14/08/2014 16:34 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Back To Black (Tights)

Summer is over (sigh) but there is an upside, says Anna Hart. You get to wear tights again...

There are many things I'll miss about summer. I'll miss Aperol Spritzers, outdoor cinemas, music festivals, streetfood markets and lunch outside. But I'd happily trade all these pleasures for the joy of reclaiming the right to wear tights.

You see, I was fortunate enough to be born in part of the world (Belfast) where thick, woolly 75 denier black tights are always weather-appropriate. When I moved to Glasgow for university, this didn't change; in Scotland, black nylon-clad pins are perfectly acceptable at a July wedding in a heatwave. You're permitted to go bare-legged, of course, but there is no shame in remaining covered up.


​Irish and Scottish girls know better than to mock a sister for prudently covering her legs. We've all been lashed by horizontal wind and rain at August barbecues; it keeps us humbly in thrall to M&S tights, and deep down we know we're living on the edge by abandoning Pretty Polly for St Tropez.

My first summer in London, therefore, came as a shock. People were going to work in "holiday clothes". Flip-flops. Dresses that were basically sarongs. But worst of all, they had bare legs. Brown legs. Shaved and moisturized legs. If I wore my beloved thick tights, I was stared down, and left in no doubt I had failed London's stringent Summer Legs Test.

So I nervously joined the bare-legged masses. I cycle to work in shorts, in the hope the sun will eventually take the bluish tinge out of my pale Irish skin. I shave, I moisturise, I apply blobs of fake tan. But I still long for the days when I can pull on my thick tights.

I miss their warmth. (I consider Pretty Polly thermals essential camping gear.) I miss their camouflage. (They are a godsend for low-maintenance women with better things to do than body-brush.) I also miss their modesty. (My style is all bright vintage dresses, short A-line skirts and patterned playsuits; undeniably feminine. But my lifestyle isn't quite so ladylike. I like sitting cross-legged on the grass, riding my bike around town, being able to clamber over chairs in a crowded bar without flashing my knickers. Tights are a modesty safety net for the modern action woman.)

And so poor, maligned September is a month of celebration in my fashion calendar. I no longer have to go back to school, but I CAN go back to black tights.
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