Around this time every year, as surely as the leaves will fall from the trees and soup once again seems like a viable (read: non-sweat-inducing) lunch option, comes the age-old dilemma: to brave bare legs, or embrace 60 denier tights?
This soul-searching question is more central to a British winter than where to spend Christmas and what to do on New Year's Eve. Because – who are you kidding? – it's not just about practicality. It's about the kind of winter woman you want to be.
Are you hard-as-nails, ready to plunge into the depths of a cold winter night, pins exposed to the elements in deference to your pitch-perfect get-up? Or can you make peace with a saggy gusset, pulling up your tights for the hundredth time while scoffing at those risking pneumonia for the sake of a mere #ootd?
We asked two R29 staff on either side of the raging debate to make their case for tights and bare legs. Who comes out on top?
For: Jess Commons
I definitely prefer summer to winter but there is one big plus to falling temperatures and that is black tights. Considering I like to wear (mostly) all black on most days of the year, it feels like a privilege that in winter I can really take it to the next level and coat my legs in skintight black Lycra.
Obviously there are practical benefits to black tights, too. Summer, for me and my legs so pale you can see my veins, means fake tan and a mitt. It means tan-stained sheets and (one time) an orange-stained toilet seat (sorry boyfriend). I don't like tanning in the sun on account of the damage it can do so instead I stick to (hopefully natural-looking) fake tan – all summer long. But when that first leaf falls, that's the time I stash my tan away and say hello to my collection of black tights, which serve the double purpose of covering all my leg hair too.
It's worth investing in a good pair of black tights. I don't mean those £50 ones. I mean the good quality M&S ones with a high denier. They don't go saggy, they don't rip easily and they feel like a nice snug hug around your middle. One of my friends even tucks hot water bottles into hers when she's on her period, covering with a baggy jumper.
So yeah, black tights are great. Love 'em. 10/10.
Against: Jazmin Kopotsha
We’re all aware of the dark, questionably hygienic reality of black tights. You buy a few pairs from somewhere cheap and unreliable. You know better but it’s cold, and you have a skirt waiting to be worn. Obviously, two pairs out of that pack of three ladder immediately and the last remaining pair either aren’t long enough to sit comfortably at the hip, wrinkle at the knees or make you feel like a tube of sausage meat shoved into unreliable casing.
You’re itchy and your chafing inner thighs have sprouted a farm of tiny fabric bobbles which you absentmindedly pick at. Oop! There’s another rip. So you spend a tenner on some "good" tights and lie to yourself about how many times you can wear them between washes. The tight life is a stressful life, and I’m not about it. With bare legs you're free to strut, stretch and roam without fear of sartorial damage. Sure, it’s minutely colder down there on a frosty morning, but I’d rather have a shiver in my walk than battle with the most uncompromising of leg garments, thanks.