Tight Swap, Take Two

February 15th, 2011 § 51 comments

Tight Swap - Gray

In last year’s Fashion 101 on tights, I offered an example of how merely switching out tights could change the entire appearance of an outfit. This year, I thought I’d try out the same idea again, but with a different dress and shoe combination.

(As an aside, I really love the substantial ponte knit and demure shape of this little gray sheath, but it’s significantly shorter than what I usually wear. I don’t think I’ll be teaching in this dress until I let the hem down, but even for running about town over the weekend I felt…abbreviated.)

In any case, onward. The photo above shows the gray dress paired with gray tights. The monochrome scheme does mitigate my hem length issues, and I love how the browns of the belt and boots warm everything up. A touch more interesting than wearing black tights, but still cool and simple.

Next up, patterned tights. Meh. This is probably my least favorite look, not because I don’t like my patterned tights, but because I think they were the wrong value for this medium gray sheath. I think a darker patterned tight would have worked a little better, no?

Tight Swap - Patterned

Given my love of grellow, I definitely wanted to try pairing this soft gray dress with punchier saffron tights. I love the idea of these tights in theory, but sometimes when I wear them I get a little self conscious about maybe looking like I have Muppet legs. Here, though, I think they work well with the warm cognac boots to create a little bit of punch without breaking up my leg line too harshly.

Tights Swap - Saffron

I think this gray and red combination is one of my favorite iterations. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m channeling some Tania from What Would a Nerd Wear and her “gred”. There’s something classic but fresh and the tights look purposeful, not like a tacked on afterthought.

Tight Swap - Red

Finally, blue tights. I was prepared to not like this…but I really do. I don’t usually think of cobalt as being a “spring” color, but there’s a lot of it around this year and I think it’s a little unexpected with the gray and navy.

Tight Swap - Royal Blue

Do you have a favorite?

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§ 51 Responses to Tight Swap, Take Two"

  1. Jennifer H. says:

    I really love the red ones. I need to add red tights to my shopping list!

  2. Amy says:

    Can’t help it–love the red ones! (I’m actually wearing red tights in my post today, too.) And I also agree with your take on the blue–I don’t think I would have thought about dark blue tights (as I don’t have the love affair with navy that you do), but it’s a gorgeous mix of neutrals, and the tights are so much more interesting than plain black. Note to self: need navy tights!

  3. Rebekah says:

    My favorite is definitely the yellow! Although I know what you mean about the muppet legs. I wore yellow tights just like that only once last year because a coworker called me Lisa Simpson, and I still dwell on that.

  4. HokieKate says:


    And in honor of tights week, I am wearing my brown cable-knit tights today. Tomorrow will be something fun to teach in, maybe fishnet on teal?

  5. Erin says:

    I love the blue!

  6. Elisabeth says:

    I love the yellow and the red! Strangely, although they’re bright, since the yellow tights are fairly thick and they don’t show any skin peeking through, they seem more “solid” and mitigate the skirt length. I’m already thinking about how I can copy this tutorial! I’m going to try fuchsia tights.

  7. Bettina says:

    I have to say I’m a fan of the red and the blue. I actually have some dark blue tights knocking about in the back of a drawer that I almost never wear, so perhaps this spring it’s finally time to parade them around a bit more often.

  8. Jannell says:

    love love LOVE the yellow… I say rock the muppet legs ;)

  9. laura says:

    the patterned tights are ok.. but my fave has got to be the yellow ones!

  10. Bella says:

    I have a similarly short sheath dress that I am wearing in today’s post. I made the mistake of wearing it to teach a few weeks ago and I was uncomfortable for two hours to say the least. Needless to say,this dress is now only getting worn if I am not leaving my office. :)

  11. I’m loving the red as well. I do really appreciate these 101s- it is so helpful to see different takes on the same items paired next to eachother. I wore my craziest pair of tights yesterday- bright yellow patterned- and was pretty happy with the result.

