Object of Desire: Wolford Tights


Black Tights by Marilyn Pollack Naron
Illustration by Marilyn Pollack Naron

I have two pair of Wolford tights in my top right-hand dresser drawer. This is not enough.

Having retired after a late-career earnings spurt, I find my closet to be quite full enough of high-end goods. My budget does not allow me to own new Dries van Noten every year, nor do I want to. This Christmas, for example, I’ll be wearing my roof replacement, and looking quite fetching.

But, and it’s an important but, when one moves to a Wear What One Has Mode, one has to make sure one has all the required accessories. Good dresses need good tights. And High WASP language uses “one” to discuss undergarments, apparently.

There is a Rule of Tights, by the way. What? You think that’s silly? But no. Here it is:

Never wear tights thicker than your dress or fuzzier than your shoes

You’re welcome.

I broke my own rule last week when I attended Tish Jett’s book signing. Determined to wear the afore-mentioned Dries van Noten I yanked out my black tights morning of the event only to find that I had one pair, very dark and opaque, and one in wild lace. The dress is a very light, fine, cotton. Oops.

This rule felt more onerous than the one about opacity:

Thou shalt not wear violently-patterned lace in daylight

So off I went in the wrong tights. Bugged me all afternoon. These are the ones I needed. They come in control-top too.

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These are the ones I have.

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Great tights for a wool or cotton ponte dress.

Learn from my mistake. Right now, before the season of satins and night sequins erupts in all its headlit glory, you teeter off in your beautiful strappy sandals, make sure you’ve got the right night tights. Did you see that middle rhyme coming? Good for you. I didn’t.

Wolford goes even warmer, by the way. Less formal. Here’s a merino wool blend.

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These tights are pricey but worth it. They wear like IRON. Had I stored tights from another in my dresser, they’d have emerged ripped as well as wrong. In which case I would have had to change plans entirely and show up in navy linen pants with a white shirt. Appropriate, but far less fun.

It’s the season of fun. I recommend, although you are as always free to ignore me, an investment in good tights. Oh, and if you want sheer panty hose, I’ve never found anything lovelier than these.

 

Affiliate links may generate commissions. Illustration by Marilyn Pollack Naron. By sweet coincidence, Marilyn posted this illustration as I was preparing this post. By even sweeter graciousness, she gave me permission to share.

 

 

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34 Comments

  • Did you know there are tights with poly-fleece lining (not fuzzy, and suprisingly, unbulky)? We live in them, up here in Canada. They are sold in every dept. store, and allow one (I am suing the impersonal because I hadrly ever wear a skirt or dress in winter) to wear skirted clothes in subzero temps.

    A bad day, operational definition: Putting your thumb through a brand new pair of Wolford opaques, first time on.

    11/13/15
    6:58 am
    Lisa said...

    @Duchesse, I’ve read about the poly fleece – not to be worn in California of course unless you’re skiing in a miniskirt. And a thumb through your Wolfords? How did you manage that? I’m usually hard on tights/pantyhose, being impatient and all, and mine just keep on keeping on.

  • I adore my Wolfords. Have a pair going on three years old now. After seeing your London pics from last year bought myself a pair of lace ones. Still waiting for the occasion…hope springs eternal.

    11/13/15
    6:59 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan (une femme), Oh my gosh I think the next time we meet up we should both wear lace tights. Like just for the everloving heck of it;).

  • That’s it, off to Wolford! Great post! Anita

    11/13/15
    7:28 am
    Lisa said...

    @Anita Irlen, Thanks! Enjoy!

  • They have a store in Boston! Who knew? I will check them out, the next time I’m over that way. Both Lands’ End and (surprisingly) J. Crew tights have served me well for many years, it may be hard to switch.

    11/13/15
    8:44 am
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, Yes they have little stores in a lot of cities! And, if you’re happy with what you wear, no need to switch. Unless you’re in the mood for some of the more out there Wolford patterns.

  • I love seeing Marilyn’s illustration here!

    Yes, black tights. I don’t own any Wolfords, but I’ve heard only good things about them. Maybe this is the year for me to acquire some.

    (Also I think the rule about thickness is good, but it’s hippy/artsy to break that rule sometimes, isn’t it?)

    11/13/15
    8:45 am
    Lisa said...

    @Pam, I love seeing it here too! She’s such a sport to permit me to share! And, yes, hippy artsy to break that rule, but, not one of my favorite artsy looks I confess.

  • I adore my Wolford tights and they do wear like iron. And its nice to know someone else agrees about the thickness of the tights relative to what they are being worn with; that is the kind of thing that bugs the heck out of me and makes me fidgety and uncomfortable. I’ve put my thumb through almost every brand of tights on the market, except Wolford, even the sheer ones.

    11/13/15
    8:46 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Some day maybe we shall meet and make sure to have nothing bugging us at all;). I guess for me that would be white tee, blue jeans, black sneakers, and lunch outside.

