Which 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., Wolford, Falke)? One brand that I have had luck with at the lower end is the Assets brand by Spanx, which you can get at Target.
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. Some of our favorite tights for work are these:
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.
Psst: As of 2022, some of our favorite foundational garments include this line of waist-shapers, these comfy shorts to prevent chafing while wearing skirts without hose, this full slip for wrap dresses and shirt dresses, this half-slip to prevent clinging, these pantyhose, and this bra.
I’ve always been fine with the more affordable Vanity Fair slips I’ve bought at discount stores; 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 ton of beautiful half-slips. 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.
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