What Color Pantyhose With a Black Cocktail Dress?

Choosing the right hose can be tricky.

Photo: Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images

So you've found the perfect little black dress and have a festive place to wear it. Congrats, you're three-quarters of the way to a perfect outfit. Now, about those hose -- sheer and black, nicely nude or something with a naughty pattern? Wait a minute, hold the phone -- your girlfriend just told you hose are so over -- do you dare skip them altogether? The answer is in your comfort zone kitten; choose what suits you best.

Sheer Black

If you're on the way to a black tie event or will be rubbing elbows with a conservative crew, sheer black is the way to go. Make sure they're super-sheer (10 denier or less) and of high-quality and be sure to stash an extra pair in your evening bag -- they run like the dickens.

Nicely Nude

Nude hose have gotten a bad rap over the past few years, but they can be very pretty and make you feel like a grown-up lady. Nude pantyhose work well if you're wearing a sleeveless or strapless cocktail dress; they keep the outfit from crossing the line into the too-sexy zone. Choose super-sheer, good-quality hose in your exact skin tone. Avoid any nude hose with any sheen or shimmer -- it's so '80's.

Rock a Pattern

Because cocktail dresses are now worn in so many ways, you can add patterned or colored hose if the venue is casual and you want to give a funky or flirty vibe. Think midnight bowling or swing dance club and dare to wear a small fishnet pattern or red opaque pantyhose with your little black dress. If you're dressing to kill, a floral or seamed stocking can up the ante on an important date and give your LBD a little edge.

Dare to Bare

A heated debate regarding hose vs. no-hose has been raging on the fashion front lines for the past few years. Many hardcore fashion types insist the bare leg is the only way to do a black dress. But you are forced to live in the real world, and sometimes it gets cold or your legs look less than fly. You're an independent woman with choices; go for bare legs if you want to. Two notable exceptions: funerals and interviews, conservative climates where flying your freak flag is discouraged.

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