The XX Factor

Oh, You Think Tights Are Evil? You’re Evil.

Tights tights tights.
Tights come in every imaginable style and color combination.

Photo-illustration by Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo. Photo by Courtney Rhodes/Flickr

First BuzzFeed came for our leggings. Now they’re back for our tights. On Thursday staff writer Diana Bruk fabricated a list of 21 reasons tights are “the most evil form of clothing.” It is stuffed with lies and weird metaphysical claims about how tights constrict our souls along with our bodies. It details a completely imaginary progression of tights-wearing, whereby the tights first “terrorize your legs with itchiness,” then pinch your bladder, then suffocate your internal organs, then snag, then decimate your circulation, then—in the course of their removal—tear off shreds of your life force. I have no idea what kind of demonic stockings Bruk is dealing with, but clearly her piece belongs more in the genre of paranormal phenomena journalism than fashion writing. For the rest of us, wearing tights goes something like this:

    1. Pull on tights
    2. Oh hey, my legs look really good
    3. Pull off tights

The end! There are perhaps some variations (2.5: Tights rip. Cool, now I’m wearing ripped tights and look like Rihanna) and footnotes (it’s true that unpeeling tights feels vividly great). But the process of donning silky legwear that conforms to the unique shape of your thighs and calves is neither as complicated nor as psychologically demeaning nor as physically harrowing as BuzzFeed makes it out to be.

Consider one of Bruk’s stocking-themed sticking points. “In the winter,” she writes, “they cannot be escaped.” This is another way of saying that tights can prove as indispensable in cold weather as coats, hats, or gloves—yet, as a colleague observes, they are far less annoying, because you don’t need to find a place to stash them at your destination. (You can even wear them under your pants for extra, secret insulation.) And I cannot fathom where Bruk got the notion that such legwear has “no right size.” There are no wrong sizes in stockingland: Tights always make your legs smooth, stylish, and elegant. (PSA for flummoxed readers: If they do not fit perfectly, you are probably putting them on your arms.)  

Tights come in colors you never dreamed existed, as well as fishnets and nudes and thigh-highs. They have none of the subtle structural coercions of jeans. None of sweatpants’ passive-aggressive nonchalance. Their variety and versatility allows them to adapt to the occasion, just as their sheer webbing graciously accommodates the contours of your body, no questions asked.

Obviously, I could go on and on about the virtues of tights and the baseless depravity of BuzzFeed’s attack. But instead I will point out that BuzzFeed itself has sung the praises of three different varieties of stockings in the past. Consistency aside, why does BuzzFeed feel the need to periodically declare war on random pieces of women’s legwear? What is the endgame? Jorts? Where are the listicles decrying ties for compressing one’s windpipe and cufflinks for falling into one’s soup? This post strikes me as one more cynical attempt to score cheap feminist points by bugling about phantom oppressors. Don’t be fooled, guys. With the third polar vortex on its way, you’ll need every layer.