I wear a lot of tights. This is partially because I live in Chicago — when bare legs are the leading cause of hypothermia 8-9 months out of the year — and partially because I am frequently too lazy to shave my legs amiright, ladies? There is a problem with tights inherent in their design: they really, really like to snag, and this almost always happens either a) at an embarrassing time or b) in an embarrassing place. Sometimes both. …Usually both.
A year or two ago, I ran (hahapuns) into this problem. Somehow I had acquired a rather large and painful hole in the thigh of a pair of tights. I spent the day in agony, both from increased friction and from the pressure of over-stressed nylon against my burgeoning thighs. I didn’t have time to get home and change prior to my evening commitments, so I headed to Target as soon as I punched the clock for the day, frantic for a new pair of neutral tights.
They had nothing in grey. Nothing in brown. They had black tights in spades, but I was wearing too much brown to allow for this. No maroon or heather green was available to ease my troubles. But there in the mess of accessories was a pair of mustard yellow tights.
I glanced down at my outfit, trying to decide if I could get away with this: blue sweater, brown boots, a favourite dress of mine (cream in colour and dirndl-esque with red and brown accents). More potent yellows have never been especially appealing to me, especially considering my complexion and general fear of ridicule. But maybe this time I should take a risk. Maybe this time I should buy those yellow tights.
Maybe people were starting to stare at me.
I snatched them up and ran to the register. My purchase in hand, I dashed into the loo to change. Relieved to be free of pain once more, I tossed my holey tights in the bin and headed for the bus.
Rounding the corner to the bus stop, a well-dressed gentleman caught my eye.
‘I really like your yellow tights,’ he said.
I grinned and stammered a thank you. Not five minutes in and these tights were already grabbing attention.
When I arrived at my next appointment, my girl friend complimented me on my unique and bold fashion choice. The waitress asked me where I’d gotten such excellent tights. I began to wear them with more and more confidence, pairing them with navy as well as brown, mixing them in with the regular rotation as often as possible.
Our romance, while heartwarming, was tragically short-lived. A few months into our relationship, I found matching holes in the toes of my tights. Over time the holes ran up the length of my foot. I gave my beloved tights a tasteful funeral in the bathroom garbage can.
I often thought of my trusty yellow tights. When crafting an outfit for work that just needed a bit of a pop, I mourned their loss. When digging through the dresser drawer to realize that I had yet again neglected to do laundry in a timely fashion, I wished my yellow tights were hiding in the back to save me as they had done so often.
Then one day it happened.
As I wandered through the hallowed halls of the Wilson Yard Target, I made a pass by the $5 tights rack.
And there they were.
Mustard yellow tights.
They even had my size.
I feel like there’s a lesson in these tights, these relentlessly cheerful yellow tights that hug my legs at this very moment. Maybe it’s a lesson in giving things a chance, going for the opportunities that seem silly or impossible simply because you have nothing to lose. Maybe it’s a lesson in taking the optimistic route just because you can, in bringing a bit of unexpected colour into the world. Maybe it’s a lesson about trying something new, something outside of your comfort zone, at least once in a while. Or maybe it’s just the universe saying that life is short and you always need a little bit of whimsy.
I prefer to think the lesson is much simpler: if you like the tights that much, you should probably buy two pairs. And pick up some razor blades while you’re at it. This leg hair is starting to itch.