- Fiona Fairhurst, Vice President of Innovation for cult tights brand Heist, told INSIDER there are a number of mistakes she sees tights-wearers make.
- Firstly, she said many people try to step into them rather than rolling them over their toes.
- She added that trimming your nails – and avoiding any metal jewellery – is key.
- Meanwhile, you should never put tights in the drier, and you should wash them inside out.
Most people who wear tights find themselves in a love/hate relationship with the wardrobe staple.
While they do wonders for keeping bare legs warm in the winter or smoothing the look of any marks, they can also be incredibly uncomfortable – and seemingly impossible not to rip at some point.
However, it turns out it could all come down to how you put them on or the way you take care of them.
Fiona Fairhurst is Vice President of Innovation for Heist, the tights brand that has taken the world by storm since introducing a gusset-free design that’s actually really soft and comfortable, though a pair will set you back at least $US32.
Fairhurst told INSIDER that she started developing sportwear in 1996, looking at the body and how it functions and performs.
This experience has been vital at Heist, where her role is all about movement and making things fit real human beings.
“There hasn’t been an awful lost of innovation in tights,” she said, adding that traditionally tights are “two tubes sewn together with a sea in the gusset.”
“It’s uncomfortable with a horrible elastic band around the waist – it put me off wearing tights completely.”
She added that most people who wear them have experienced the feeling of have them “creep down your legs throughout the day” while trying to avoid showing unsightly seams.
With Heist, she said the product is made with one single tube. “We took from the sports industry the comfortable waistband that contours around your waist,” she said.
The brand has previously received some pretty promising reviews from Business Insider staff.
However, while investing in a good, comfortable pair is certainly key, Fairhurst said there are a number of mistakes tights-wearers make that could be causing them to rip or wear out more quickly.
You can’t step into a pair of tights
“I’ve watched all sorts of people put all sorts of garments on, and it’s amazing the people who try to just step into them,” she said. “You cannot do that. You have to handle them with care – they’re very finely knitted and it’s easy to damage them, partly due to their construction. We like that fine, delicate feel against our legs.”
She said people should roll them very carefully over their toes, avoiding sharp edges such as jewellery or long nails.
“Have a pedicure,” she added. “Anything sharp will break the yarn fibre, and that’s when you get the problem with running.
“We often get people who try to return tights and I’m amazed they have ankle bracelets on under their hosiery,” she added. “I don’t think I’d wear a piece of metal jewellery under tights.”
According to Fairhurst, no matter what claims various brands make, even with the strongest yarn, it’s the construction of the tights that makes it possible for them to unravel.
“You do have to take care of them – the finer the denier, they’re more delicate.
“When people put them on they pull quite hard – be gentle and ease them up your leg.”
Wash them inside out – and don’t use a drier
Fairhurst said that because of their delicate nature, tights should be treated as a delicate when you wash them.
“We recommend turning them inside out,” she said, adding that you should also use a mesh garment bag to protect them from other laundry.
“Wash them seperately from anything with hooks that might catch, in cold or warm water with gentle detergent, on gentle cycle, then air dry them.”
She stressed that you should never tumble dry your tights – or leave them to dry on a radiator.
Choose the right denier
Heist sells tights at 80 denier, which are “really solid and opaque;” 50 denier, which are “popular in winter and keep you warmer” with a “more covered up look;” and 30 denier, a more sheer style perfect for an evening look or “smartening up skirts.”
“With 50 or 80 denier it’s unlikely you’ll get a problem, but the more delicate they are, you’ll have running,” Fairhurst added.
“For everyday use I wouldn’t wear the finer denier.”
She added that nude tights also tend to be a very fine denier, but can work wonders to get a tanned look on your legs or to wear during wedding season.
Heist has previously been commended for selling several different shades of nude, recognising that “your nude is not everyone else’s nude.”
“For perfect-looking legs, I recommend wearing sheer nudes,” Fairhurst said.
However, she added that no matter what denier you’re buying, it’s also important to also make sure you buy the right size, as stretching the fibres can also cause them to break.
Ignore fashion rules
Fairhurst added that while the Queen may believe women shouldn’t have bare legs – and Meghan Markle has followed this royal protocol a number of times – it’s fashionable now to not wear tights at all.
“Anything goes, it’s just what people feel comfortable with,” she said. “Rules have changed on whether you should or shouldn’t or what denier you should wear – we seem to have the luxury of freedom of choice now.”
She added that she often even sees black being worn with navy, while traditionally people would wear black tights with a black outfit.
“Mix-matching and being eclectic is totally acceptable,” she said.
Fairhurst herself is, of course, a proponent of wearing tights – but for more than one reason.
“Tights help keep legs moisturised by trapping moisture in there,” she said “They’re not exposed to the air as much as you are with bare leg.”
She added that you also won’t get blisters with shoes when you’re wearing tights.
“Even with a fine denier, you won’t get any blisters or rubs. It provides a barrier – the hosiery protects you.”
Carry ‘a pair and a spare’
No matter what you do, accidents can still happen with a garment as delicate as tights, so Fairhurst suggests always carrying “a pair and a spare.”
“It’s always good to have a backup plan,” she said.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.