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.