As every little girl can attest, tights are the worst. From birth, we’re conditioned to think that tights are cute and they bring outfits together. Some would even have you believe they keep you warm. However, Maury’s lie detector would determine that that was a lie. But before I explain how society has stretched the truth about tights, let’s go back a little.
Picture it. Europe. 1607
While tights are more commonly associated with women in the 21st century, it wasn’t that long ago that they were exclusively worn by men. The men who derived tights from hose might have had the more comfortable end of the stick. Back then, their tights were made of silk and were used to keep their wobbly bits together during horseback riding. The nobility priorities of the day.
All of the men in Europe wore tights. It’s just that the further down the chain you were the more uncomfortable the material. Most people recognize England’s most notorious king in his last full portrait before he died wearing a pair of silky pearl tights with the much talked about codpiece.
This was a statement of the times, as was stuffing the calf in the tights to make them appear more muscular. Yes, the tights of then were as tight as they are today. Men liked to show off their stuff, so to speak. At this point, you may be wondering what changed? With the men wearing tights, of course.
The Trouser Revolution
It took a few centuries but men eventually conceded to the fact that tights were, in fact, not great. At some point in the early 1800s, trousers became all the rage. By the mid-1800s, the Industrial Revolution was in full force and so was the ability to get your hands on a nice pair of pants. Men only, ladies.
Hose In Different Area Codes
It would take another century before women started wearing what we identify as tights. This came from a predicament I think anyone could have empathy for. A pregnant woman told her husband she could no longer travel because putting on a garter belt to hold up her stockings was too uncomfortable.
That issue inspired him to have her sew together a pair of panties onto her stockings, which he called panti-hose. So, she was able to pull on a pair of hose and travel again in her more mobile undergarments.
From Twiggy to Today
Once introduced to the general public, the popularity of tights exploded. In the 60s, mini dresses were the fashion and they were too short for traditional leg coverings. Imagine not having to worry about a garter belt and stockings. A one-piece pull up that goes to the torso and holds together.
The convenience of it all. So, a new item seemed much more manageable than what they were used to.
To be fair, if you can find the unicorn pair of tights, the experience might not be a heaping pile of making your skin crawl. The perfect pair would never have one leg slide across another when walking and would stay in place. Unfortunately, staying in place is one of the bigger failures of tights.
The Daily Mail shares, “No sooner have you left the house than your tights slowly but surely start to slide down your legs, creating a very attractive wrinkling around the knees.”
Let’s Get Physical
The film industry ignored the reality of putting on tights and made the process look seamless and even sensual. Some might even say the act in itself is often portrayed seductively. Anyone who has actually put them on though knows it looks like more of a workout routine than trying to look sexy. That extreme tightness may sound helpful for staying up purposes, but it actually might be causing more harm than good.
“Tights can actually compress major veins in your leg and be quite painful aside from cutting off circulation. A chronic condition termed meralgia parasthetica in which a person suffers from a burning pain in the thigh area can potentially develop after a certain length of time,” Apele explains.
The Tights Are Coming Off
So, if the irritation of having to put tights on and feeling them stretched over your skin all day wasn’t enough to convince you how uncomfortable they are, maybe the medical terms will. From rolling down, having a run in the leg, and causing circulation issues, tights could not be further from the ideal leg shields.