What Color Stockings to Wear With a Black Short Dress at a Black Tie Event?

Ciara goes bare legged at the Hogan by Karl Lagerfield Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2012 show, Paris.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

While black tie events traditionally mean classy and uber-formal, creative black tie leaves you wiggle room. Successful stocking choices for a black dress and black tie event pull your look together and float within the range of conventional dress for these fancy parties. They make you look stylish yet bold, so you stand out for the right reasons.

Safe Stocking Choices

A sheer black stocking helps hold your look together, and its semi transparent texture is more classy than an opaque black tight. You'll definitely be safe with this hue. If you want to break up the look, try sheer tights that match your skin tone. These give you sleek legs and some coverage without detracting from the formal wear.

Bold Stocking Choices

Perhaps best left for events marked "creative black tie," bold stockings let you showcase your personality. Patterned or textured tights give you a slight edge. Fishnets are too vampy, but you can work in paisley tights, striped or dotted tights or a lace texture. Colored tights can fly here, so long as they're not opaque, since that looks casual. Experiment with vivid hues such as plum, turquoise or red. Creative black tie encourages fun and unique accessories, which includes stockings.

Going Nude

Sometimes bare-legged is the best choice. Take a black-tie summer wedding: You're going to get hot and sweaty, and your legs don't need to suffer for beauty. If your dress is below the knee and you've only got a few inches of calf showing, nude also works well. A crowded ballroom can feel hot, especially if you're dancing. There's nothing wrong with flying nude-legged, so long as you shave and so long as you're not showing swaths of leg real estate.


Break up the color with some accessories to get more mileage from your look. Choose shoes with embellishments such as rhinestones or buckles. Use a shimmery wrap or a statement necklace to put your style stamp on things. One caution: For a traditional black tie event, you might want to rethink that short dress. Floor length was the rule of that day and still holds sway, although cocktail length -- approximately knee length, though a little wiggle room either way is acceptable -- works well. If you're showing off well above your knee, you might appear too casual.

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