The ULTIMATE Xmas accessory you NEED for the festive season revealed
Calling all 50-somethings. Cast your mind back, way back to the festive season in the early 1980s, and what were you wearing?
Something short? Something ruched? Something sparkly? Some earrings you could see from space featuring crystal and bows? Or maybe all of the above with fantastic decorative tights? These were the years of the fabulous tights that not only made your party outfit, they were often the main point of it.
These were tights that you had coveted and saved up for (they were never cheap) and, at the time, we thought they were the height of sophistication.
There were patterned lacy tights, ones with seams; there were dotty tights and ones with an embroidered bow just above the heel — both of which were worn by Princess Diana.
Tights back then were big business and, come Christmas party-time, your tights were required to work as hard as your crushed velvet, off-the-shoulder, little black dress and your court shoes. Maybe even harder.
The early 1980s were the years of the fabulous tights that not only made your party outfit, they were often the main point of it
And now it’s happening all over again: in the lead up to Christmas 2023, a new generation has woken up to the delights of a little black something paired with fabulous party tights.
Saint Laurent has a pair of floral embroidered lace tights for £1,700, which goes to show that designers are taking this party tights moment extremely seriously.
Gucci has floral lace tights for a bit less (£225, farfetch.com), and Victoria Beckham now sells VB monogram lace tights — a snip at £95 (victoriabeckham.com)!
Logo tights are increasingly a thing, and you’ll find double-C emblazoned pairs at Chanel, Gucci logo ones and tights bearing the Tory Burch monogram (£67 in a 30 per cent off offer, toryburch.com) if that’s what you fancy.
Meanwhile, Mango has a relatively, modestly priced pair of openwork lace tights (£15.99, shop.mango), which look a lot like the ones we had so much fun in roughly 40 years ago, and are arguably less fussy than the Saint Laurent pair.
Over at H&M, should you assume this is a bit of designer whimsy —you will find lace tights (£12.99), spotted tights (£9.99); rhinestone-embellished fishnet tights (£12.99), bow-detail tights (£9.99) and glittery tights (£11.99, 2.hm.com).
You may wonder why fancy tights are, after decades in the wilderness, suddenly back on the scene.
It’s partly because getting your legs out is very Christmas 2023. You may not be preparing to wear an almost crotch-revealing dress, or some big knitted knickers, or leather pants with tights underneath, but plenty of women are — and we may look back on the last few months of this year as the big leg comeback.
Victoria Beckham now sells VB monogram lace tights — a snip at £95
We may look back on the last few months of this year as the big leg comeback
Cat Deeley shows off her pins in a pair of spotted tights paired with classy court shoes
There has been a gentle lead into this leg sharing over the autumn. Highlights have included Charlotte Gainsbourg arriving at Versailles on a windy day in September for the dinner that President Macron hosted for King Charles wearing a long, thigh-split, black Saint Laurent dress and sheer black tights.
The wind was so gusty Gainsbourg ended up showing a lot more leg than she intended, but the point was a French fashion icon was wearing not opaques or bare legs — the only two possible choices for the fashion front row for many years —but the dressy sheer black tights we wore in the 1980s.
Also back in September, a significant number of the guests at the Vogue World after-party in London wore big knitted fashion knickers over sheer tights (Cara Delevingne), not so big knitted pants over sheer tights (the model Adowa Aboah), or smart hotpants over sheer tights (Alexa Chung).
At the time, it was noted that the trouser-less trend had dominated the evening, and the younger and hipper you were the more tights-covered leg you had on show.
Then there were the endless tights on show at Leonardo DiCaprio’s 49th birthday party back in early November.
In the lead up to Christmas 2023, a new generation has woken up to the delights of a little black something paired with fabulous party tights
DiCaprio’s party is the event to be seen at, and this year it was wall-to-wall legs, all the way up, encased in sheer black tights.
Rita Ora wore a black mini dress about a third of the length of her tights, and Kate Beckinsale, 50, wore something that looked a bit like a bunny outfit without a tail and glossy black tights. So it’s not just the young going for maximum leg exposure after dark.
When there is this much leg on show in glamorous situations, thoughts naturally turn to what tights will do the best job, and when you want to turn up the festive dial a few more points, that’s when dots, bows and particularly lace comes in.
Already, sales of sheer tights have increased as the message filters down that even a glimpse of stocking in the current climate needs to be 1980s sleek, so it was only a matter of time before patterned luxury tights became ripe for a revival.
And not a moment too soon, as far as we are concerned.
It is one of the great mysteries why lace-patterned tights have not been in the fashion charts since the 1980s. They were almost impossible to ladder, nice and warm when you were waiting for a taxi or at the bus stop, and extremely popular with the opposite sex.
BALENCIAGA: A pair of monogrammed tights from the designer could complete your outfit this festive season at £195
VB: A classy lace pattern by Victoria Beckham, who can be spotted wearing her own designs
GUCCI: An elegant pair of luxury designer lace tights that you can buy for £225 from Farfetch
If you ever happen to ask men what they have most liked and disliked about women’s fashion over the years, and you jog their memory about lace tights, they’re recalled with universal enthusiasm.
Opaque tights are not popular, pop socks are loathed, cotton ribbed tights may be the worst of all, but lace tights are light and alluring, everyone agrees.
They also do wonders for the look of your legs, providing you’re careful not to get a lumpy, bumpy crochet style. If you’re wearing mainly black — and black is looking like the strong favourite for party time this Christmas — there are few better ways of blinging up your look than patterned tights.
For those of us who were there the first time around, it might be a bit of a leap. Patterned tights, particularly lacy tights, need a bit of room to show off — there’s no point glimpsing them under the hem of a midi skirt. They really need to be the scene stealers.
They need heels (kitten slingbacks at least). They need shorts on top or a wide-shouldered mini dress, or an oversized buttoned-up tuxedo jacket with nothing else underneath. In other words, they need youth.
But this is not a fashion that’s going away when the Christmas trees come down.
Chanel showed white patterned tights on the catwalk for Spring/Summer 2024, and Alexa Chung has already been pictured wearing them, this month, with an LBD, black boots and a black leather trench coat.
Which makes you think…maybe a glimpse of dotty tights — between boot and knee? Never say never.
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