I Spot the Best Tights Outfits in NYC—Here's Exactly How to Wear Them

woman with boots and tights

(Image credit: @annasaber)

As a kid growing up in the Bay Area of California, my mom had a rule: If we were going into the city (how she referred to San Francisco), we were dressing up. It was a habit passed on to her from her own mother. For shopping trips, special-occasion lunches, and even getting on an airplane, my mother believed in putting on your best for the occasion. At nine years old, being told I had to put on a fussy dress, a pair of tights, and pinchy leather Mary Janes might lead to a full-on meltdown. As an adult, though, I see that perhaps my mom was right. Dressing up holds its own sort of power—it signals that you care and that you put effort into whatever it is you’re attending.

Around New York, I’ve seen many women this winter utilize a pair of tights as a way to transform a simple, everyday outfit into something  more purposeful, whether by adding in a playful touch of color, or serving as contrast to casual staples. Red tights have been a particularly buzzed-about choice, but black, white, and even fishnet tights are all fair game when it comes selecting your tights of choice. When you’re wearing a favorite skirt or dress, and the outfit just isn’t hitting in quite the way you hoped, consider how a pair of tights may be just the thing to transform your entire look. Ahead, you'll find five outfit ideas for how to style tights to perfection.

woman in fishnets and a blazer

(Image credit: @anna_laplaca)

If you're ever asking yourself how to style tights, don't underestimate the power of a pair of fishnets with a blazer. The textured look adds a tactile touch to a look built on streamlined basics.

woman in black dress and blue tights

(Image credit: @champagnemani)

A black dress and matching flats on their own may seem like a basic ensemble, but add a pair of colored tights and suddenly the whole ensemble feels surprising and bold. You can also use a coordinated pastel purse to add another level of intrigue to the look.

a woman in black tights, white boots, and a trench coat

(Image credit: @annasaber)

For nights out, sheer black tights are a subtle way to show some skin and make your outfit cold-weather friendly. Instead of your usual dress or miniskirt, repurpose a swingy coat into your full-on outfit for the evening.

woman in a dress and white tights in new york

(Image credit: @christietyler)

Embrace a little '60s mod throwback moment by trying out a pair of white tights. Styled back to a tailored minidress and pointy flats, it's an ensemble that you can easily take from the office to drinks afterwards.

woman in jean shorts and tights

(Image credit: @mariaalia)

For transitional weather (and to get a bit more wear out of your summer staples), consider styling a pair of denim shorts with tights and heels. It gives them a whole new vibe.

Aemilia Madden