Do I Need to Wear Hose With a Cocktail Dress in Cold Weather?

Taylor Swift wore hose with her winter dress.

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You’ve got places to go during the winter months, and the cocktail dress -- or dresses -- to wear to these places. When you’re planning accessories, you have the purse, earrings and jewelry, but there’s just one small detail to work out: whether you wear hose with them. While a pair of pantyhose was a must-have with your cocktail dress some time ago, wearing them today is really up to you.

Not Business as Usual

You're probably concerned about wearing hose with your cocktail dress because your grandmother or someone a generation before you directed you to wear them. While women never used to dream of wearing a skirt without pantyhose, that’s not really the case now. Hose aren’t required or expected for cocktail dressing. Instead of viewing them as a “must” start thinking of them as a “can.” This means hose can be a stylish accessory when worn the right way, but they aren’t something you have to wear.

New Heights

If your cocktail dress of choice is a mini dress, wearing hose may be a wise choice -- and not just because it’s winter -- because a short dress can put you in danger of showing a little too much without a pair of pantyhose underneath. Plus, if your legs tend to be on the pale side during the winter, showing that much leg without wearing hose can make you appear ghostlike. If you do go for the hose, just don’t wear them with peep-toe pumps -- the effects of seeing the seam poke out from the peep toes can look unfashionable.

Stay Warm

Sometimes wearing hose under your cocktail dress is necessary when temperatures are extremely cold outside. While tights may not provide as warm an option as long underwear, they can protect your legs from the cold. Although it’s not a “must” to wear hose with a cocktail dress, wearing them certainly won’t hurt. If you find wool or nylon stockings are too itchy, try a pair of silk pantyhose in a deep color, such as navy, maroon or black for a stylish look.

Lace and Swirls

Pantyhose don’t have to be plain and black to make a wintry fashion statement. Lace or patterned stockings can be just the thing to take a little black cocktail dress to a more fashionable level, all while hiding pasty or dry legs in the winter season. A pair of dark tights also can elongate the line of your dress, making you look taller and possibly thinner.

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