dressing appropriately.

    To follow up, we ended up having an HVAC specialist come because my office mates broke the system somehow. I was on vacation over Labor Day, and I came back to learn their use of space heaters somehow screwed up the AC, which didn’t run, and it got into the 80s in the office and very humid and I don’t really understand all the finer details, but it broke something with the AC system.

    Now, we are supposed to keep it at 73 on the “cool/AC” function.

    Its currently set at 71 on the “heat” function, and the actual temperature is 79. FML. I’m currently in a sheath dress and tights. I took off my blazer. I took off my knee high boots. Its cold outside, and I’m dying of sweat in here. And of course the windows don’t open in our section of the building.

    • You have my sympathy! I moved into what is without question the worst office in our building, just to get on a different floor from an admin assistant who can get away with anything and chooses to use her power to set the temperature at 78 so that she is comfortable in her thin, short dresses. Our office is business formal and I was in misery and actually felt sick at times. I secretly hope that she gets the worst hot flashes ever in a few years so that she can appreciate the misery of being so hot as to feel sick. Not nice, but I suffered for several years before getting to move into what is essentially a revamped storage space without windows, but, on a floor that is kept around 72 degrees.

    • I sooo understand. I’m outnumbered by petite women who wear big puffy coats in our 75+ degree office. And I’m miserable if it’s above 60!
      Sympathy aside, do you have any advice on dressing to stay cool? All summer I lived in tank tops and silk crepe, but now that the weather had changed, those look incongruous. Advice?

  16. I discovered the BEST PLUS SIZE TIGHTS last season from Avenue, of all places. Opaque, control top, almost indestructible… I stocked up at the end of the season and got more for around $3/pair. As tights weather hit this year I was saddened to discover they don’t have them this season, only “light control” non-opaque stuff.

    I’m not saying I went on ebay and snagged 4 pair of last year’s for $30 but…. good tights are hard to find, man!

  17. Lady in Waiting :

    Question and Vent.

    Background: Small consulting firm I used to work for recently merged with bigger, more prestigious consulting firm with more opportunities. I began talks with former boss at the smaller firm about joining them.

    Former boss was extremely enthusiastic, though former co-worker there cautioned me that new place wasn’t the most female-friendly environment (e.g. “There are women there but they never say anything in the meetings”). However I’m in a male-dominated industry so this is not atypical.

    Met with former boss who said “I would love to have you back” and acted like my hiring was a done deal, discussed salary, benefits, responsibilities, etc. The following week I was contacted by HR, asked to come in and interview with former boss and VP in new firm. It was kind of a surprise since I already thought I was in. Interview seemed to go OK and on the way out, former boss told me to expect an offer as early as later that day. HR rep was present and gently suggested it would be more like mid-week the following week. That was 10 days ago and I’ve heard nothing.

    Question: Plan is to reach out to former boss on what will be 2 weeks after 2nd interview and ask “Has anything changed? Are we still planning to go forward?” Does that sound reasonable?

    Vent: Being in limbo like this has been really difficult. Former boss asked when I could start and I suggested early Nov due to ongoing projects at current job. He said no, we need you sooner as we are so busy. I was agreeable and immediately put a rush on those projects at my current job. At the same time, thinking that I had the job, I also invested considerable thought/planning/stress into planning for my new life which would involve a much tougher commute, longer hours, and necessity of finding a day-time dog-walker as a result. And, of course, I also stressed about giving my notice at the current job and how that would play out. Now I just sit and watch my personal email, waiting for an offer that never comes.

    • Anonymous :

      Sorry they put you through this, but it sounds like it isn’t going to happen, or if it does, it won’t be on the timeline your old boss outlined. I suspect its out of hi hands.

      Don’t count your offers before they’re hatched. I had a similar situation, and…I didn’t get the job. They tried offering me part-time consulting work hourly with the promise of “we want you, its just a matter of time”. I declined.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think 10 days is that long to wait for the offer. Follow up at the 2 week mark for sure.

    • Only 10 days out? I wouldn’t say that this is a no. It may take a bigger company longer to move through the hiring process and former boss may not be familiar with those steps. Time moves much slower to you than it does to the company in these things.

    • Anonymous :

      10 days isn’t that long (someone could have been on vacation for a week, office could have been closed for a free days because of hurricane). I could also see start date urgency changing because they were thinking of bringing you on for a project that has been delayed or cancelled.

      Ask of that said, I would reach out to your former boss with the messaging you had above, and also ask when you can expect a definitive answer.

