Besides the obvious reason to protect our bodies from the elements, the purpose of clothing has always been to present the best versions of ourselves. Up until recently, that meant creating the illusion that our legs are skinnier, butts smaller, boobs bigger, “x body insecurity and image of beauty society deemed on trend”. But we no longer spend our precious brain cells worrying about such things – we haven’t for some time now.

In winters past, black tights were the ultimate neutral pants alternate due to their ability to detract attention away from the legs. But this season we’re doing a lil’ switcheroo. We’re bringing the focal point to our wonderful legs that enable us to walk, run, and go all of the places we need to go. We love them so much, why did we ever want to hide them in the first place? Our new all-about-legs philosophy has us exploring the many printed tights out there, from designer options to looks that you can DIY-customize with pairs you may already own. We’re also in the camp that most things are better in twos. So we enlisted two flexible babes – professional contortionists, in fact! – to showcase this season’s brightest and most whimsical tights while simultaneously performing editorial trust falls/leans/handstands.

Left: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, $425, available at Shopbop; Foot Traffic Metro Retro Tights, $18, available at Foot Traffic; Loeffler Randall Jade Kitten Mule, $375 $225, available at Loeffler Randall.Photographed by Jess Richmond
H.K.M. Gabriel Blouse, $274, available at H.K.M.; Danskin Camisole Leotard, $36, available at Amazon; Molly Goddard Bevan Tights Warp Rainbow, $101.95, available at Molly Goddard.Photographed by Jess Richmond

Kaleidoscope Of Funk

It’s difficult to wear psychedelic prints without giving off a specific ~vibe~. So lean into it, and don’t be afraid to pile on the colors. Graphic tights made their most recent debut on British designer Molly Goddard’s FW18 runway. But even with their unexpected and bright prints, they weren’t the main focal point of the looks. As a corrective to this injustice, we styled them here to be the star of the show. Find a complementary pair for a friend; you’ll be able to trust them 100% to hold your legs as you handstand to the skies.

Marianna Senchina Asymmetric Midi Dress, $412.50, available at Shopbop; We Love Colors White Striped Tights, $12.50, available at We Love Colors; Trademark Knot Adrien Slide, $278, available at Trademark. Photographed by Jess Richmond
Rhode Resort dress, Hysteria By Happy Socks Robin Tights, $32, available at Hysteria By Happy Socks; Loeffler Randall Coco High Heel Knot Mule, $297, available at Loeffler Randall; Area gloves. Photographed by Jess Richmond

Been-There-Done-That Prints

If swan-diving head first into the printed tights trend isn’t for you, start with prints that you’re already familiar with. Stripes? Easy, we’ve already mastered it for our shirts. Why not throw it on our legs? Dots? Our middle school art teacher wore these with aplomb while teaching us how to watercolor a lake scene. Hence the tie-dyed frock we styled them with for optimal cool art teacher vibes. Curb your nervousness about bright horizontal striped tights by wearing them with a midi length dress that’s equally loud. The length will ensure that the attention stays on the dress but add movement, and your tights will peek out for a surprise.

Right: Madewell x Maiami Checker Big Sweater, $460, available at Madewell; We Love Colors Checkerboard Tights, $5, available at We Love Colors; MISBHV dress; Brother Vellies heels.Photographed by Jess Richmond
The Knitter The Ugly Intarsia Wool Sweater, $645, available at Net-A-Porter, Emilio Cavallini Two Toned Chess Tights, $26, available at Emilio Cavallini; Loeffler Randall Jade Kitten Heel, $225, available at Loeffler Randall. Photographed by Jess Richmond

Decked Out Checks

Depending on your experience, the checkered print might evoke memories of chess club, or race car driving, or just teenage days spent at Hot Topic in the mall. Whatever feelings the pattern may elicit, follow them. Embrace the Indy 500 vibe with even more checks on top and a futuristic bandage dress. Or match your checks with a chunky sweater and zebra print bodysuit for an out-of-the-box “going out” look this winter. We’re strong believers that tights can totally be pants (see another example here).

Tibi Heels, Falke Beeswax Tight, $53.45, available at Falke. Photographed by Jess Richmond
Alix Forsyth Bodysuit, $295, available at Alix; The Frankie Shop skirt; Area fishnet tights; Brother Vellies Cher Dust Holiday Mules, $495, available at Brother Vellies; Agmes Ana Earrings, $415, available at Agmes. Photographed by Jess Richmond

Do-It-Yourself Graphics

We combined two things that are near and dear to our heart: layering and DIY. The formula for these “graphic tights” is simple: layer one pair of fishnet tights over another pair of plain colored tights, and ta-da. Your legs are now two mesmerizing landscapes of textures. Patterned tights come in lots of variations, but fishnet tights have just the same amount depending on the colors and thickness of the fishnet. Wear something with Angelina Jolie-high slits to show off your smart layering trick (and for standing splits, as shown here).

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