There’s no doubt that in her nearly six years as a royal, Princess Kate has risen to fashion icon status. She has made several looks her signature: brightly colored coats (belted at the waist), striped shirts paired with navy blazers and wrap dresses with L.K. Bennett heels.
But even icons make questionable style choices, and for Kate, that choice is nude tights — or pantyhose, as your grandmother calls them. Of course, this is likely less a faux pas than a royal mandate, but yes, Kate has been loyal to the flesh-colored leg covering throughout her marriage, even if much of the fashion world views them as dated and dowdy.
But if anyone can make a fashion don’t a do, it’s Kate. Her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, wore them, too, and as we know, the People’s Princess had no trouble making any and every garment look chic.
Although they have yet to make a major comeback, I’ve been rooting for one.
Why? First, if black is the primary acceptable color for tights, that means you have to spend most of winter wearing black — and I live in New York, so it’s a long time to be monochromatic. Sure, you can wear pants, but I like skirts! I like dresses! And yes, I like color. Before you say black goes with everything, remember it doesn’t go with navy. (I stand by that statement.)
Yes, there’s the option of bare legs. It’s an option I fully embrace come April or so, but I enjoy having circulation, so that option goes out the window once the temperature drops below 55.
So I decided to embark on a week-long experiment: If I wear nude tights/hose/stockings, what will people say? I’m 24 years old, so the number of my peers who regularly wear nude hose comes close to zero.
I haven’t purchased a pair of nude nights in about 10 years, when I sang in my high school choir and we had to have “uniform” legs and purchase the exact same pair of tights from the drug store. They served me well then, and since I didn’t know if this was going to be a long-term investment, I was down for the $7 price tag. I went for the lightest shade I could find, as I am very pale and wanted to avoid looking like I got a legs-only spray tan.
My first foray into the world of nude tights was out to drinks with a very chic friend at a trendy bar. To be honest, I was mildly self-conscious. I am not Princess Kate. The world does not look as kindly on the fashion flubs of mere mortals. But even for my pale self, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they blended in well with my skin tone and looked fairly natural. Evidence below.
Despite this, I’ll admit I was self-conscious, and convinced myself that everyone in my subway car was judging my stockings.
But if my friend noticed my leg wear, she didn’t mention it, and my roommates said the same.
I sauntered on with my experiment, wearing the nude tights to work multiple times that week. The best part was breaking out my favorite navy skirt, which often doesn’t see the light of day until weeks after daylight savings time.
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And you know what? No one noticed there, either. Well, at least, no one pointed it out to me at the time. I later asked a few of my co-workers if they noticed, and their answers ranged from “I had no idea” to “I didn’t think it was odd.” Point number three for the pantyhose.
The next outing for my pantyhose came on a date. Once again, it was not a topic of conversation —but we did end up going on a third date, so it seems that wearing your grandma’s favorite leg covering is not a romantic deal breaker.
At this point, I started thinking that Princess Kate really is onto something here. My legs weren’t cold, I wasn’t limited by color and to be honest, I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing any real sort of style. If anything, my options were expanding! I plan to continue wearing them when the occasion calls for it (navy!) even though my experiment has come to a close.
Bottom line: Unless you have “Her Royal Highness” proceeding your name, nude pantyhose likely won’t land you on any best dressed lists. But also, no one is really paying close attention, and black gets boring — so go for it.