How to Style Patterned Tights

Tights are a stylish option for fall and winter because they add a layer of warmth and a dose of fashion. Skip the basic sheer stockings or solid colored pantyhose and try a pair of patterned tights to up your style game. It can be tricky at first to decide how to wear them, so try a few of the tips below to get started. Once you've found your groove and blended these ideas with your own unique style, you'll be a patterned tights-wearing machine! Step out in confidence and strut your stuff with these trendy tips. 

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A Quick Peek

Tights in Paris
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 26: Fashion Stylist Megan Gray wears Balenciaga shoes, Rick Owens skirt and Wolford stockings on day 2 of Paris Collections: Women on February 26, 2014 in Paris, France. Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

Dip a toe into the patterned stockings trend by letting them peek out of a midi length skirt or dress. If you want a little extra flash as you walk, wear a skirt with a slight back slit, which will reveal the pattern on your calves.

Style tip: keep your stockings in line with the rest of your outfit. A bold or geometric pattern like the one seen here works with a structured skirt, strong shoes, and a bold coat. If you want a softer look, try a floral or watercolor print peeking out of a pleated or flowing skirt in a coordinating color.

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Showy Skirt

Fendi Model in tights
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 21: A model walks the runway at the Fendi show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018 on September 21, 2017 in Milan, Italy. Venturelli/WireImage/Getty

Want to show off your tights? Wearing a mini skirt or other short skirts is one of the best ways to show more leg, and more of your tights. Or, try a longer skirt with a dramatic high slit.

Diane Pollack, a wardrobe consultant & personal stylist in New York City, suggests keeping things simple: "An important thing to keep in mind is that you want to utilize tights to enhance a basic outfit. If your skirt or bottom of your dress already has many colors, patterns or textures they may compete with it." Want to really keep it simple? Try a monochromatic color scheme. 

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Polka dot tights and shorts in Paris
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 02: A model wears a black pull over, a blue short, and black boots, outside the Balmain show, during Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018, on March 2, 2017 in Paris, France. Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

If a skirt isn't your thing, try a pair of shorts. You can choose a tailored pair made of satin, or a cotton chino, or even a velvet pair for a more refined look. Wear a pair of loafers or a smart pump on your feet for a daytime or work look.

Or, play your edge. Tiffany Reese, the ​Stitch Fix Styling Marketing Lead, has this style advice to share: "Partner your favorite distressed cutoff shorts with patterned tights, classic white tee, cozy scarf, moto jacket and booties for an edgy approach. Leopard, mesh polka dot, and moody floral patterned tights are getting extra love this season."

Choose a classic black pump or short bootie if you want to show off more leg. Or, choose a tall boot or over the knee style to let a little thigh peek out.

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Sandals and Open Shoes

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: A model, shoe detail, walks the runway during the Miu Miu Paris show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 on October 3, 2017 in Paris, France. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Don't shortchange your tights! If your pattern continues down the entire leg and onto the foot, let it show. This style idea comes in handy if you're wearing a longer skirt or pant and want your patterned tights to peek out a bit. Try letting a fun stocking peek out of the bottom of rolled up jeans, or show off your ankles in a demure skirt. No one says you have to keep your feet covered! Let the rest of your limbs share in the fun of pattern play. 

Some high-end fashion looks, like those on the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2018 runway, included bold tights with shiny flat sandals and strappy high heels. The open shoe look revealed funky patterns in bold color pairings. For a more everyday approach, try a classic black open dress sandal with a black on black polka dot tight. It's sophisticated and easy to tip toe (literally) into this fashion trend. 

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Glam and Sexy

Pearl Garter Stockings by Ludique available at Anya Lust. Anya Lust

Want something more sultry? Try a pearl pattern for a sexy spin on patterned tights. Whether you wear them in or out of the bedroom, they will glam up any night.

Krystle Kotara, whose official title is "Romantic Living Connoisseur," is the founder of Anya Lust​ and states: "When you wear statement stockings, you have to let them do the talking. Style the gorgeous Pearl Garter Stockings with a rich, yet simple, burgundy dress for the holidays. A pair of chunky velvet heels will add to the glamour.”  Don't forget to include your own, natural sass!

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Print on Print

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22: Kendall Jenner walks the runway at the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018 on September 22, 2017 in Milan, Italy. Getty/Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage

Go for it. Mix and match patterns and prints like polka dot tights and a striped dress. Try a tartan skirt and zig zag hosiery. Mix it up! You may take a style cue from high fashion brand, Versace, and match your tights to the rest of your printed outfit. Fashion can be fun, and you get to make the rules. 

Stitch Fix Stylist, Jennifer D, agrees. She says: "Make it a print combo! Take print mixing to your tights looks with a fall floral dress and dot print tight or a striped dress and diamond print tights. Make sure your prints differ in size to get that pairing just right."

To keep the print on print look from getting too complicated, stick to a similar or complimentary color scheme. It will provide a more cohesive look.

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Ripped Jeans

Fishnets and ripped jeans
WANTAGH, NY - AUGUST 19: Bea Miller performs during Day One of 2017 Billboard Hot 100 Festival at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on August 19, 2017 in Wantagh City. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Billboard Magazine

Let your patterned tights play peek-a-boo through a pair of ripped jeans. It's a fun way to show off bits and pieces of your tights. Fishnet tights have been the go-to for this look, but a bold plaid or floral stocking is another way to try this trend. It's also a great way to continue wearing your torn jeans in the colder months because the tights protect your bare knees and legs from the bitter cold.

​Take this advice from Stitch Fix Stylist, Jennifer M.: "The more torn up those baby blues the better. The chicness is practically palpable when you let richly patterned tights show through ripped knees and gaping holes." Try topping it with a chunky sweater or a casual t-shirt. You can even let the waist band show underneath a crop top.

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Holiday Sparkle

Velvet dress
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 03: A model walks the runway during the Chanel Haute-Couture show as part of Paris Fashion Week Fall / Winter 2012/13 at the Grand Palais on July 3, 2012 in Paris, France. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The holiday season is a perfect time to bust out your fun tights. Try a fun pattern or something with a little glitz with your holiday cocktail dress. Or, "breathe some new life into your tired old little black dress by pairing it with some frisky new printed tights. It’s a fab way to get more mileage out of your frock for different occasions, whether it’s the annual office party or family get-together. Bonus points for choosing a pair with festive sparkly bits in the pattern!" says Stephania S. from Stitch Fix.

A shimmering pair of tights is a holiday must have. Try a silver pair, or a style with rhinestones. Keep your jewelry to a minimum to keep eyes on your shining limbs. Velvet is having a major fashion moment if you want a luxe and textural outfit.

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Keep it Casual

Casual tights in Spain
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 11: Sheila wears Adidas trainers, Bershka dress and jacket and Calzedonia tights on May 11, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

Part of the fun of wearing patterned tights is being playful! This casual attitude lends itself to wearing laid back clothes with your hosiery look. Think of trying a simple tank dress with cool sneakers with faux thigh highs, like the streetwear look here. Or, try a sweatshirt dress and colorful gym sneakers. Don't over think it or try to go too high fashion. Be yourself and wear what feels comfortable!