  12. spacegeek says:

    I like the yellow and the blue. But honestly, the only one I think I’d be brave enough to leave the house in would be the grey tights. :-)

  13. MC says:

    Am I the ONLY one who likes the grey tights the best!?!? I think the monochromatic look is the most chic…all the other ones (with the exception of the blue tights) look ridiculous.

  14. Megan says:

    Can’t decide if I like grellow or gred better. Man, I need to get some more colorful tights!

  15. Grace says:

    The red is far and away my favorite, but I agree about the cobalt–those work well. I think a dark purple would be great, too.

  16. Luinae says:

    The yellow tights are my favorite- they make such a great color combo!

  17. Trystan says:

    I like all of them *except* the yellow (a bit too Muppet legs for my taste, sorry!), & I really like seeing how the outfit looks with the different tights. What a great way to remix by just swapping out one item. Thanks!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    The yellow and the blue tights are great!! This was a great swap out – very interesting.

    Can I ask a dumb question? When wearing tights, do you usually wear a slip underneath the skirt? Or is it usually not a problem? I live somewhere where it is quite warm, and I never learned how best to wear tights! :)

    • admin says:

      Elizabeth, I had to learn about this too! If a skirt or dress is not lined, then I always wear a skirt slip underneath. I find that it helps prevent bunching and static. And if a skirt is too tight for a slip…then that’s my cue to consider whether or not the skirt it too tight, period :)

      - E

  19. Rose says:

    I love the red, blue, gray, and yellow tights with this outfit!! I am also in love with your patterned tights.

    Where did you get that dress? It seems like it would be a great piece to add to my closet too! I mean it can mix and match with everything.

  20. Emma says:

    I like the last best, the blue.

    I also commend you on this post, because putting on/taking off tights is one of my least favorite things in the world!

  21. emi says:

    i LOVE the yellow, it’s by far my favorite (and i rarely like colored tights – but the yellow is perfect)

  22. Leah says:

    I like the yellow and blue the best. The yellow ones really surprise me. I liked them in your previous tight swap too, E. Although I like the long line that the grey tights create, I think they would look better if they were more opaque. I was doing my own little tight swap at home last night with a new black and white sweater dress, and I was thinking the same thing about it being too short to teach in. In fact, for teaching I may even wear it more like a tunic over pants. I won’t be able to lengthen it because it doesn’t have a hem. Thanks for the fun post!

  23. KimbraSue says:

    I really like the blue. They give a chilaxed vibe with some personality.

  24. T. says:

    Blue for sure, followed closely by gray. I think the yellow and the patterned are too prominent and distracting.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    How to choose a favorite? They are appropriate for such different times. I think I like the cobalt best, actually. This is a great feature!

  26. ismay says:

    I think the blue is the most elegant: more interesting than grey, but still sophisticated enough to be professional. The red is lots of fun, but for a more casual setting.

  27. kimmie says:

    I really like this sheath dress, even if it’s a little shorter than what you’re used to. It looks really good on you, E!

    I’d choose the blue tights, just because I’m still so scared of drawing attention to my legs.

  28. Mary says:

    First of all, let me say how impressed that you wiggled in and out of all of these tights!

    Second of all, I love the patterned tights! (But, I agree – not with that outfit). What would you wear those with? Ideas?

  29. A. says:

    I like the gray, a lot. I think that it makes the skirt look longer, and the color combo of blue, gray and brown is subtle and professional. I think that only in the gray could you teach–perhaps in the blue. Even then, I agree, its a little short. But, thank goodness for thick hems! I’m also tall, and have called on the lady who does alterations at the local dry cleaner to let down the hems in my professional dresses quite often lately, especially as I’ve gotten some new dresses to wear for teaching, to interviews, and on campus visits. Usually I do these things myself, but for a nice dress, I think that getting the hem professionally tailored is money well-spent.

  30. Jess says:

    I love the blue tights! I think they look great with the grey and brown.

  31. Karissa says:

    You had me at Muppet legs. Ha!

