Wearing tights with open-toed shoes: yay or nay?

Times have changed, including our hose options and what we can wear them with.

Ports 1961 Fall 2011. Photo: Stefan Gosatti/

Guishem Fall 2011. Photo: Jason Kempin/

Elene Cassis Fall 2011. Photo: Frazer Harrison/

Alexa Chung pairs her hose with open-toed shoes. (Keystone)

Q: Can I wear tights and open-toed shoes?

A: In the days when sheer pantyhose were the power woman’s legwear of choice (hey ’80s, we’re looking at you!) wearing hosiery with open toed footwear was a major fashion faux pas. Fast-forward to 2011: Times have changed, including our hose options and what we can wear them with. So, yes, you can wear hosiery with open toed shoes – but only if you choose an appropriate style of footwear, and a certain type of hosiery.

Sounds like a complicated fashion formula, but getting this look right doesn’t require a degree. You just have to follow these simple guidelines.

Pick the right shoe
When pairing footwear and hosiery, it’s important to know that not every open toed style makes the cut. The best candidates have substance and are more shoe than sandal.

A pair of heels with thick straps or a plethora of skinny ones that provide decent foot coverage are great.

Peep toe high heels or booties will look chic too! A covered heel isn’t mandatory, but be wary of sling back styles. An ankle strap looks more stylish and tends to be more secure under a hosiery-clad foot. And across the board we’re talking heels or wedges, not flats. Open toed flats worn with hosiery don’t translate to a fashionable look.

Pick the right hose colour

Navy, grey and chocolate brown are neutrals that are just as effortless to wear. And jewel tones (think ruby red, rich green and deep purple) make for an easy transition into coloured hosiery and add oomph to an otherwise simple outfit.

Pass on pantyhose

Sheer, skintone-ish pantyhose puts an old-fashioned stamp on any outfit, and will instantly date a cute get up. Opaque tights are the most modern-looking leg wear, so make them your first choice.

Black is the foolproof option and will complement dresses and skirts of any colour, texture or pattern. They look stylish with something simple, like a denim skirt, and add edge to more overtly feminine pieces, such as a delicately printed frock. But with a rainbow of opaque shades to choose from, why not branch out from black?

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