    • Lady in Waiting :

      Thanks for the replies. I think all of these possibilities are valid. Between interview 1 and 2 they signed the papers making the merger official so it’s possible former boss lost his hiring authority and it’s now a new ballgame. Will reach out later this week and at least know if I need to move on.

  18. Jitterbug :

    How do people feel about people wearing tights made for dancers to work? I’m not talking about the pink tights ballerinas wear, or fishnets, or super shimmery tights, just regular, matte, skin colored tights from dancewear companies? I never see them mentioned here, and I want to be sure there isn’t some unwritten rule about them.

    I only ask because Danskin ultrasoft microfiber tights have been my go-to for a while. The Light Toast hue matches my skin color decently, I can get them quickly and inexpensively via Amazon Prime ($10-14 a pair, usually), and they’re machine washable! Although sometimes I have wash a few if I’m between loads and out of tights.

    Also, I’ve had some decent experiences with Simply Vera, but I’m not a fan of black tights these days.

    • Former dancer :

      I wear black dance tights regularly to work since I find them to be far more durable than regular tights. I think what you’re doing would look fine– I actually think the weave of dance tights looks a bit nicer than most other skin colored panty hose and tights.

      • Danskins are also my go-to for tights – both plain and fishnet, for their durability. as well as their look and feel.

    • I wore tan, opaque dance tights to work a few times when I had horrible oozing poison Ivy on my legs. I wanted to wear a skirt, but wanted to cover up the bandages. It wasn’t for a big client meeting or anything, and no-one in my pantyhose-required office seemed to notice.

    • emilysue252 :

      The Simply Vera tights are my go-to. I buy a couple pairs of the gray and a couple pairs of the black each fall and they last all winter and into the next season. I’ve never had them run (but a couple of commenters mention runs). The price is not bad – like $15 full price – but are almost always on sale or eligible for coupon use.

  19. Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

    Surprised not to see HUE on the tall list. I am a a bit over 5’11” and they are absolutely excellent.

  20. Anonymous :

    Wolford tights wear beautifully and they’re evenly opaque down the legs.

    DKNY also makes good tights.

    My last few pairs of Spanx tights pilled and looked awful in no time flat.

  21. Anne Shirley :

    Longtime lurker since I got the offer for my first “big girl job” out of college, but commenting for the first time today.

    I work in consulting, and have been struggling with work/life balance. I know I’m young and have no family to take care of, so it’s not like I’m missing precious kid time if I work late. And I also realize that putting in the hours now will set me up for a more successful trajectory down the road (especially when I do want to be able to come home before 8pm to see my spouse/kid). However, a mentor in college gave me this advice: “Set your boundaries starting from Day 1 because it’s nearly impossible to alter them once work has taken over your personal life, and it’s just as hard to change your own habits if you become a workaholic.” Basically, once you reply to an email on a Saturday night or past 10pm, you’ve created the expectation that you will available for weekend or late night work at the drop of a hat and you normalize that schedule for yourself. What she said makes sense, but I’m not sure how realistic that is in consulting.

    Even though I’m single and childless, I have hobbies that I want to pursue, and even potentially volunteer sometimes on the weekend with a cause I care about. At the same time, I have professional goals and want to view my job as more than just something that finances some of those hobbies. What advice would you ladies have for a newbie only a few months out of college about striking the right balance between being eager to learn and take on new projects vs. creating boundaries at work that would allow for a healthy work/life balance and fulfilling life outside of work. Is it crazy to even think that’s possible in my client service industry? I feel like all the messaging about having a successful career in college made it seem like that’s all that matters in life, but I know that’s not true.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t work in consulting, but I will say two things anyway:

      1) Do away immediately with the notion that “work life balance” has anything to do with children. It has to do with _life_, whatever that happens to mean to you. It could involve children; it could involve literally anything else. That’s true even if you have children.

      2) Your mentor was right.

    • Anonymous :

      First, never call it a big-girl job, you are trivializing yourself.

      Regarding work-life balance, I would say that your mentor’s advice on never opening the door to a late night/weekend email is off base for consulting. You can work to make it the exception, but likely not the rule. Seriously, if I had a consultant on my team that logged off and stopped at 10pm when we were trying to get something finished for the next day, it would go in their review and I would never staff them again.

      What you do need to do is be upfront about your work-life needs. No engagement manager can read your mind as to what you need. Also, keep in mind that getting the flexibility you need might cause late night emails (e.g., committing to that 7pm spin class will mean that you will need to work to 11pm to get everything out).

      You also need to accept that clients demands, however much we try to mitigate them, end up determining our lives and work. This can mean, on rare occasions, giving up things you would have preferred to do. That is a decision you need to make for yourself; some of us accept it, others do not… and both of those choices are OK.

