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My tights are so professional

April 20, 2011

L-A: So I recently gave a pretend media conference at school. The conference itself was sort of hilarious – an outbreak of zombies in NS, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about my choice of tights for the event.

Here’s the thing: I love coloured tights. I think nothing of wearing them. I wear them in pink, mustard, purple and red and I do it on a regular basis. I’ll even wear them with a peep toe shoe.

I actually own tights in this colour


Coloured tights are how I make work fun. When you’ve got an office job and you’re wearing a cute grey dress, the best thing you can do for that dress is wear coloured tights. Which is what I did for my media conference. Grey dress, sensible black sling-backs and possibly a little bit neon pink tights. Normally neon isn’t my thing, but I rolled with it. They were my only tights that didn’t have a hole in the toe. I usually go with a fuschia.

And do you know what happened? The students from another program critiqued my group by saying my tights were unprofessional.

For reals?

So I’m turning it to you dear readers: are coloured tights unprofessional? Does it depend on the workplace? I mean, I wouldn’t wear them to court if I was a lawyer, but I’ve never run into a problem with them before now.

source (both sets of tights are kate spade – which is my new favourite maker of hosiery and socks. My other go to for tights is Hue. And American Apparel isn’t even getting a link because the quality of their tights has gone seriously downhill).

Mind you,  I have a feeling I probably won’t stop wearing them.  But I did have to ask the question.

Ally: Unprofessional? For what? That’s ridiculous. Mind you, this is coming from someone who had flaming red hair back in the fall.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren O. permalink
    April 20, 2011 8:57 am

    HAHAHAHAHA! That is insane. Whoever said that has never worked in an office of any kind. Me and my Cuban-heeled, back-seamed stockings are laughing at them.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:35 pm

      my guess is they haven’t. And their feedback isn’t about to stop by cute tights from happening.

  2. April 20, 2011 9:06 am

    There will always be someone who thinks tights should only be black or “natural” and that you should be required to wear them 365 days/year. They will always be wrong.
    As you say, perhaps avoid the fluorescent hues in a courtroom or overly conservative event, but otherwise, fair game.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:37 pm

      Agreed. I figured bright pink at a student event was okay. If I find myself in a more conservative spot, I probably would go for more subdued (lighter pink?).

  3. M. Hennigar permalink
    April 20, 2011 9:30 am

    Back in the dark days of my youth, I worked for a temping agency for like a minute. Part of their info for new employees was a “style guide” (and I ain’t talking CP..)
    Apparently, it was considered inappropriate for ladies to wear bare legs with skirts and pantyhose (I hate that word, but feel it is appropriate in this particular context) were to be only nude or black.

    I think in certain offices/professions, like perhaps court or something, that might be appropriate. However, in industries that are more “creative” or not so formal, such as the communications/PR industry, coloured tights are totally legit.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:39 pm

      I remember those temping rules well. The “no bare legs ever” rule always seemed a bit harsh to me – especially during summer months.

      I usually try to give an office a few days before I break out my brightest tights – that way I get a feel for the place and whether they can handle my tights.

  4. nicolacourtney permalink
    April 20, 2011 9:31 am

    The fact that they attacked your group based on the colour of your tights makes me think that your group must have done awesome and they couldn’t find anything else to criticize you on.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:40 pm

      They were clearly looking to nitpick on outfits…apparently I wasn’t the only one who was “unprofessional” that day.

  5. Justin D permalink
    April 20, 2011 10:09 am

    I’m in LA’s class and I also got called unprofessional…because my shirt was untucked. It’s 2011. If I wanna untuck, I’ll untuck. Slag off!

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:41 pm

      Haters gonna hate and I’m gonna wear my tights pink and you can wear your shirt untucked.

  6. Lady Bee permalink
    April 20, 2011 12:16 pm

    You can wear tights with peep toe shoes?! I had no idea! This changes everything for me!

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:41 pm

      At least I think you can. (I do it with black peep toes and a bright tight. Usually with a fairly subdued dress).

  7. April 20, 2011 1:10 pm

    wow. that was one stiff shirt saying coloured tights are unprofessional. they obviously have very archaic notions of what is appropriate for the workplace. what next? no large jewelery because it’s distracting?

    move along!

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:43 pm

      Seriously. There’s a time and place for everything, but I don’t think there are any hard and fast style rules for the office. General guiding rules of taste should apply, but no actual old fashioned rules about hosiery.

  8. April 20, 2011 2:13 pm

    I don’t think coloured tights are unprofessional at all! It’s a lot more professional looking than a sour-puss scowl on your face, which sounds like what that person who critiqued your group looked like. Uptight much? As long as the rest of your outfit is subdued and conservative, than I say go for it! I love coloured tights too – I hate wearing monochromatic outfits, I have to have a pop of colour somewhere, so if I wear a black or grey/neutral dress I like to wear coloured tights, shoes or jewelry to add some visual interest and fun. I mean I’m all for professional and serious, but within reason – you can’t be too serious all the time! That person was just jealous, if you ask me

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:45 pm

      They probably were. Or just lacking imagination.

      I went with the tights because my grey dress (while a pretty Calvin Klein sheath) could get dull without some kind of colour. If I didn’t wear the coloured tights, I’d probably try to add a brighter shoe or belt to jazz it up a bit and make it less dull and grey.

  9. April 20, 2011 3:23 pm

    I wear colored tights all the time! And, in fact, I was recently complimented on them. Like everything, there are certain professions where colored tights could be deemed unprofessional…but PR? The more colorful the better, if you ask me!

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:46 pm

      I’ll admit, these were a bit on the bright side, but other tights I’ve worn to work (in purples and deep fuschias) have often gotten me compliments. I think it shows I have some personality.

