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Megan LaRussa Chenoweth is a Birmingham-based personal fashion stylist and fashion expert dedicated to helping women both look and feel their best. Today, she discusses how and when to wear tights versus hose— a style tip we all need this winter. For more of her style tips, videos and guides, join Megan’s Style Yourself Chic Society membership site at StyleYourselfChic.com.

One of the biggest style conundrums I see my Style Coaching clients face in the winter is what to put on their legs when it’s cold. When we are making outfits in their closets, shopping for dresses, or thinking about special events this time of year the same question always emerges — what to do about bare legs. While every client is different in how she feels about exposing her legs to the elements, there are a few good style rules to follow to help you feel confident this winter.

Style Rule #1: When in Doubt Wear Black Opaque Tights

More often than not black tights are a great, safe option to wear on your legs in the winter with dresses and skirts. By tights, I mean opaque hose (that you cannot see through) and that have feet (meaning NO leggings). There are so many wonderful options out there at a wide variety of price points. Many even offer control top now if that’s something you prefer when wearing dresses. Black tights can easily go to the office, to church, to a more casual wedding, out to dinner, or even just casually. I would skip black tights for more cocktail or formal occasions, like a wedding, as they appear too casual for such events. And remember black tights or any hosiery should always be worn with closed-toe shoes.

Hue black opaque tights are a favorite amongst many of my clients. This tight brand is at a great price point, and the black opaque is a nice weight for the winter months. Image: Bloomingdale’s

Even when wearing a casual dress opt for black opaque tights to cover bare legs. Keep the shoe black for a nice continuous line, like a black bootie. The dress is a darker fall/winter color, even though it’s a floral, which looks flattering paired back with black tights. Image: Anthropologie

Black opaque tights look great with most work dresses. This rich fall red hue blends nicely with the black tights and black heels for a flattering and appropriate look. Image: Bloomingdale’s

Style Rule #2: Just Say No To Nude Hose

This is a controversial subject, but an important one to ensure you look current. I often tell my clients that unless you are Kate Middleton it’s best to avoid nude sheer hose. Nude hose is dated and unfortunately will take away from your beautiful outfit. So what do you do if hose feels like your security blanket? It’s all about baby steps! Recently I helped a lovely client ‘break up’ with her nude hose. She was so used to wearing it for her more conservative work environment, but also she felt as if her legs didn’t look good without hose. First thing we did was purchase some sunless tanner for her to apply on her legs when wearing skirts and dresses. By having a bit of glow and color on them she felt more confident going barelegged. The second thing we did to make her feel better about ditching nude hose was go over when to wear black tights, and when to go without. By knowing these rules she felt more confident in wearing her dresses and skirts in the winter.

Style Rule #3: Pay Attention to Hosiery Trends

While we know now that nude hose is OUT, and black tights are IN, how do we know moving forward what we should be wearing on our legs? Not to worry as I’ve got you covered! One of the main reasons I created my style membership site, the Style Yourself Chic Society, is to keep my clients and community ‘in the know’. We are all busy women and unless style is your passion, it’s hard to keep up with what’s current, classic and dated. That’s where I come in! In the SYC Society, my monthly membership site, I give you weekly style tips, shoppable outfit guides, how to style videos, and of course lists of what is in and what is out every season. You can learn more, as well as join this community here: styleyourselfchic.com

But to give you a sneak peek as to what is in this winter, here are a few inspirational hosiery images to help you out!

sheer black hose

While nude hose is a no-go, black sheer hose has made a comeback! But the key to wearing this hosiery style is to keep the rest of your outfit modern and current. If you pair black sheer hose with an older dress, skirt or shoes, then it will make you appear dated. Image: Shopbop

Black sheer hose with swiss dots are so much fun and add some interest to an outfit. They look best with a solid color dress in any fall/winter material, or with a delicate dot print dress for a more fun look. Image: Anthropologie

You can veer into more gray tone textured tights for a modern look too. The important style element here is to keep the shoe in a similar color. This bolder tight style looks best with a solid color dress. Image: Anthropologie

polka dot tights

A fun and stylish way to add interest to a LBD (little black dress) is with a pair of textured tights. Image: Shopbop

Style Rule #4: Your Visual Vertical Line is Vital

I love helping my Style Coaching clients determine the most flattering way to dress for their body type, and this includes knowing what shoes to wear when you’re rocking tights. The number one rule to remember is never break up the visual vertical line of your silhouette. Your body is a vertical line that looks best when elongated, and that means we don’t want to wear anything that breaks up that line. This rule is especially important for more petite ladies. To keep this line elongated and your silhouette flattered, stick to wearing black tights with black shoes, or at least darker colored shoes (again always closed-toe). If you are doing black sheer hose, when it is in style, the same rule holds true. Do know this doesn’t mean you have to wear a black dress too! You can wear almost any fall/winter color dress or skirt with your black tights; the shoe color is the key element.

Even when doing a bolder dress, like a print or brighter fall/winter color, keep the line of your legs elongated with black opaque tights and black booties. Image: Loft

A sweater dress can be dressed up for work and dressed down for casual every day, simply by changing the shoes. The one constant is the black tights that elongate the legs when worn with a black closed-toe shoe. Image: Loft

A deep fall/winter color dress looks best when paired with black opaque tights and black shoes.  This color palette creates a flattering visual vertical line, without having to wear all black. You can wear this look with black booties or black pumps. Image: Bloomingdale’s

Tights and hosiery may only be a small part of your winter wardrobe, but it’s an important area to focus on. By understanding these four main style rules you are sure to have a pulled-together look from head to toe that will make you feel confident wherever the winter day may take you!

This article is sponsored by Megan LaRussa Chenoweth.

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