The One Layering Piece That Will Instantly Transform Your Winter Outfit

Wear your mini skirts and dresses year-round.

by Dalia Saavedra, Kelsey Stewart and Claire Fox
Originally Published: 
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Woman wearing black tights

While you may opt to wear pants every day of winter to ensure ultimate warmth, you don't necessarily have to say goodbye to your favorite mini skirts and slip dresses once the weather turns. Adding tights to your look is the ideal way to give it a little oomph, while keeping your legs toasty and free of frostbite. Gone are the days when your drawers consisted of nude or black pantyhose that would rip after a few wears — the best warm winter tights now are equal parts fun and functional.

As personal stylist and co-founder of Ines Adrianna Bojrab tells TZR, perhaps the best tights trend of the moment is the pivot toward materials that are actually built to last. “As fast fashion companies are thrust into the spotlight and held accountable for the rising tons of textile waste, which leads to ocean microplastic pollution and overloaded landfills, the heat is turned up,” Bojrab says. “Companies are serious about sustainability, eliminating their carbon footprints and elongating the lifespan of the once-disposable basic tights and transforming it into a closet staple.”

Tights are also a totally underutilized style accessory. “In addition to functionality, tights can also be used as a source of expression to accessorize and uplift the appeal of an outfit when temperatures drop,” says Bojrab. “If you’re wearing a roomy trouser with a stiletto in the winter with the top of your foot exposed, layer a pair of sheer tights beneath to finish your look. A daytime or work-appropriate look that I love is pairing tights with skirts and a mid-calf lace-up combat or Chelsea boot, [and] tossing on an oversized sweater or a sweatshirt layered with a blazer to pull the look together.”

If you get cold easily, it's a good idea to look for a thick pair of thermal tights that are either fleece-lined, cashmere, or wool — those are your best bets for warmth. And there's no shame in going the practical route with plain black tights. In fact, there are plenty of cool ways to layer them into your look.

However, if you want to break outside of your comfort zone, then go for one of this season's fun options, such as patterned hosiery, which has become a favorite winter tights style recently. Designers are stamping logos on stockings, making them as covetable as an It-bag or pair of shoes. For instance, the iconic Gucci print comes in a trendy pair of tights you can easily style with a plaid skirt or metallic mini dress. Or on dreary days, consider some stockings for winter in a bold hue that will instantly brighten up your winter outfit while still keeping the chill away.

Ahead, find 20 trendy warm tights that will keep you cozy without compromising style.

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Statement patterned tights are here to stay. Monogrammed tights, in particular, are one of the top tights trends right now. Reignited by Gucci FW19’s renowned branded expression, monogrammed tights have had a domino effect with consumers. Other designers are in agreement, too, as seen on Prada, Vivienne Westwood, and Prabal Gurung’s FW21 runways. Marine Serre’s crescent moon-print tights and leggings are also a recent standout — just ask Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, and Jennie of Blackpink.

“Pairing a pair of patterned tights with a more monochrome outfit always works and allows the pattern to be the star of the show, i.e. your LBD paired [with] an opaque tight with a micro polka dot or micro fishnet pair.” Bojrab says. “It brings a level of interest to layered patterns and textures together if they aren’t too busy.” She adds that if you choose to wear a statement pattern, opt for wearing minimal accessories, so there aren't too many competing elements in your outfit.

Blacks & Neutrals

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There’s nothing wrong with going classic. If anything, black and neutral-colored tights are the most versatile when it comes to stockings for the winter. “A forever trend is a pair of semi-sheer tights, a closet staple and a cult favorite, most notoriously paired [with] a little black dress and black pump,” says Bojrab.

Skin-tone tights on their own are a bit outdated, Bojrab adds, but they're essential if you want to go for the viral “hack” that allows you to wear sheer tights in the winter. Simply find a pair of warm fleece-lined tights that match your skin color, and layer them under a pair of sheer black tights — nobody will suspect the difference, and you’ll be cozy even on the coldest of days.

For an elevated version of black and neutral hosiery, reach for a pair of stirrup tights and leggings, which are trending right now. “As stirrup leggings began to emerge in FW21, we’ve seen an increase on e-commerce platforms like Revolve in stirrup tights that are opaque enough (and typically lined) to alternate with leggings for a more evening feel,” Bojrab says.

Colored & Bold

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Looking for something colorful to brighten up your dreary winter days? Wearing tights in bright and bold hues can be a great way to pull together a statement look. “Pops of color are fun when done correctly!” Bojrab says. “I love pairing a loud opaque tight with a look in the same color family — for example, a blue patterned dress with blue opaque tights (or something in its wider color family), or a pastel pop with a pastel look.”

While it’s easy to look clownish in a solid color (other than black) pair of tights, the trick is to wear them thoughtfully. Color doesn’t necessarily mean bright — navy, maroon, and muted greens are options, as well. “Look to the colors in your prints for a hint on which tight color to select,” says Bojrab. “Navy opaque tights with a navy look or with a patterned skirt with navy included would work.”

Single Seam

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Single seam tights are in a category of their own, as they sit somewhere in between neutral black and patterned. Wearing a pair of single seam tights is an easy (and very trendy) way to elevate a skirt or dress. “Single seam tights, attributed most frequently to undergarment institution Wolford, entered the scene in early 2020 and seem to be here to stay,” says Bojrab.

Instantly adding a slightly sultry flair to any look, single seam tights are perfect for winter nights out, such as to a party, cocktail bar, or dinner. “Originally featured with a thicker front seam running down the front center of each leg, the more suggestive trend has been recently updated to become a more wearable and discrete expression of the trend with a thinner seam lining the back of each leg,” Bojrab explains.

With so many different options to choose from, tights can be one of the most versatile ways to pull an outfit together. And aside from their style capability, they also have the ability to keep you warm in the chilly winter months — especially when you’re exhausted from wearing jeans and trousers and miss your skirts and dresses.

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