Tights have traditionally taken a backseat to more exciting accessories, like bags or shoes or creepy shapewear for young girls. But lately, they've entered the fashion spotlight, thanks to a slew of designers who started rolling out patterned, rainbow-hued styles. The Wall Street Journal's Christina Binkley tackled this trend — and its translation to the workplace — in a piece titled "What Your Legs Say About You."
For instance, if you favor striped styles, or if you were a fan of Rodarte's cobwebby legwear, you're obviously a Tim Burton–worshipping Goth who is not to be trusted with other people's finances. Patty Edwards, a frequent CNBC contributor and chief investment officer of Trutina Financial in Bellevue, Washington, notes, "If I walk into a brokerage and they look like Goth girl with multi-striped leggings, I'm not going to feel good leaving my money there." (Although, in her office, she might let it slide: "I adore free spirits. I hire them all the time.")
Meanwhile, if you're trying to stay warm with a pair of thick wool tights, you can forget about that promotion: "Wearing sweater-knit tights, so reminiscent of school yards and pinafores, could buttonhole you as someone's assistant," Binkley cautions. Also, if you're going to try fishnets or lace, she recommends wearing knee-high boots so that only a bit of tights are showing.
On the other hand, if you want to assert your dominance over your co-workers, Cincinnati-based image consultant Jill Haney advocates a nice shade of lavender:
At the headquarters of Procter & Gamble, one of her corporate clients, she says, a chic-but-conservative gray dress could be spiced up with purple hose. Purple, she notes, is a power color. And in most professions, the ultimate question is how powerful you look. "Set a standard for yourself," says Ms. Whittaker, "and decide what sort of authority you want to have."