Update: Black tights: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Since winter is coming (even though it might not feel like it), we tested out five pairs (of varying prices, textures, and fits) to know exactly which ones you should be adding to your wardrobe this season. And, for any that have sold out, we've provided some similar alternatives. Consider this your cheat sheet to keep your legs warm as the weather gets cold.
This story was originally published on October 29, 2014.
It doesn't matter if you only wear black tights when you really need to or if you've advanced to Zooey Deschanel-levels of doesn't-matter-if-it's-July-give-me-my-tights levels of obsession: No one likes a flimsy pair of hose. And, if you're a woman who falls on the clumsier end of the spectrum, holding onto a pair of tights for an entire season feels like a feat that deserves a merit badge.
We've adopted habits to get around accidental snags (raise your hand if you only file your nails after cutting them during black tights season). We've avoided buying certain clothes and shoes, and even choose to avoid suspect seats out of a fear of snags. Add to that our insistence on only wearing truly opaque tights that 1. don't give us crotch sag, and 2. can actually make it through a spin cycle without unraveling, and you're dealing with a set of variables that can make one seriously consider the Taylor Momsen school of style.
The hosiery market isn't a small one, and there are literally thousands of weaves, blends, elasticities, and fibres to confound you. But, among them all are a handful of cult faves to which tights-wearers have sworn allegiance (and if you know a tights-wearer, you know that she's fanatical). We stretched these tights to the limit, committed ourselves to abusing our legs, and provided our honest-to-Lycra reviews.