The Tights Renaissance: A Profitable New Trend


Legwear, formerly a boring-yet-essential wardrobe item, has recently attained new fashion prominence. Socks, previously hidden from sight under shoes and pants, are becoming stylish accessories in their own right — anklets are popping up under platform sandals and knee-highs are being worn with short boots. And now women are buying tights in all sorts of patterns and colors, in addition to basic black.

In an article about the decline of sheer, skin-toned hosiery (and the rise of more bold styles), the sales director of Anew legwear remarked on the trend, stating, “Legwear is truly an accessory now, not a necessity. It’s like putting on jewelry or shoes. Women wake up and think, ‘How can I accessorize my look with legwear today?’”

Photos via The Sartorialist

Luxury hosiery brand Wolford is reaping the rewards of this trend: their sales are up a whopping 104.5% over last year. Other brands, like Hanes, are struggling to catch up to the trend — and to change their focus from sheer to more of-the-moment styles.

Knitting Industry News, which predicts that the global market for hosiery will reach $20.3 billion dollars by 2015, reports that, “as leggings and footless tights/opaques become the hot rage, legwear sales spiral northwards…Despite a relatively smaller market size in the overall hosiery market, the segment is primed to grow at a comparatively faster growth rate…”

Photos via Copenhagen Street Style

The renewed interest in legwear may be tied to the recession. Like lipstick or nail polish, a new pair of socks or tights is a relatively small luxury that can change the look of the pieces you already own. As blog Fashionising wrote, “socks are cheap, won’t take up lots of space in your wardrobe, and are wholly practical.”