The November 1 theme on Sophistique Noir is Hosiery. This is an easy one for me. I love legwear, especially funky socks and leggings in stripes and prints. :)
My love of funky socks began in Catholic school, where wearing bright red socks beneath my dress code khaki pants helped me feel more like an individual and less like a clone. In my early 20's, I became enamored with striped tights and wore them nearly every day. I’m a little more conservative now, often wearing opaque black or solid color tights.
Though I love the fashion of hosiery, I'll try to keep with the spirit of GIY and make this post more about the practicalities of hosiery, such as organization and laundering. :)
I have an embarrassingly large collection of hosiery. It's shameful, really. Being a neat freak, I keep everything very organized. Three dresser drawers are dedicated to socks – one for ankle socks, one for crew (mid-calf) socks, and one for knee socks. Yes, I separate my socks by style. No, I do not color-code or alphabetize them. (Yet.)
I keep pairs paired by rolling them together. I never thought much about this – it’s what Mom always did – until a couple of college friends laughed at my sock rolling. Clearly it’s not as universal as I’d imagined.
Three drawers in this small chest house tights and leggings. The drawers are the perfect size for tights, and it turns out that the boxes from Converse Chuck Taylors are the perfect size for drawer dividers. I have one drawer for black (leggings on one side, tights on the other), one drawer for colors, and one for stripes and fishnet/open weave patterns.
If left loose in a drawer, tights will inevitably knot themselves together. (Or is it just me that they do this to?) To avoid this problem, I fold/roll my tights. (Except fishnets, which don't fold well.) Seems like overkill even for an organization nut like me, but I prefer spending a few extra seconds when putting the tights away instead of fighting to untangle the mass when I'm short on time in the morning.
Part of the reason my horde is shamefully large is that I buy new items every now and then, but rarely have to throw any away. I've had those white striped tights since 1998. :o The key to longevity is proper laundering.
Loose in a washing machine, tights tend to get wrapped around the agitator, caught on zippers, and/or tangled up with other clothes. Hosiery washed in a mesh bag enjoys a much safer laundering experience. You can get mesh wash bags in a variety of styles and sizes. I prefer small bags with a zipper closure (2 for $1 at the dollar store). I keep them near the laundry hamper so that when I take off tights/leggings, I can immediately put them into a mesh bag and then into the hamper. That way, I don't need to later sort through the laundry and pull out all the hosiery before it goes in the washing machine.
Heat from a dryer can degrade the elasticity of hosiery. After a few rounds of tumble drying, you might find that your tights have become "looses." Hosiery will last much longer if hung to dry. Drying racks are available in several styles. I have a folding rack similar to this one:
Finally, no hosiery post would be complete without mention of my holy grail of tights: stripey tights that fit. Stripey tights are always too short for me. I have to cut off the top, turning them into socks/stockings, or cut through the toe seam, turning them into leggings. It will be a glorious day if I ever find stripey tights that are long enough!
EDIT: Here's a photo of tights-turned-leggings. Sometimes I cut the bottoms straight, along a stripe; sometimes I just snip off the toe seam, retaining as much length as possible. The fabric stays intact, so I don't bother finishing the cut ends. They're hidden under my socks and boots anyway.