If you were to write someone a guide to pantyhose for work, what would you say? Reader H wonders, and since pantyhose is one of the biggest topics we’ve talked about through the years, I thought I’d give it a go.
Here’s H’s question:
Hi! I know you write a lot about pantyhose/tights/stockings–sorry to bring it up again–but I am so confused about them. I grew up in Southern California where no one wears pantyhose, ever, and tights only as a fashion statement or on very rare cold days. I know you’re supposed to wear nude pantyhose to an interview and in very formal situations like court, but on a regular day in the office, is it okay to wear sheer or opaque black tights in the office? How about with a suit in the office? Or with a pencil skirt? Are there color rules e.g. no black tights with a black suit? I suppose what I really need is a Dummy’s Guide to Wearing Stockings. Thanks so much for any sort of information that could help sort me out
We have talked about this a lot, but I still see a lot of confusion about it. So let’s get into it — I’m curious to hear what readers say.
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Wear nude pantyhose when:
You’re interviewing, you’re in a formal situation (like court), or it’s a big day where you’ll see lots of big wigs.
Another good time to wear nude pantyhose: when your legs don’t have any color yet (from sun or fake tan) and you want them to have a more even consistency.
Also: wear them whenever you want to. (Here’s our last big guide to wearing pantyhose in the summer.)
Wear bare legs when:
It is not a big day, AND you have seen a superior or mid-level do it at your office so you know it’s acceptable in your office. (See our general breakdown of workwear don’ts for the summer.)
If you commute in flip-flops or other sandals, it’s good to get in the habit of changing into traditional pumps or flats as soon as you get to work.
Wear tights when:
it’s the dead of winter and you need/want the warmth, or it’s a more casual day at the office.
Yes, you can wear them with suits — however, know your office; note this is usually more of an “everyday” look, not an “I’m going to court today” look.
(The most formal look is always going to be nude-for-you pantyhose plus a skirt suit.)
Fleece-lined tights do exist.
Do not wear dark tights when it is hot outside.
Wear sheer tights or pantyhose:
When you want to, but particularly during spring/fall where opaque tights are too dark. Back when I started this blog, I always wore off-black hose when interviewing — and I did just fine in terms of callbacks and offers. Still, a lot of people equate this either as a more casual look, or a nighttime, almost sexy look — so know your office.
Color rules for pantyhose for work:
I was going to say “there aren’t any!” and then I realized I meant “wear black, gray, or nude-for-you.” Some general rules of thumb beyond that:
- skip white stockings unless you are under 12
- skip colorful stockings unless it is the weekend (or you can do this monochromatic look, which I still think is awesome)
- note that tights with patterns (swiss dots, ribbed knits, fishnets, lace, etc) are always going to be more casual
- we had a whole post on what tights to wear with navy skirts
Some cute colored tights for work (2020 update!):
Ladies, would you agree with these guidelines on pantyhose for work? This all varies widely by region and office, of course, so while commenting, please leave a general, broad note about where you’re located and what type of office you work in. Thank you!
Social media picture credit: Shutterstock / ludmilafoto.