How To Wear Colored Tights: The 2024 Guide

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Wasilak.
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Tights have been a favored fashion trend for seasons now, often seen on the runway as part of a no-pants look (see: the fall 2023 collections from Miu Miu, Gucci, and Christian Siriano), but now colored tights, particularly those of the red variety, have become increasingly prominent. Appearing during the holiday party season, as well as Spring 2024 street style, bold hosiery has made a statement in the last six months. Of course, red is not the only shade bright enough to turn heads. Hailey Bieber has advocated for white and brown stockings, worn with a fitted minidress and pumps, for a night out. Meanwhile, others have showcased colorful variations underneath oversized suiting and denim, peeking out at the ankle for a fun “sock” moment. 
While colored tights have appeared on designer runways, in real life, they can exude a certain playfulness you might associate with childhood. I would know: They were practically the foundation of my growing up when I wore pairs with babydoll dresses and my pre-school uniform. This might explain why, since the trend has taken off, I felt a wave of nostalgia wash over me. I suddenly itched to get my hands on every color thanks to my “collect-them-all” mentality, but I was also hesitant to slip them on.
After sifting through my closet and singling out pieces that complemented my chosen shades — cherry red, ivory, and light and dark brown — my biggest learning was this: You don’t have to wear a thigh-skimming hemline (or straight-up briefs) to successfully pull off the colored tights trend. In fact, a small pop of color goes a long way, and my favorite outfits were the ones in which my tights accentuated the color palette but didn’t steal the show. 
Ahead, I’ve offered four ways to style colored tights this season that are not only elevated but versatile enough for many different occasions.

How To Style Red Tights

My first inclination was to team the most vibrant tights with an LBD or a pantsuit and red shoes — a simple but effective formula for anyone who is trying colored tights for the first time as an adult. But I also love the idea of juxtaposing feminine silhouettes, like a sheer lace slip and pointed-toe pumps, with a sporty hoodie or crewneck for a fun take on daytime casual. Here, the candy apple tights draw attention to the burgundy lettering on my graphic sweatshirt and the lace detailing of the dress, which gives the top and bottom half of my look equal statement power and establishes balance.

How to Style Sheer Brown Tights

These Commando tights are Espresso, but they have a sheer sheen that makes them neutral enough to serve as a foundation for styling other shades of brown (a big color trend in fashion right now!). I recommend a fitted mini dress or skirt in a similar tone and darker brown or black shoes to ground out the look. I’m not much for a super high heel, especially when I’m in a shorter hemline, and I love the added support of an ankle strap.

How to Style White Tights

These Calzedonia white tights are so sheer that, when combined with my skin tone, they give off a semi-purple tint in some lighting. For that reason, I sandwiched them between two cream pieces — a long-sleeve minidress and pumps — in a tweed texture. The monochrome moment called for a bit of definition, so I matched the black piping on my shoes to a satin mini bag I scored on Amazon a long time ago. I find black-and-white to be a forever-classic pairing.

How to Style Opaque Brown Tights

The dark brown tights offered their most functional purpose with this last look, providing warmth underneath my slitted pencil skirt and leather knee-high boots. These Calzedonia tights are 50 denier, meaning they’re a lot thicker, with microfiber that makes them super-soft to the touch. Comfort-wise, these were my favorite, and they happen to come in 16 other colorways. I coordinated them with my wool off-the-shoulder top, tucked into the waistband of my skirt. Comprised of neutrals, this look provides an effortless way to bare just a hint of your stockings.

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