  • Have not tried Woolfords but have heard lots of rave reviews…good to know that you have a few pairs to choose from.
    I tend to wear black mesh or lacy tights for evening to dress up my classic skirts and dresses and give them a little oomph. I purchase cheaper brands in multiples…

    11/13/15
    8:47 am
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, Evidently I don’t have enough pairs!:)

  • I am tall and plus sized, both of which make for a challenging shop for tights.

    But I love opaque tights. I wear Spanx. I have loads of the black and charcoal, and buy the colored whenever they offer them in my size E. They also last forever.

    I recognize your rule on the weight of tights but I think it is slightly outdated now that women are wearing tights as a focal point of their outfits rather than strictly an underpinning.

    11/13/15
    12:39 pm
    Lisa said...

    @rb, It’s quite possibly outdated. At this moment, I reserve the right to change my mind, I don’t much care for the “tights as focal point” look, unless it’s done with very careful attention to textures.

  • I am wearing black opaque tights today….with a camel wool knit skirt! Wolfords do wear extremely well. A must here in the winter.

    11/13/15
    2:37 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Linda @ a design snack, Love black opaque and camel wool.

  • Lisa,
    I love tights, especially super opaque black tights, because I only wear pencil skirts to work year round. So excited you wrote about tights…is that weird? The best I’ve found for the money is DKNY Super Opaque, if you haven’t tried them.

    11/13/15
    2:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @t, Not weird at all! In fact, if there’s something else you’d get excited about, let me know! And I’ll keep the DKNY Super Opaques in mind, thanks.

  • I nearly always wear Wolford tights. I have a pair of the opaques on at the moment with a dress and heels, unusual for me. I agree Wolfords are worth the money as they do last for ages.

    11/13/15
    2:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Chicatanyage, Ah, good to know you’ve had the same experience as I have.

  • I’m with you on tights not being thicker than your dress (or skirt).

    11/13/15
    2:46 pm
    Lisa said...

    @RoseAG, Check!

  • With my long skinny legs and verrrry skinny ankles, I’m a hard fit for tights. I have bad memories of them always slipping off and bagging at the ankles when I was a kid. I tried Wolford Tights once. Lovely texture but… had I a hole and a run by the end of the day…akkk very expensive for one wear. Must remember to amend my shopping list… and add… “right night tights.” :)

    Hope you don’t get this twice. Tried to comment earlier but wasn’t sure of it “went.”

    11/14/15
    10:02 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue Burpee, Let us know when you find the right ones. Sorry you went into spam, I’ve fixed it, and I hope it never happens again!

  • Lisa

    Marilyn’s illustration is just perfect with your post!

    Thanks for the low down on opaques and stockings. I’ll be looking out for your suggestions for next winter.

    SSG xxx

    11/13/15
    2:46 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Sydney Shop Girl, That’s right, you’re in summer now! And I really love using Marilyn’s work here.

  • Well said. Excellent accompanying illustration.

    11/14/15
    10:03 am
    Lisa said...

    @Katherine C. James, I was inspired by some conversations;).

  • Even though its over 80 in Miami…I’m in tights today. Gotta love a good pair!

    11/14/15
    10:03 am
    Lisa said...

    @Cecilia, That is commitment!

  • Excellent tights primer! I’ll be looking into the Wolford. Right now, I wear Futura support hose / tights. They have them in mild, medium and firm mmhg pressure for those of us with varicosities (nurse legs). Tights thicker than your dress draws the eye to the tights rather than the outfit, don’t you think?

    11/14/15
    10:03 am
    Lisa said...

    @Candace, Yes, that’s exactly what I think!

  • My favorite tights are Fogal’s Opaque in a shade called Brazil, which is a black-brown that is less intense than Wolford’s jet black. They tend to last me around three years or more.

    11/14/15
    10:04 am
    Lisa said...

    @Christine, Ah yes, I’ve never tried Fogal but I’ve heard of the brand. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • One time I was visiting San Francisco on vacation and realized that I had mistakenly packed black tights instead of navy to go with a BR navy sweater dress. I walked all over downtown looking for navy and finally found some at Ann Taylor. They were actually good quality. Thanks for this tip about Wolford. I love the look of opaque stockings for the winter.

    11/14/15
    10:04 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jane, That sounds like something I would have done;).

  • I will definitely buy these tights. Currently I do not own good tights.

    I can recommend the LL Bean long johns for under ski pants, jeans or good wool slacks. LL Bean makes 100% silk long johns and they are wonderful under jeans or wool slacks – no static cling and no added weight, just a nice extra layer! Cozy and warm on a cold, damp day. LL Bean also makes heavier weight long johns. I reserve these for long woodland walks or cross country skiing on cold windy days.

    We are all getting ready for Winter…The guy that plows for me says we will have more snow than last season. Welcome to MA. Susan

    11/14/15
    9:43 am
    Lisa said...