    Seriously, though, I loved the yellow and the cobalt. One gray dress and so many options. I think if you would have switched out the sweater that the other combinations might have pleased my eyes more, but no worries. The yellow was great. Definitely your color, E.

  32. hmm i actually am really liking the patterned tights the best! darker would maybe be better but i think it makes the length of the dress more fun and awesome than “hey! i’m short!”

  33. Jessie says:

    I think the red is my favorite look! I’ve been throwing my navy tights on with everything lately (even with this crazy purple-y dress) so I’m on board with that one too.

    You know, in NY Penn Station there’s a tights store. Random, no? It’s not huge, but it’s pretty big for just tights. But it looks amazing. I have to stop in and stock up. Tights are the only reason I put up with winter, haha!

  34. Katia says:

    Does anyone know where I can get tights in cute colors that actually fit me for a reasonable price? I’m a size 12/14.

  35. JBC says:

    Yes, where did you get the dress? I have a black ponte sheath that I wear the heck out of and I’m trying to find more ponte…a gray version would be another great “blank canvas” for accessorizing!

    Oh, and I like the gray and blue tights best.

    • admin says:

      It’s from Banana Republic Factory store. I bought it just before Christmas, though, so it will either be gone or perhaps on clearance now. The regular BR has a gray ponte sheath right now for full price, but it has a ruffled neck. Let us know if you find a great plain gray ponte sheath elsewhere — I know lots of other folks would love to have one too!

      - E

  36. Julia says:

    I’m all about the yellow tights! They’re beautiful with the gray dress.
    I have a pair in the exact same color and I too love them but sometimes worry that I look like I got lost on the way to Sesame Street. You’ve made me bold enough that I think I’m going to have to break out my pair tomorrow.

  37. Dashielle says:

    I am having similar length issues- how short is too short for teaching compared to attending seminars/wandering the department?

    • admin says:

      Dashielle, I’d be curious to hear what others think. I’m relegating this dress to non-campus for now. I prefer my skirt length to be at or around the knee when teaching or running about my department. But, I know that there are a lot of other folks who would be fine going shorter. And apparently there must be offices where such hand span above the knee lengths are okay, since stores have kept right on selling office-type clothing with shorter hemlines. For me, it’s less about a specific hem length and more about overall self-consciousness and confidence. Do you have a rule of thumb?

      • I most definitely aim for knee length, especially when I’m teaching. If I’m just sitting in class, I allow myself a little more leeway, but I don’t feel comfortable standing in front of twenty-six 18yr olds in anything short. Same goes for too tight, too revealing, to flashy, etc. I think it has to do with creating an attitude and set of expectations via your clothing about how you want to be treated, viewed, etc.

        Something I have trouble with, though, is what to do with skirts or dresses that are long enough when I’m standing up but too short when I’m sitting. This has to do with the shape, drape, and fit of each item, but I often feel very exposed when sitting down in something that I’m super comfortable standing in. Does anyone else have this problem?

  38. I love the red and yellow! Though with those colors, the outfit seems more fit for “fun” times as opposed to the more conservative look of the gray tights.

  39. oh my.. the patterned one has be going bonkers. I want to figure out how I can pull those off! Awesome pairing.

  40. Brooke says:

    I actually love the patterned tights with this – I think they’re fun but not too crazy. The cobalt has a nice relaxed vibe, and you look confident in them, which is a big plus. :)

  41. Brooke says:

    Love the red ones too – classic but oh-so-happy!

  42. [...] a surprising dash of color! Plus, I am super inspired by the tights week going on at Academic Chic, particularly E.’s dose of colored tights and now just wish I had a few more colorful pairs to add to the [...]

  43. [...] I was inspired by E.’s great post about how different colored tights can really change an outfit and I got to thinking about how we have been shunning good old-fashioned stockings (aka nylons, [...]

  44. [...] making fun of midwesterners, by the way. I’m just saying.) If I showed up for work wearing bright tights, or a ruffly dress or white ankle pants with platform shoes, people would gingerly ask questions [...]

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