imagine via LOVE magazine
The big declaration of autumn has happened last Tuesday in my world. The unlucky women living far enough from the equator for the temperatures in their worlds to fall below 18 degrees Celsius are brutally forced to cover their legs up with the least sexy and empowering item in their chest of drawers - tights. They come in different colours (from nude to sheer black), sizes (from looking like rat tails to whale's intestines) and shapes (or intending to make you look like a perfect hourglass shape, usually unsuccessfully). Nevertheless, we hate them all equal.
Is it not funny how naked we feel in spite of having them on? I have a big mirror in my bedroom that is functioning as my daily oracle judging whether nude goes with bottle green and whether loafers are not looking too manly for a pleated skirt. And I clearly do not mind facing the oracle wearing nothing but my birthday suit. But for heaven's sake... There is absolutely no way will I ever look at myself wearing tights only. Be it sheer nude or opaque black. Never ever (like ever, as Taylor would sing). I have that mental image of what my underwear looks like when trapped in a pair of sheer tights. Whether I'm wearing a pair of Topshop's Sponge Bob hipsters or a sexy silky Stella McCartney number. My female body parts and their surroundings look like an ugly fat burglar. End of.
Going back to the idea of still feeling naked when wearing tights... What are they? Are they underwear? Are they an item of clothing? They seem to kind of sit uncomfortably in-between the two... They live in my chest of drawers next to bras I never wear but they are also worn 'on show' which kind of makes them belong to the her majesty the wardrobe herself. They look like sad sagging emptied sausages (not to use rude comparisons) ready to be disposed of. Whether they are new or worn they look used. How come? Also, they are ever-so-unpredictable! You may have a pair that you've been wearing for weeks, washed a few times and they are still fine. The next day you put a brand new shiny M&S pair on and bang! They catch as soon as you sit at your desk in the office. For the next 8 hours (plus lunch) your humiliated self feels the urgent need to explain to everyone that looks at your legs what happened and why you are not trying to look like Madonna in the 90's at all.
Without a doubt, they do us a favour. They can cover up a few bruises after the Saturday night's wild dance ending up in bumping into a table full of drinks. They can make our legs look like they have recently been kissed by Spanish sun rays. They can even hide the fact that a razor has not been anywhere close to our legs for at least half a moon phase. However, there must be many tights-hating women on this planet who provided us with alternatives. Here comes the business opportunity for all the in-the-office spray tan tents, Sally Hansen spray-on tights, leg oils and other shimmering moisturisers promising to prolong our tan for the price of smelling like burnt chicken skin. In Britain we are lucky if we get to use them more than twice a year but they are out there for us.
Now I'm about to raise an extremely controversial issue. How come that it is socially unacceptable to have bare legs in a work environment? The reason for my outrage on this matter is the fact that, believe it or not, my contract with my employer actually states that I am not to be seen at work wearing a skirt that ends anywhere sooner than 8cm above my knee (I wish they were that specific when it comes to pay checks) and with no tights! Now the first part is clearly about good taste but the second??? How dare they limit my freedom when it comes to revealing the softness of my skin I spend years of my life caring for? Waxing, scrubbing, drinking 2 litres of water a day, eating avocados. It all counts yet has to be hidden behind the restraining layer of Lycra.
Tights. Whether they come expensive or cheap, Primark or designer (where does Carine Roitfeld get hers from?), it could not matter less. We hate them. We hide them. We are ashamed putting them on and normally they are the first item we take off. But as a spices we have learnt to tolerate them over the last half a century. As much as they are an every-day necessity they also remain a mystery to at least the opposite sex. Proof? Ask your man to buy you a pair when he pops out to get a case of Rioja which is on offer at Sainsbury's. I bet he's never heard of 'denier' and thinks it's some kind of a wild animal between a deer and a badger.