  10. April 20, 2011 5:43 pm

    Would you hate me forever if I said I find them kind of unprofessional? I don’t know. I bought a couple pairs back in the fall when they were on sale for $2 at H&M — and I’ve not been able to bring myself to wear them, not even once. Even on weekends. So maybe my problem isn’t that I specifically find them ‘unprofessional’, as I just find them overall too ‘wacky’. I guess I would not necessarily question someone’s professionalism / intelligence if I encountered someone wearing them at work, but I would probably find it slightly work-inappropriate. If that makes sense.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:48 pm

      I couldn’t hate you! I do see where you’re coming from…it’s for that reason I’m usually careful with my tights. They’re not for the first day of work. I usually get a feel for the office and then wear them with my more conservative dresses. It makes the conservative dress more fun and the dress takes away from the wackiness of the tights.

  11. Sarah M permalink
    April 20, 2011 5:53 pm

    Just my two cents, and keep in mind that I own and wear (or owned and wore when I wasn’t at home with bebe) leopard print tights and hot pink tights, etc. to work.

    PR is, to some extent, about perception. If someone was distracted from your message by what you were wearing, your message might have been diluted somewhat. And, although the message of the conference was humourous because it was a bit sci-fi, if you had been in a panel doing a media conference about death and destruction of a less B-Movie bent, then hot pink tights might have been a totally wrong choice.

    That doesn’t mean you can never wear the hot-pink tights, it’s just that if you’re wearing them and they are distracting your audience, you might have a bit of an issue.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:52 pm

      You’ve got a good point. I think I wore them because it was a student event. I was still dressed professionally, but having some fun. Because it was a B-movie themed presentation. But if I were to go to an actual media conference to announce death and illness? I probably wouldn’t have gone with the same tights. If I absolutely had to go coloured, it would have been something darker and less noticeable.

      We had some folks in costume for my presentation (a rented military uniform and a borrowed lab coat), so I thought I was safe. (I was also either behind a podium or well off to the side of the speaker, so my tights weren’t on full display).

  12. April 20, 2011 7:17 pm

    I think it comes down to the overall look – coloured tights can be awful if the rest of the outfit doesn’t really work with them. But it sounds to me you rocked a perfectly professional and appropriate ensemble.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:52 pm

      I thought so…and it was one I’ve worn in a professional work environment before I was a student, which is why I was surprised by the comment.

  13. April 20, 2011 8:30 pm

    I vote with everybody else: pink tights can be professional if you are doing something professional while wearing them. Of all the fields, I think that PR has a certain expectation of creativity – and I bet the coolest clients will admire your style more so than your shirt-tucked-in, pantyhose-wearing classmates. (I hope they weren’t wearing pantyhose… does anybody wear pantyhose anymore?)

    I think you’ve branded yourself as the fabulous, interesting PR lady, and that’s all that counts.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:55 pm


      For where I am in my PR career, I think I’m mostly okay to express my creativity and individuality through tights. Coloured tights aren’t for every event or situation (I do sometimes wear pantyhose…but rarely, usually when it’s too early for bare legs), but they are a fun way to give your wardrobe some extra colour.

  14. Nikki permalink
    April 21, 2011 12:45 am

    I’m also in LA’s class and my group was criticized for looking unprofessional as well. My outfit? Blazer, long necklace, black pumps and skinny black dress pants. Member #2: black pencil skirt, black top, black tights, black pumps. Member #3(male): Cream blazer, black collared shirt, dark denim jeans. Our mock media conference topic? Tim Gunn coming to Atlantic Fashion Week…
    I think it’s safe to say that if those students expected a topic on *fashion* to include boring power suits, you can take their comments with a grain of salt.

    PS – LA’s group rocked and they did a fabulous job. The pink tights were amazing.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 8:58 pm

      Jeez louise – they were a tough audience! I thought your outfit was totally professional. And considering your topic, it was the exact right choice. If you’re making an announcement about fashion week, you best be looking fashionable. A power suit for your group would have been all wrong. I think Tim Gunn would agree.

  15. April 21, 2011 7:37 am

    I LOVE bright coloured tights but as a teacher I found myself wary of wearing them. Perhaps it was the frosty weather that wasn’t as cheery as my tights but I was hesitant to bust them out over the winter. But now with spring (for the most part) in the air it seems to have motivated me to brighten up my usual wardrobe. It turns out that wearing bright coloured tights have a tendency to take students by surprise, in a good way so far. I’m assuming it’s because they don’t often see their teachers going on about cell division with mustard yellow or lilac coloured legs.
    So far I haven’t been called out for being un-professional and I’m hoping it stays that way!

    Long live colourful legs!!

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 9:45 pm

      Vive le colourful legs!

      Coloured tights are actually what get me through winter. If I’m going to try to wear a skirt or dress in winter, I bust out opaque colourful tights to cheer me up and keep my legs covered.

  16. April 21, 2011 10:07 am

    From the sounds of the others in your class who commented there was a definite sourpuss in the nerd herd…I mean, the other group. Coloured tights are a great way to add interest to a black, gray, or otherwise neutral outfit. I don’t wear coloured tights too often, just because I only have one pair of blue ones and the rest are black, gray, and brown, but I wear patterned ones on the regular. I’m sure the nerd herd would say they’re unprofessional too.

    • L-A permalink*
      April 21, 2011 10:52 pm

      The funny thing is, a lot of those critiquing us were there in jeans and t-shirts (they were there to be pretend journalists at our pretend media conference). So their comments about my professionalism were taken with a grain of salt. A grain of salt and a grain of self-doubt. But I’m going to keep on loving fun tights.

      I suppose I could thank them for giving me an idea for a blog post.


  1. Coloured Tights: An Ode to L-A | Fashionable People, Questionable Things

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