    • Coming from my experience in law- you likely won’t have full autonomy over your schedule for a long time and you may not be able to ignore work completely over vacation. You can set good habits for yourself, but be flexible. Enjoy your free time when you have it. Be ready to work crazy hours when the project requires it. Pay attention to what your client and your superiors expect as far as turn-around time. After a while, you’ll get better at telling when someone is emailing you on the weekend because you need to hop on a project vs. weekends just happen to be when they are working but they don’t expect a detailed response right then.

    • Honestly, now is the time to pay your dues – with some caveats. There is no reason in ‘big consulting’ that you shouldn’t be able to protect your vacation time (within reason). You have a wedding/big trip and book it months in advance? Take the time off, you’re junior, you aren’t going to make or break a project. Trying to get out early one day a week for yoga/dinner with friends/etc. – should be fine within reason (obviously, not the night before a big deliverable or proposal). Try to walk outside to grab lunch, but understand that you’re probably not going to get a full hour out of the office every day.
      But for the love of god please do not be the associate who joins every single rec league, volunteer group, etc. and then insists that they cannot possibly work past 6pm no matter what. You will also probably work on weekends and evenings. Be grateful for your phone/laptop – we used to have to come in to the office to check email/get work done, I will happily trade working in my pjs from home on the couch with a glass of wine to hand instead of hauling yourself into the office. Voice what is truly important to you to your senior/engagement leader, and try to get yourself staffed on teams with good reputations – you’ll quickly find out who protects their teams and who doesn’t.
      When you do have a family/other commitments your reputation will serve you well and you’ll be able to control your own schedule quite a bit more.

      • Anonymous :

        “But for the love of god please do not be the associate who joins every single rec league, volunteer group, etc. and then insists that they cannot possibly work past 6pm no matter what.”

        Lol, lol, love this!

    • My advice (have been in consulting pre-kids; have kids now and no longer in consulting) would be to do well in your first couple of years, as that gets into your record, gets you staffed on good projects and puts you on a growth trajectory. That doesn’t mean reply to every email however late it is; and you should keep your sanity (a friend of mine actually had a nervous breakdown in her second year as consulting analyst) and do what it takes for you to be happy and refreshed. But – don’t discount that making a good impression as you start out in your career, especially in an industry like consulting, can count for a lot and can help you lean back a bit later in life if you need to.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Thanks all for the perspectives. My college mentor didn’t work in consulting, but does work in the industry that I hope to end up in longterm after a few years in consulting, so I wasn’t sure how relevant her advice was.

  22. Anonymous :

    If you are a plus plus size like myself, We Love Colors has the best size range I’ve seen for tights. They are not super expensive ($10-15 per pair); that said, I can’t really speak to quality as I historically don’t wear tights that often. My one pair did rip, but I’d still be willing to give them another shot and will probably order more as I’m wearing dresses/skirts much more with this new job and #winteriscoming.

    • DragoCucina :

      I was just going to recommend WeLoveColors .com. The color range is great, they wear and wear. The sizes are good. No waddle and the waistband doesn’t role.

  23. Any recommendations for opaque ivory tights? (tall if possible, but I’ll settle)

  24. Midwest Mom :

    Two questions

    1) I have a friend who wears tights with peep-toe shoes in the winter… I think it’s odd. What is the consensus here?
    2) I live in the lower Midwest, my boss wears patterned hose with boots all year… it’s really odd. Even when it’s 90 degrees outside. Thoughts? It’s just her style but I wonder how it’s perceived by the folks here.

    I don’t wear tights much, warmer temps here but I bought some a few years ago at H&M that are comfortable.

    • 1) Hate peep-toes with tights/hose. Looks so bizarre to me.
      2) If I saw your boss on the street with boots + tights in 90 degree weather, I’d thinks she was a freak.

    • Anonymous :

      1) Huge faux pas in my book
      2) Is your boss trying to cover up a tattoo at work? That’s the only reason I can think of for wearing boots to the office when it’s 90 degrees.

      • Midwest Mom :

        Thanks Cake, I agree on the peep-toe and tights. My boss does not have any tattoos… she is in her late 50’s and I guess she thinks it’s fashionable. Many in the community think it’s odd as well.

  25. Falke for 40 to 70 denier, Dependance on taste and weather. They are on the pricier side, but the texture looks much better on your leg than the cheaper brands – also very durable, I wash them in a netted bag in the washing machine and they keep for years!

  26. Liz in healthcare :

    Any recommendations for nude tights for women of color? I would like change up from wearing black,gray,brown from Hue to something that is neutral and could go with more items.

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