So I bought Grazia the other day, but didn’t read it because I knew it would either bore me to frumpy tears, or force me to be shrill about the amount women are encouraged to spend on fucking handbags. But anyway, that’s not what I brought you here to talk about. I brought you here to discuss tights.
I have a love/hate relationship with tights. Come the business end of October and I’m fed up with shaving my toes, I feel practically giddy about the prospect of wearing warm things, especially the possibilities offered by opaque hosiery. I have flights of fancy where I look quirky but studious clad in a preppy dress and mustard coloured woollen tights, not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve been digging Librarian Chic since 2004 and one day I’ll live that sartorial dream.
My turbulent relationship with tights is born of the fact that they have so much promise, the boxes they come in suggest I might be able to skip lightly down a spiral staircase without looking like a tit, wear a short skirt without having to dig it out of my arse crack and wear an ‘on-trend’ and unusual colour whilst still maintaining an almost entirely black and navy blue wardrobe, like the vivacious harridan that I am.
At this point in my life, I feel to make peace with tights I need to share the numerous ways they have let me down, usually about 9 minutes before I’m due to leave the house for an occasion which would require ironing something else, were I to opt for another ensemble. A male friend recently expressed his naivety regarding tights; he was unaware that they often failed to do their most basic of jobs, staying up. Flora and I had to school this clueless man-beast as to the faffery caused by a mere metre of lycra and nylon. I suppose, in a way, I just hope that this act of catharsis will touch and educate others, as any niche support group might.
1. The Penguin
Here the tights’ gusset does not snugly nestle against one’s undercarriage. This is a problem for all those without the coveted mystery that is the ‘thigh gap’, as thighs have ample access to one another causing chafing, general clamminess, and the sufferer to amble around like a penguin. To alleviate: administer a liberal sprinkling of talcum powder, the downside of which is one has a dusty crotch which smells of National Trust gift shop.
2. The Toddler
Here the tights’ legs are too long and, although the wearer might initially manage to hoik the excess nylon into the nook between top of thigh and love mound, the excess fabric finds a way to weasel its way down to one’s feet, so the wearer resembles a sulking, sock-refusing two-year-old. The only permanent fix for this is to cut the feet off, in the style of a footless-tights-sporting Fame extra.
3. Flamingo Knee a.k.a. Classic Nora Batty
Similar to the Toddler above, but more subtle with a modest, sagging excess gathering at one’s knees (or ankles), possibly due to either a lycra deficit, the purchase of too big a size or multiple fetid wearings before washing the offending pair. Best tip in this situation is to gird one’s girdle area with an extra (and robust) pair of knickers, a la Superman, to keep sagging in check. Take care with this remedial method though as Flamingo Knee could simply be replaced by Human Centipede (see number 9).
When donning tights in a blindly thrashing haste, usually in deep dark winter pre 7am, one leg gets twisted and violently cuts off the blood supply, such that amputation seems almost inevitable. If possible calm down, take them off and start again. Don’t try to soldier on, it’ll only get worse and you’ll end up needing to be freed from howling, flailing, agony mid-morning, when really you should be have a cup of tea and complaining about something.
5. The Cowell
Excess amounts of hip to waist fabric requires the wearer to pull the waist band to just under the bosom like a boobless unitard, in the trouser style of Britain’s most spray-tanned Sneer-Monger.
6. The Pilsbury Dough Girl
Here it is insufficient waist to hip fabric which results in an overspill of tummy regardless of the weight of the wearer, generating what might be lovingly referred to as squidge, were females permitted to be any other shape but Rosie Huntington-Whitely shaped.
7. Organ Entrophy
Caused by ‘Control Top’ tights beloved by dress-wearing wedding guests everywhere. The problem is, one commonly gets dressed for a wedding at approximately 10am at the outside, and will return home reeking of Pinot Grigio and cigars anytime after 11pm. My kidneys are usually screaming by Bucks Fizz, numb by dessert and the cause of involuntary and thrusty dance moves until I’m bundled weeping into a cab. Solution: burn them, burn them all.
8. Walrus Crevice
Tight tights pulled up with gusto, causing a particularly dicey form of camel toe. Teaming a walrus crevice with a nylon thong on a balmy day will necessitate a shopping spree for a job-lot of Canesten Duo.
9. Human Centipede
Similar to number 6 but more complex, possibly exacerbated by the earlier girding tip of extra knickers, one’s flesh is bisected into juicy segments, creating the silhouette much desired by lady-anthropods everywhere.
