Reader Question: Wearing Tights With Open-Toed Shoes

Last week, I received this email from Ingrid along with a picture of her fabulous new two-toned shoes:

"Hi Lisa,

I want to let you know that I immensely enjoy reading your blog :D.

I'm not great at matching clothes so I would like your advice on something. I bought these black with white trim open toe pumps and I would like to wear it with my grey sweater dress. Is it wrong to wear tights with these shoes because I'm a bit uncomfortable showing off most of my legs because the dress is short when I sit down. Have you seen anyone dressing like that before? Is it okay to wear tights? Thanks for your opinion Lisa :)"

Ingrid, I love your taste in shoes! I think tights would look fantastic with your new heels. Tights with peep-toe shoes were actually a major trend during autumn 2008, and as the economy falters and people try to coax more versatile looks out of things they already own, I imagine that this look won't be derided by the fashion police anytime soon. (But then again, who gives a hoot what the fashion police think?)

In fact, the only drawback I can think of is more practical than aesthetic. High heels stay on your feet in part because they adhere to your bare skin. You don't get the same effect with tights on. Try wearing tights with your shoes around the house as a test drive. If the shoes don't constantly slip off and reduce you to a shuffling mess, then you're fine. If they do slip off, you might want to consider black opaque leggings instead.

The best and most versatile option would be opaque black tights. Wear them with your gray sweater dress, yes, but pair them with skirts and dresses of all colours, with close-toed pumps and tall boots--they'll go with so many things you'll want to reach for them every time you dress up. The Bay, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel are all great places to look for this wardrobe essential. If the package doesn't say "opaque," look for a high denier count, which indicates that the nylon fibres used in the tights are thicker and the tights won't look so sheer.

Urban Outfitters sells their black opaque tights for $12 a pair, or 2 pairs for $20.

Feeling more adventurous? Try opaque tights in bright colours like hot pink, electric blue, or purple. Layer a pair of black lacy tights over the colourful ones to tone down the colour and add visual interest and depth. (I saw Karla do this once and I've been dying to try it ever since.)

Opaque pantyhose in Sangria (AA), $16; lace fishnet tights from UO, $14.

One final word: If you're looking for a pair of tights to wear with a sweater dress specifically, go for nylon/spandex blends that are smooth and silky to the touch rather than knit tights in cotton and wool. In my experience, wearing two knits together creates friction and static electricity, which means that your skirt will probably bunch together and ride up.

Do you have a style question you'd like an answer to? Email me at!


  1. That's really great advice you gave! =) Those two toned heels Ingrid bought have such a gorgeous vintage feel to them, i'm sure they'll look great with black or even brown or burgundy tights.

    Heh thanks for the advice on the tights to go with sweater dresses. ;p sure wouldn't want anything riding up by accident

  2. OMG HELP ME RONDA! haha I brought like six pairs of tights with me and have put holes in all of them cause we run around in stocking feet arrrrg I just bought a new pair that I thought were thick and good quality and I already put a hole in the toe aaaaaarg! haha Hope you are well..and writing me a letter!

  3. Haha Anthea, I have the same problem! I wonder if just sewing up those teeny holes would work because it seems a shame to just throw an otherwise good pair of tights away.

  4. Such sound and thorough advice, L. You're a pro through and through. And I, too, adore Ingrid's new shoes!

  5. To Anthea and MizzJ, I don't really depends on the tights' material. If it's very sheer sewing might snag and pull on the material a lot and result in more holes. For knit tights it would probably work well. You'll have to try it out and report back! After all, if they already have holes in them you have nothing to lose. ;)

  6. Very cool guide. I am a fan of opened toed shoes and tights...I almost feel as if it extends the whole look.

  7. Perfect answer, Lisa! I've actually never worn tights with shoes before (very un-fashionista of me)... but your post is making me think twice. Great advice!

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