Sadly when I saw the snow on the ground this week, I knew it was officially the end of bare leg season. Each year I try to stretch out the viewing period of my pale legs as long as possible, but there always comes a day when its just simply inappropriate to have my bare knees poking out.
I've always been extremely picky about socks and tights, and I still am. I can remember sitting with my Mother in our family room before Saturday ballet class crying as she put my pink ballet tights on. I really, really hated them but would wear them to class as long as I could get them off as soon as I got home. There was nothing worse than having to go to the hockey rink wearing a snow suit and ballet tights. I still get goose bumps when I think about it.
There was a very awkward stage of my childhood when I refused to wear tighst anywhere but ballet class which meant that my Mom couldn't put me into cute little dresses during the winter months. It came to me wearing a bright purple, crushed velvet pant suit with a "bubble leg". They were not quite an MC Hammer pant since they had much more volume down around the ankle. I also had a pair of the pants in black which I would wear with a white top with gold polka dots. These outfits were my only chance of attending Christmas dinner "tight free" and it was not a pretty sight.
When I was in Grade 7, I was invited to a ballet at the Canadian History Museum (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) with a ballet friend of mine and her Mother. I threw on my crushed velvet suit and eagerly followed along. During the intermission my friend was complimented by our ballet teacher on her cute little outfit which consisted of brown ankle boots, with pink socks, brown tights, a tweed skirt and a little sweater. I'll admit even now that the outfit was flawless. I stood there so ashamed of my pantsuit and vowed to never wear it again!!
Around the same time a new type of ballet tight had just come on the market, The Mondor 310. These microfiber tights where soft, thin, comfortable and didn't itch my skin like the other ones I'd been wearing. The second I put them on it felt like I was wearing a second skin. Not only did I not hate wearing tights to ballet anymore, but I was willing to wear the tights elsewhere, even to a a holiday event.
Fortunately the tights came in ballet pink, "jazz class" beige, and "special event" black. I could buy them fully footed, or with a hole in the bottom to sneak my foot out of when my blisters required tending. I used to have a weird thing where I only liked tights once they'd be worn a couple of times, but with the 310's, the fresher they came out of the dryer the better!
Slowly, I built up a stock of about 8 pairs of the Mondor 310's. Unfortunately they were about 15 dollars a pair so my Mom wasn't too eager to give me money every time one got a hole in the toe. Practically every single pair I owed had a toe that was sewn up, but it didn't matter, they were perfect to me. I still own several pairs of ballet tights and I haven't danced since I was 18. My friend Lauren still has her black 310's from high school. These things last!
Now as an adult I am still very picky about my tights. I refuse to wear any kind of nylon or pantyhose and always will. I can handle a fashion tight for short periods of time, but after a while that sagging crotch drives me bonkers.
Over the years the 310 tights have gotten even better with a knitted waistband, 3D technology to support the leg (and crotch) and they never seem to get any runs. They've even come out they a fish net tight which is bound to be flawless. I always buy mine at Malabar's in Ottawa but any dance or figure skating store will carry them.
Do your self a favour this holiday season and buy yourself some black Mondor tights. Not only will you be in fashion, but your legs will look long and lean. The days will be long, especially when a work day becomes a holiday party so buy a pair of good black tights where the crotch will stay in place, the waistband will reach your bra and your legs will never, ever feel the slightest itch. You deserve it!