10. Shit Goth
So ladders in tights are inevitable if you wear them enough, habitually shin over chain link fences or are unhinged and surrounded by cats. Except it never looks dishevelled in a ‘Courtney Love circa 1994’ way, oh no; never wild and devil-may-care, like a tights-clad indie sex-pot who might chug down Jack Daniels at lunchtime or rock out on a bass guitar… just guilelessly shabby, like an embarrassed dog with a new haircut.
Pahahah! Have definitely experienced about 70% of these. In regards to the Penguin, raise your hand if you’ve done the embarrassed reach-around to check your sagging crotch hasn’t fallen below your skirt hem. *raises hand*
Also, most of the others. I’ve taken to wearing knee-socks (I wear long skirts anyway) unless it’s freezing.
Am always ferreting around up my skirt when wearing tights *shakes fist at sky*
When I was in High School, we had to wear a skirt as part of a uniform. During the winter we inevitably had to wear tights, so the Penguin was a daily struggle 😛 Until I wore an extra pair of panties ON TOP of my tights xD I know it sounds super stupid but oh my god it works perfectly. I never experienced the penguin again 😛 I used to wear normal underpants for school because the skirt wasn’t tight, but even nowadays if I have to wear a tight skirt I just put a thong on top of my tights. It doesn’t show at all 😛 Other girls laugh at me when I tell them about this but HEY who’s laughing now!! Penguin-free since 2010 😛
Funniest thing I’ve seen in years!!! Ahhahaha
I want your babies. Everything I always Kew about hosiery but never had the words for.
Oh, thank fuck it’s not just me! I have a thousand pairs of tights and only three of them actually fit me well enough for them to be worn in public. And getting them on is a complete and utter pig. I remember once, when I had a rather tiring bout of anaemia, struggling so much to get on a pair of tights that I had to lay on the bed afterwards. And then I laddered the fuckers.
Hey Kraken! They just are such bastards. *sigh*
I mistakenly bought some of those Control type tights and I agree…burn them. Abominations. My question is; Has anyone found the perfect pair if tights?
If we find someone who has we will shout it from the rooftops!
Then there’s always ‘bloody big toe’, where the nail goes right through the end of the leg… instant hole in one.
Every single pair of tights I own has a big-toe hole. Even the ones I’ve sewn about fours times in an effort to fix them…it just keeps on poking through.
This is why I gave up on tights and started wearing stockings instead. They’re vastly more comfortable, and don’t give any Penguin or Cowell-type issues.
Admittedly, opaque stockings are hard to come by but I’ve found it’s possible to just buy tights, cut the legs off and overlock the edges on the sewing machine for instant stocking action.
Can’t abide stockings either tbh, I feel like I’ve been wrapped in rubber bands, I just end up faffing endlessly with it all. Gah.
Would like to contribute the “bobbly crotch” problem. Where the tights, no doubt from lack of thigh gap, develop a thigh-shredding bobble between the upper thighs. Oh, the carnage.
I gave up on the things years ago after realising they were causing my almost constant thrush, hideous things yak yak yak! Another stocking wearer here, the key to comfort is to eschew those frilly unsubstantial parodies of suspenders as sold by Ann Summers etc and invest in an industrial strength beast with 6 straps and proper metal fasteners. Wish I’d discovered this years ago….
Hahahaha I haven’t ever laughed so much over a pair of tights, you’ve got penguin crotch, elephant legs, you know where your tights seem to gather and make ugly lines across your legs you’ve got caterpillar fit, where the tights suck you in, in one place but bulge you out in another, bobbly crotch and the Simon Cowel type.
Oh my God I’ve just read the comment about the hipster tights which must mean no ass and then the awful moment when you realise that your tights have started to roll and looks bigger than the roll of fat that your trying to hide in the first place and then you have to pick something up to hide your tummy, while you walk like you’ve had an accident to some hiddy corner so you can yank them tights up without embarrassing yourself, but it only lasts for a few minutes before the whole thing starts all over again.
Next time I’m coming back as a 6 ft skinny Italian model or a man instead of a 5 ft 1 size 16
All these comments should be saved up and returned to me so I can write a book about women and tights lol xxx
Brilliant. In one word: I howled (err, that’s two)
My contribution would be the dried bit of grass stuck under your tights but about half way down your thigh. No idea how it could have got there, far less where it was from. Discovered at beginning of commute on very public transport. Joy.
Oh yes the rogue foliage issue…complete mystery.
Funny but so true! So many times I found myself in at least 5 of the above situations! Live your drawings too!
