How to Wear Tights in LA- Style Tips from Shirley Kurata

When moving to LA from NYC recently, I schlepped a vanity case full of my beloved tights cross-country: rich merlot, inky black, heather gray. Confession: I haven’t even unpacked them. Because I have no idea how to pull off any layers in sunny, virtually season-less LA. 

So, I asked LA-based stylist Shirley Kurata for some tips on hooking up hosiery during SoCal winter months. Not only does Kurata have mad fashion sense, she also has a knack for rocking some enviably chic, ultra mod color block outfits with tights. Oh, and she’s done runway-styling for Rodarte, as well as editorials featuring indie fashion faves like Zooey Deschanel, Miranda July, Beck—and the list goes on.

“The more you live here, the more you get wimpy about weather,” Kurata says. “So while non-LA folk think its warm, we LA natives think it’s freezing.  Sometimes I'll wear tights when its really cold in the morning, but take them off when its heats up in the afternoon.  It’s a versatile piece of clothing.” Kurata also recommends keeping it classy with your stocking options—namely color and style. “Dark colored tights are the most grown-up. Black, navy, gray,” Kurata says. “Generally avoid white, since you will look like a child going to ballet.” Understood.

For days when you do want a burst of color, tights can add maximum impact to a neutral outfit or as a finishing touch to a color block outfit. “I would avoid…crazy prints or patterns,” Kurata says. “I'm not a fan of the ripped up tights. In my opinion, the grunge days were over in the 90s.” 

The stylist’s final caveat? “If you don't want to be mistaken for a prostitute on Hollywood Blvd, maybe avoid the short, short skirts with lacey tights or the ones that look like they have garters and thigh highs built into one,” she says. “If you’re wearing short skirts or a short mini-dress, opaque tights are good to wear so that your bum is covered up!”

Kurata’s fave brands include We Love Colors for a lower price point, Hansel from Basel for great patterned and thicker winter tights, and Falke for higher end tights.

photos by Maia Harms