Whether you count down the days until you can get back in your 60 deniers or are bracing yourself for a bare-leg winter, we're now approaching tights season. I was tasked with finding the best pair that money can buy, so I tried on 23 different pairs of black opaques—they might all look the same in your underwear drawer, but there can be a huge difference between brands. In my hosiery pile was a heat-tech pair from Marks and Spencer, Spanx's "bum-lifting" 60 deniers and a pair from Heist that has been called the "perfect tights." For my verdict, keep scrolling to see the tights that are worth spending money on this winter.
The Most Flattering Tights
Style du Monde
Spanx Luxe Leg Tights (£35)
The Spanx tights promise a lot—the package tells me they will "flatten my stomach and firm my butt and thighs." They're high waisted (they almost reach my bra line) and fitted with in-built shaping shorts, which do noticeably smooth my stomach and thighs, making them the best option if you're wearing them with anything slinky or fitted. When you first try them on, the shapers do feel tight, but after five minutes or so, they felt comfortable enough to wear for the day, and they're not as constricting as classic Spanx. Although, due to the sculpting high waistband, I wouldn't wear these as an everyday tight.
The Closest to "Perfect"
Heist The Fifty Tights (£20)
London-based brand Heist has a lot of hype, as it claims to have created the perfect pair of tights. Out of the 23 tights I tried, these were my favourite, as thanks to the high thread count (5000 yarns of nylon compared to the average 500), they're soft, and the stretchy waistband and removal of the gusset means they keep their shape and don't droop (gone are the days of trying to find a quiet corner to subtly hoist up your saggy tights). You also don't realise quite how annoying the centre seam and seams on the toes are until they are gone—the only seams on Heist tights are at the base of your foot so they don't snag against your toenails. They might be more expensive, however, with detailed washing instructions and the snag-free design, they're a sensible investment. I was so impressed that I texted my mum to tell her to buy a pair.
The Softest Tights
Style du Monde
Just behind Heist, my second-favourite pair for everyday wear was a tie between Wolford 70 Opaque Tights (£21, available at Uktights.com) and Falke Pure Matt 50 (£17). These are the softest and most comfortable in my pile, and although they are more expensive than a high-street pair, they don't droop, and you can notice the difference in the quality of the fabric. If you play tights economics, these are a wise purchase, as they are far more likely to last you the entire season.
The Best of the Affordable Options
If you can't spend £20 or £30 on a pair of tights, the best pair I tried on are Marks and Spencer 100 Denier Body Sensor Tights, which are £8 for two—they're soft and have a flattering high waistband. M&S super-soft opaque tights also rated highly in my experiment and are only £2.50 a pair. However, unlike the seamless fitted body on the Heist tights, these will slip over time.
Next up, see our guide to the key trends for autumn/winter 2018.