How To Stop Destroying Your Tights

Nothing ruins a die-hard tights-lover's day like seeing that first patch of skin show through her favorite pair. But, short of avoiding all wooden benches, and keeping an emery board and bottle of clear nail polish on your person at all times, what can you do, right?
Actually, it turns out, a lot. As dedicated, three-season tights-wearers, we've amassed a small arsenal of real-life tips and tricks to prevent rips, runs, and snags — and, we promise, they do not involve buying $60 tights or hand-washing. Click ahead for five ways to keep your tights from going on the run.
Look for tights that are completely opaque and list the denier count on the label. Denier is a standardized measurement of your tights' thickness — so the higher the number, the less likely your pair will snag or rip in the first place.
And, you don't have to spring for Wolford tights that cost more than dinner for two, either. Topshop makes a staggeringly thick 200-denier tight for $18, and H&M's $13 100-denier black tights are this writer's go-to.
Taking off your shoes at the end of the day to discover your big toe poking through your tights is the worst kind of surprise. To prevent it, spend a few bucks more on tights with reinforced toes. Or, our favorite cheapie option: Press a summer staple into service by slipping on a pair of no-show socks before you put on your tights.
The thinner your no-show socks, the better, since you don't want bulky layers making your shoes too tight. This writer's $9 pack of three K. Bell no-show socks has lasted me two years and counting, and saved me from an untold number of big toe poke-throughs.
Oh, and pro-tip: Size matters. If you're a tall girl, look for tights labeled "tall." And, no matter your body type, if you're between sizes, choose the larger — tights stretched to the breaking point are just asking for trouble.
Jagged nails + tights = certain doom. If you need to, clip any hangnails and file before you even get dressed. Definitely follow the "scrunch up the legs from hip to toe" method of putting on tights, too. We've known some women who even insist on lotioning their legs before donning their tights, which certainly couldn't hurt.
If you are the kind of domestic goddess who hand-washes her tights in Woolite and hang-dries after every wash, you get all of the gold stars. For anyone else, mesh washing bags that allow you to throw your tights in the machine are your best friend.
Be sure to choose a bag with a super-fine weave— tights can actually work themselves out of looser-weave bags during the wash cycle.
And, we learned this one the hard way: Do not put your tights in the same washing bags as your bras. Those hooks and underwires are hell on your nylons.
This is the weirdest tip we've come across, but this writer began doing it after a friend swore it made her tights last twice as long. When you buy a new pair of tights, run them under water for a few seconds, squeeze out the excess, then freeze them overnight in a plastic bag.
When you take them out of the freezer, let them come to room temp gradually before wearing. You only have to do this prior to the first wear, and it's said to extend the life of your tights.
We were unable to find any scientific evidence behind this bit of tights-lover folklore, but anything that forestalls that first, tragic rip is worth a try in our books.

More from Styling Tips

R29 Original Series