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Leg warmers come in a variety of hues and designs: clockwise from top left, DKNY's diamond pattern, Express tiger print, Express floral embroidered, Spanx body shapers, Nordstrom ribbon hosiery and Forever 21 sparkle tights.
Leg warmers come in a variety of hues and designs: clockwise from top left, DKNY's diamond pattern, Express tiger print, Express floral embroidered, Spanx body shapers, Nordstrom ribbon hosiery and Forever 21 sparkle tights. (By Dayna Smith For The Washington Post)
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nothing about pantyhose is fun. Everything about tights -- brightly colored, funkily patterned tights -- is fun.

Today's tights are neither your grandma's stockings nor your little sister's ballerina costume, though they give you permission to behave like a prima donna if want to. And the recent domestic renaissance of very hip tights means you don't have to cross any oceans to find them.

For everyday wear on cool autumn days, think outside the black, brown or navy box and dress your legs in gallant color. DKNY's diamond-patterned purple adds a royal touch under a black skirt. A delicate red floral embroidered pair from Express wears well under denim. The truly bold can try hot-pink opaque tights from that brazen chica Betsey Johnson's leg line.

But as those holiday soiree invitations start trickling in, look for the sparkly, seductive tights that scream, "Take me out!" Gift-wrap your gams in a Nordstrom pair that looks as if you've carefully wound luxe velvet ribbons 'round and 'round them, or make a roar without saying a word when you wear a wild tiger pattern from Express. Get your gold or silver sparkle on the cheap from Forever 21 -- or splurge for the Spanx (yes, Spanx!) tights that mix the trendy with the tummy tuck.

Keep in mind that there's a line you don't want to cross. Sophisticated patterned tights are a definite do, but too many frills can come across as more showgirl than chic.

-- Ariel Alexovich


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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