I once had a horror experience with a pair of hold ups that only performed their duty for about an hour. This meant that by the time I had undertaken part of the journey to my Grandmother’s funeral, they appeared to have lost all elasticity and grip and were determined to make friends with the ground. The trip from the train station to the nearest department store is a matter of minutes. However, instead the whole charade took at least half an hour as I shuffled between doorways trying to hitch them up behind the cover of my suitably tall husband (he has his uses but spent rather too much time laughing at my predicament). I tried a few different styles of walking that would perhaps decrease the risks of them sinking ankle-wards but to no avail. I also attempted to shamble along clutching them in a discreet yet secure fashion. Not possible, it transpires. I’d have taken them off and binned them were it not a particularly foul and chilly January day. By the time I reached the department store and their rack of beautiful, marvellout tights, I was so worried about being late I grabbed the first pair I saw and rushed off to the ladies’ with them. What had I bought? Control top granny tights – they were that unusual dark tan colour that old ladies wear and so thick! They were also so tight that there was certainly no danger of me surviving the funeral without letting slip a few pained tears. There was also no danger of me being able to eat any of the buffet afterwards, such was the garotting effect of the waistband. Tights. What joys they bring.
I’ve got a pair of ‘hipster’ tights, which I bought thinking I could avoid the cowell. Well, I guess they were made for people with no ass, because they fit fine in front, but I can only get them about half-way up over my relatively large but not ginormous rear, and they sliiiiiiide down throughout the day.
Love it! May I add to your list?
Whereby the tights mysteriously begin to roll down from their starting height on thd tummy (in my case between the upper and lower tummy bulges), down to below the lower tummy, and then slowly, threateningly, continue to roll down to a position below the buttocks. The roll of nylon is by now quite thick and the only answer is to stand in a discrete place and put your hand down the back of your skirt to carefully unfurl the tights back upwards. In the worst case scenario you are in a dress and there is a very real possibility that the tights are unreachably travelling down beyond the knees towards humilation.
This is the most evil of all the tight varieties.
You are not alone. I need to modify the list to add The Roll Down, Rogue Foliage, Blue Toe AND Sparkly Legs (where leg hair pops through opaque tights giving an excellent disco effect).
OMG I nearly died reading this it is hilarious and entirely true!
Oh God yes, I have been in all these situations! I now wear big knickers over the top of my tights – they stay up, plus I avoid needing those damned control top ones cos big knickers flatten your silhouette too 😀
All of these!!! Not to mention trying to find a shade of “flesh” or “skin coloured” tights you can get away with if you are not caucasian!!
Brilliant, this! But You’ve left off my biggest gripe, which has to be the toe seam which always ends up under your toes or twisted. This always happens to me and I end up taking my shoes off 10 times a day to put it right, which works for about 10 minutes!!
i wear panty girdle ontop of my tights and cotton knickers underneath – they keep my tights up under my pleated skirt
Another to add to the list – the Panty Thief. Where you end up with a pair determined to sliiiiiide down from wherever under your bust you’ve yanked them to to make the leg part an acceptable length (uncomfortable, but avoiding the Nora Batty) – but as a result, while the waistband is now sitting more comfortably around the narrowest part of your waist, you are left with wrinkles round your knees AND your pants sitting with their waistband in the region of your upper thigh, and an ostensibly bare backside under the gossamer thin fabric of aforementioned tights. Making you terrified to bend over unless you’re wearing something well below knee-length, for fear this will be discovered. Particularly troublesome when wearing garments of the sort of fabric that shows pantylines, and a situation made all the more ironic as it is most frequently panties of the “no-VPL” variety that suffer this.
My advice is to put on a firm, stretchy pair of tights or pantyhose over a full cut panties and over the tights to put on a very firm high waist long leg panty girdle or long leg panty corselette (Rago or Va bien) and over that a silky pair of pettipants, or directoire knickers, All of that under the two or three petticoats , an underskirt and a full dress.
I haven’t laughed so much in a while. I only wanted to know why MY tights wrinkled round my ankles I did not realize there were so many problems with tights
I find Opaque suspender tights never come down I have worn them for years Wear fullsize knickers in winter and summer you can wear a thong that keeps you cool
I have given up almost completely. Leggings and boots with ankle socks below tunics, trousers, or pop socks and thigh-separating lovely almost Victorian linen drawers under dresses. None of my mundane skirts or dresses are shorter than high ankle/lower calf. Historic costumes are a different issue, but I cheat there whenever I can. Cotton and lycra pop socks rather than silk stockings with garters for anything pre 1910. I do have some French Knickers and a proper suspender belt to go with the 1920’s and 40’s seamed stockings.
I do own a very few precious pairs of tights that actually fit. On 99% of the occasions where I could wear them, I don’t. I’m saving them because I cannot for the life of me remember where I got them!