Hahahahaha lololololol you guys it's about to be cold. Which is horrible yet exciting news, because while I hate winter, I love tights. Specifically, black tights. (There really is no other kind, so you can take your colorful tights and scram, thankyouverymuch.)
In California, we only ever really need warm clothes to fight the chill in over-air conditioned movie theaters. But I do love being able to wear tights all the time, because it easily answers the question: "Is this dress too short?" With a pair of super-opaque black tights on underneath, the answer is always "Nope!"
I've previously written about my favorite black tights here (and here), but it's entirely possible that everything I thought I knew about tights was dead wrong -- because while perusing the cheap sock offerings at Kohl's last week for a scene where 36 actors are going to be drenched head-to-toe by fake rain, I stumbled upon what appears to be true innovation in tights:
Kohl's own in-house brand, Apt. 9, claims to have a range of black tights for 2014 with a little something for everybody -- including ones with built-in boot socks AND ultra-warm fleece-lined ones! I was intrigued -- and decided to grab three different styles to judge them for myself. (For the record, I'm 5 ft. 8" tall, weigh 140 lbs, and took a size Medium in all the tights I reviewed.)
1) The "BLACKOUT" tight (with an anti-microbial agent to control odors)
The first rule of black tights club is that the tights must be totally black. That means completely opaque, without even a hint of sheerness. These 'Blackout' tights deliver on that promise -- they are not sheer in any way, and are black enough to hide my tattoos. That's the very definition of blackout, kids -- so accept no substitutes. One caveat: they are technically "control top" tights, which I usually hate -- but these wind up looking kind of like a pair of slightly slutty thigh high stockings, so I'm willing to let them slide.
These particular tights also claim to solve a problem that has plagued tights wearers since the dawn of time: foot odor. Since tights are usually made of nylon and spandex, with no cotton at all to absorb foot sweat, they automatically create the perfect environment for rampant foot stink. I wore these supposed "odor resistant" tights indoors in full air conditioning for as many hours as I could stand during an unexpected 105 degree California heat wave, and my feet definitely didn't smell as bad as they sometimes do when wearing tights for an extended period of time.
You can also fight foot smell with these machine washable terry insoles by Fab Feet. They absorb sweat and can be washed repeatedly -- so smells are never able to actually permeate and ruin your shoes. I used them all summer long to wear sneakers without socks, and I can confirm that they really do work.
5 of 10 possible stars. A good choice for the price -- plus they have the added benefit of not being constantly sold out like my beloved "Premium Opaque" Merona tights from Target always are. (Which, funnily enough, actually seem to be available right now -- so maybe just go order 100 pairs of them instead.)
2) "BOOT TIGHTS" (with knit-in crew socks)
I've written previously about a truly remarkable invention known as BootTights. They are regular old tights with moisture-wicking socks attached to the bottom, which helps solve a ton of problems that can occur when wearing tights with boots, such as slipping, snagging, and sweaty feet. (Not to mention cold feet!) While they are flat-out amazing, they also run about $36 a pair, putting them way out of reach for some. So I was more than a little interested to see if Kohl's "Boot Tights" could possibly be a worthy replacement for the real BootTights.
8 of 10 possible stars. The thicker, ribbed "sock" portion of the tights keeps you a tad warmer, stops your feet from slipping forward in your boots, and helps keep boot zippers from snagging your stockings -- but the "sock" is made from the same nylon/spandex blend as the rest of the tights, which isn't doing anything to fight foot sweat and smell. The Kohl's "Boot Tights" are slightly less opaque than their "Blackout" tights, and have the same sheer-thighed control-top issue -- so buyer beware. I like them for the anti-slip factor alone, as this is a problem that constantly plagues me when attempting to wear high-heeled boots with tights. Not bad for less than 10 bucks.
3) The "PLUSH LINED" tight (with ultra-warm fleece lining)
Fleece lined tights are crazy warm and truly magical. I'm always shocked that more peeps don't know about them -- and these particular fleece tights are particularly incredible, so I'll spare you the boring preamble and get straight to the judging. (Also, ignore the fact that the listing ridiculously calls them "fleece-footed" tights. They are full waist-to-toe plush fleece-lined!)
10 out of 10 possible stars. Kohl's has completely knocked it out of the park here. Black as night, totally opaque, warm as burnt toast, and with no weird control-top situation, these tights are literally pants in stocking form. I started sweating profusely the minute I put them on! They don't stretch out or sag at the ankle, even after wearing them for more than two hours. With fleece-lined tights going elsewhere for upward of $20 a pair, these are an ABSOLUTE STEAL. And just like that, you can consider the black tights game totally slayed.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison