The arrival of spring means it's time to think about replenishing certain wardrobe items that see me through the next six months. There's one thing, however, I never think to renew, and that's my tights collection. Despite wearing them probably every other day, I always seem to settle for my years-old hosiery that looks and feels like it's about to pop a hole every time I put it on. Shopping for tights is hardly enjoyable, right?
The reality is that I live in the UK, and having a good-quality pair is essential all year round (yes, even in spring and summer). Well, I've tried on so many and can honestly say I think I've found the perfect pairs. To help us all out of our tights rut, I was tasked with finding the best that money can buy, so I road-tested 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 when you get down to the nitty-gritty. 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." Keep scrolling to see the tights that are worth spending money on this winter.
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 are 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 every day.
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. 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 mean 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, but 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.
Just behind Heist, my second-favourite pair for everyday wear was a tie between Wolford 70 Opaque Tights (£23), available at luxury-legs.com, and Falke Pure Matt 50 (£19). 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.
If you can't spend £20 or £30 on a pair of tights, the best pair I tried on is Marks and Spencer's 100 Denier Body Sensor Tights, which retail at £8 for three pairs. I love that they're soft and have a flattering high waistband. M&S's super-soft opaque tights also rated highly in my experiment and are only £6 for two pairs. However, unlike the seamless fitted body on the Heist tights, these will slip over time.