Thursday, 13 May 2021

The joy of sox, or hosiery tips and treats 4: mixing and matching

 Hosiery is normally something to match with your clothes, although you can start with that pair of pantyhose or stockings that you really want to wear and then find some clothes to match! Yes, I have been know to do it that way. Either way, here's some advice.


Your hosiery should work with your skirt or dress in terms of colour and style. Patterned hosiery should never clash with patterned clothes, and colours should not clash. Here's what I mean. This first photo shows black floral pantyhose (Emilio Cavallini) with a black and white paisley pattern dress. This seemed to work well to judge by the positive feedback I had. 


The second is a deliberate over-the-top floral clash I did some years ago at home to try to convince a friend of mine that a bright outfit plus jazzy tights plus crazy heels is too much of everything and jars. She's never taken my advice so I hope you will: don't do this!

Nice dress in its own right, and nice pantyhose (Pamela Mann) but the colour and pattern clash is plain wrong, the heels aren't right for the dress! Fancy pantyhose like this are best just for parties and would work best with a long black dress. These floral lace pantyhose (Le Bourget) work with this smart black dress, I think.


Coloured tights are usually a particular fashion trend so (if the trend is not too weird) go with what you see being worn around town. Colours like navy blue come in and out of fashion with businesswear. Purple can be reasonable, especially in opaques, with more casual wear.

One vital tip is never to wear white or pale hosiery with dark skirts and shoes, or black hosiery with white or pale shoes or skirts.


If you are going for a standard unpatterned style, whether you choose sheer or opaque may largely be dictated by the weather (more on this in a later post). If sheer, do you want them matt or gloss? Bear in mind that glossy hosiery will draw more attention to your legs. If you want people to focus on your dress instead, then (as with bold patterns) be wary of having too much going on. 

Bear in mind also that glossy hosiery will make your legs look plumper. 

Beware also of glossy hosiery having a different, more rigid weave to matt hosiery and therefore being more prone to ladders that are almost unstoppable when they break out. 

That said, they're my preference in the evening with a dark dress, although they are not seen so much now as they were in the Noughties.


In my last post I suggested that you wear sheer tights under whalenets to make the whole process of getting them on easier. The same can apply to fishnets or open lace. This can alter the tone and look of the ensemble. Here I layered openwork lace over black sheers to darken the effect, more in keeping with the black skirt and boots than my pale skin would have been.

You can layer hosiery more generally and this was a trend for a while about ten years ago but the Lycra in any hosiery has a sheen and the effect of sheen over sheen can create unusual patterns, like iridescent oilslicks, if the weaves don't match perfectly. So you have to know what you are doing unless the psychedelic oilslick effect is what you're after (at the disco maybe). Be wary of this double sheen effect if you are wearing pantyhose under leggings on a cold day (let's face it, cotton or polyester leggings are not very warm) as you can end up with a disco pants look, which is great if you're somewhere trendy but odder in everyday contexts.

The same goes for those who can't or don't want to remove their leg hair. It's tempting to hide it under several layers of hose but this creates a china doll or spandex effect. The weird colour and reflective effects on the legs of drag entertainers like Lily Savage or Edna Everage who do this should put off anyone off trying it for themselves! If you need to hide leg hair get one pair of thick pantyhose. Yes, that will be tough in summer under your wig. Have you considered leggings?


Thanks for reading these tried and tested tips. Next time I'll be writing about practical matters: sizing, weight, cost, maintenance and such. My very first womenswear purchase, aged about 12, using my own pocket money (80p!), was a pair of tights. And since then I have bought hundreds more. So I am offering you a lifetime's experience for free!


A dip in the archives

Nothing directly to do with hosiery but I found an interesting page on the site of the East End Women's Museum in London about Miss Muff's Molly House in Whitechapel. 

Whitechapel is an area of the East End of London that has always been associated with immigration, poverty, social underworlds and crime (perhaps unjustly, though admittedly Jack the Ripper is hard to beat). A Molly House represented a safe venue for crossdressers in the eighteenth century, like trans clubs nowadays. And Miss Muff was certainly a crossdresser. 

Read on here: Miss Muff's Molly House in Whitechapel 

"A morning frolic, or the transmutation of sexes" by John Collet.


Sue x

Cari lettori italiani

Oggi continuo la mia discussione su calze e collant e come scegliere lo stile migliore. Con un po' di storia settecentesca su dove si andava per vestirsi da donna.

Sue x



  1. I like the dress in the second pic but I concur that the pantyhose with it is "a bit too much!" Can't see much of the pantyhose in the 3rd pic, but the overall look is good. In all the pix, you look very pretty!


    1. Thanks, Mandy, and thank you for the compliment. There isn't much pantyhose to see in the third pic precisely because I feel that something that fancy shouldn't be too on display (it's not the '80s!) but should compliment the outfit. Sue x