    Welcome to MA indeed! Have fun in your good tights;).

  • Ah, tights. A wardrobe staple this time of year. Must get some Wolford, I can be pretty hard on tights!

    11/14/15
    10:04 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, I bet you really need them where you are.

  • Lisa, you couldn’t have said it better-bought a pair of Wolfords for the first time the other day and will have a hard time wearing anything else- they feel like silk on my legs-could sleep in them . . . .

    11/14/15
    10:05 am
    Lisa said...

    @Michelle, Die hard fan;).

  • My heart is with people in France and their families
    Pure evil
    It is hard to think about anything else but I wrote answer before ,so here it is:
    Wolford tights are realy the best,worth any penny. I wear them for ages .
    My other choice is Falke,best in over 60 den opaque. Very good quality indeed.
    Fogal is great but I can’t buy it here and I like touch and feel the texture before the decision.
    With black leather and blue-ish grey suede pencil skirts I wear Brora cashmere lace tights in the winter,hope that’s by the book
    Dottoressa

    11/14/15
    10:06 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Yes. Thia morning I could only write about the events in Paris. All my love.

  • I was a Wolford die hard but kept getting pilling around the feet. I switched to Commando, and I will never go back to Wolford. These tights are made in the USA. They last forever and look fabulous. They also have a yoga-style waistband for extra comfiness. I get the 100 denier perfectly opaque.

  • Typo in my comment. 110 denier.

    11/14/15
    10:06 am
    Lisa said...

    @Donna, Thanks for the recommendation! I am not familiar with the term, “yoga-style waistband,” I’ll go and look it up.

  • Well, maybe not yoga-style but similar to the way yoga pants have that wide flat band in the front.

    11/14/15
    1:15 pm
    Lisa said...

    Ah, got it.

  • I almost skipped this post. I have heard good things about Wolford for years, but anything approaching my size was never listed as an option on any department store websites. I have been wearing Spanx in black and navy or other colors when they decide to offer a few more options in their plus sizes. Since I tend to wear warmer tones, being limited to mostly black is frustrating. (Spanx brown is the color of black coffee.) I learned two things from this post – Wolford has two stores in the Boston area and Wolford’s own website offers their entire line in extended sizes!

    11/15/15
    7:10 am
    Lisa said...

    @DocP, It’s like they were teens, making bad choices, and they have matured and come to their senses! So happy to be useful to someone as well-dressed as you.

  • After a poke around the web, I can see there are Wolford stores on the East coast of Australia, but I don’t know that there is anywhere on my side where I could confirm the fit for myself.

    I’ve been looking for non-black wool blend tights and non-black (but not highly patterned) leggings/capris for a while, however when my wardrobe is primarily second-hand, I need to feel sure a quality item is a good fit for myself before I can commit.

    Next time I travel East, I will bookmark a trip to one of their stores and go and see for myself, so thanks for the recommendation.

    11/15/15
    7:10 am
    Lisa said...

    @Cathi, My pleasure. It makes absolute sense to see the goods in person.

  • I know that dress (as I wanted it as well, and “missed” it) – I don’t think it’s a dress that works with stocking at all. The most I could see would be leggings that stopped right above your ankle, and worn with some cool black brogues. And your black moto jacket – it would winterize, but keep it Dries.

    11/15/15
    1:53 pm
    Lisa said...

    I thought it worked with sheer matte stockings and black Louboutins. I thought it would have worked with sheer matte black stockings and suede Dickers. It REALLY didn’t work with opaque matte, a leeeeeetle bit fuzzy, black tights and Dickers;).

  • Wolford is really worth the money, in my opinion. Some of my tights are 3-4 years old and still going strong. I love their fishnets also. And Wolford turns up on deep discount in my area at Nordstrom Rack.

    Another secret? Go for a size much bigger than what the chart tells you. I’m talking a few sizes bigger. The stretch is 4 way, so they don’t bag or sag, and that awful pinching around the waist is gone forever!

    11/16/15
    2:06 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Sisty, Ooh good tip.

  • I seem to have an entire drawer of black tights. Footed, footless, thicker, thinner, sweater knit.

    I would love to invest in some Wolfords, but I remain convinced I will be that one person who somehow manages to snag them anyway. Sigh.

    11/20/15
    8:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @Heidi // Frantic But Fabulous, Sounds like you know your path;).

  • I’m still wearing black opaques from the first time round (the 80s).

    11/20/15
    8:01 am
    Lisa said...

    @That’s Not My Age, That’s fantastic.

  • Oh, I like Wolfords but my favorite is Falke! They have the most comfortable waistband and I haven’t managed to snag a pair yet. I will have to try those Commando yoga waist ones!

  • I love wearing tights – I also door to work every day to welcome customers. Since I discovered Wolford, I wear only their tights (or stockings).
    They have such a variety that I find my happiness every day