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Irish - Adult Dancers
Tips About Tights (karma: 9)  en>fr fr>en
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 829, member since Sun Nov 04, 2007
On Thu Mar 20, 2008 09:15 PM
Edited by wildwoodflower (187757) on 2008-03-20 21:18:21 a typo
Made sticky by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2008-03-22 11:31:02 Great post! The adults need some stickies of their own.

Since we are now all bound by both age and tight wearing status, I thought a general reference on tights would be wise. If you have any of your own tips feel free to add on! :]

Types of Tights
There are several different types of tights that would be appropriate for Irish Dance. Remember they have to be of a 70 denier or thicker, so ballet tights will be ok, but not necessarily all pantyhose. Be sure to check.

Footed, which covers the whole foot, just like pantyhose.

Footless, which has no foot at all and stops at the ankle, like stretch pants.

Transition/convertible tights have a hole in the foot under the arch so they can be pulled up over the foot and function as either footed or footless tights. They also allow access to the foot without having to take the tights all the way off. This is a handy fact if one pair of shoes doesn't fit well with tights are requires the addition of socks but the other pair of shoes fits fine.

Stirrup tights have no foot but a band of material under the arch to keep the tights in place.

Both footless and stirrup tights would require some additional footwear to be appropriate, because they leave the feet bare, but a nude pair may be a nice idea for younger dancers who still want to wear poodle socks without having bare legs.

Tights also come in "seamed" and "unseamed." Seamed tights have a seam running up the back or inside of each leg. Unseamed tights have a seam at the toe but the legs are continuous tubes of material.

Common materials are cotton, polyester, lycra, microfiber, spandex, supplex, and sometimes wool. Please note only cotton and wool are 100% natural fibers.

For pictures go to www.capeziostore.com . . . and look at all the different types.

Shoes Don't Fit
Since often we either wear socks to practice, or have been wearing socks all the time, some fear their shoes won't fit with tights now. My first recommendation is to try the shoes on for a class or two with tights and see how bad it is.

If shoes are only a little loose:

Soft shoes - Try lacing them tighter (duh) or wearing a pair of no show socks with your tights. www.footsmart.com . . .

Hard shoes - Try an insole (who can refuse extra comfort?) or a heel cushion.

If shoes are fairly loose:
Wear a pair of no show socks (shown above) or even below the ankle black sport socks. www.footsmart.com . . .

If your shoes are very loose and the above measures haven't helped you may have to get new shoes. The change in fit from socks to tights shouldn't be so drastic that your shoes won't fit, so most likely your shoes are stretched out or worn out and the change to tights has made you more aware of it. If this is the case try to get your shoes fitted in your tights to be absolutely certain they will fit.

If one pair of shoes fits and the other does not you may consider wearing a pair of transition/convertible tights to make adding socks between rounds easier.

Sensitive Skin
For sensitive skin my best advice is try as many different brands and fabrics as you can and see what irritates your skin and what doesn't. Or buy cotton. Also use lotion. Tights tend to draw moisture out of the skin which causes some of the itching. I have had wonderful luck with capezio tights that are made of supplex provided I use lotion to keep my legs from drying out.

The Health Issue
Some ladies worry about the healthfulness of wearing tights while getting hot and sweaty while dancing. Although this is not an issue for most women and wearing tights of a natural or more breathable fiber (i.e. cotton, supplex, microfiber) will probably be of no risk at all, there is something else that can be done. Remove the "crotch gusset." This idea is from a hypochondriac ballet dancing friend of mine.

The gusset is that little football shaped piece of fabric where the legs of the tights are seamed together. Removing this piece of fabric can help air circulation, but its not for everyone, and has the potential to go very wrong and the tights will unravel and run. Not a happy day. I recommend trying it with either a cheap pair of tights or a pair with a run before cutting up a nice pair.

How to remove the gusset:
1) Turn the tights inside out and carefully snip the seam around the gusset with embroidering scissors. Be VERY careful not to cut any of the fabric or this will not work.
2) continue to open the seam at either end of the gusset until the opening is big enough that it will not pinch or rub. I suggest trying the tights on several times in this process.
3) After finding out exactly how big you want your opening, tie off any of the threads you having hanging around from the seam and, using a new piece of thread, whip stitch (www.thenaturalstructure.com . . .) just at the edge of the seam to keep it from pulling apart any further.
4) You can either leave the edges of the opening unfinished or finish them. Often the tights will simply roll up some and the raw edges will disappear. If you are concerned about unraveling you can roll the raw edge slightly and stitch it in place with a blanket stitch (www.thenaturalstructure.com . . .)

In ballet this trick requires a little skill, because of the possibility of the bare inner thigh poking out from the leotard, however, in Irish Dance we have these nifty little things called bloomers/kick pants to solve this problem for us! Ingenious!

Tights and Dresses
A nifty way to keep a dress from looking bad with tights is to fudge the color a bit. Although many dresses may not look good with black tights what about navy? Or charcoal? Or chocolate? I must confess that this idea also isn't my own. Cluich came up with it and has wonderful suggestions in this thread. www.dance.net . . .
And there are pictures in this one. www.dance.net . . .
If you look very closely you will notice her tights are a very dark navy, which looks wonderful with her dress. It is just enough of a color shift to trick the eye but not so much as we all go "Hey! She isn't wearing black tights! She is wearing blue ones!". Also, keep in mind that different brands of tights will use a different color for the base of their black dye (either red, blue, or green) so possibly trying a different brand of tight could change the appearance of the dress with the tights as well.

48 Replies to Tips About Tights

re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By JadenConnorMama Comments: 260, member since Sat Feb 02, 2008
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 07:28 AM
Thanks! Some great information there :D
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By Cluichmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2903, member since Sat May 10, 2003
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 07:59 AM
Thank you for all the info and giving me the credit for the navy tights, but in fact I got the idea from a picture I saw in IDM where the Claddagh School (who wear cream dresses with bronze, brown and gold colours) wore dark brown tights for teams. I thought that was so clever!
re: Tips About Tights (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4008, member since Sat Feb 03, 2007
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 03:10 PM
My "tights tip" is: If you have trouble with turn-out, then when you do cuts you may end up making runs (many, many runs, I know from experience!) in your tights with the buckle of your opposite hardshoe. Solution: a short strip of electrical tape, just over the buckle. It's not noticable, solves the problem, and removes very easily!
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By criosamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3231, member since Wed Oct 09, 2002
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 04:43 PM
if, for some reason you are desperate and grab a pair of nylons/pantyhose, make sure they aren't the ones that are darker at the top. that line looks really bad. (yes, I've seen dancers wear them). I don't think dance tights have this problem.

if you are doing back-to-back feiseanna, you will want to invest in an extra pair (or two. it's always good to have a back-up). soggy tights on day two is not fun. (learned that the hard way.) heck, it might be nice to change them mid-day at a feis if your first dance is at 8am and your last one is at 3pm.

leotards are nice to wear to help keep tights from falling down (to some degree. I still feel like they're creeping downwards a little bit). they are not so fun if you have to wear them all day and need to visit the restroom.
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By DruidButterfly Comments: 121, member since Sat Mar 08, 2008
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 07:21 PM
I LOVE my convertables!
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By WaLtOn_cHiCkmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 285, member since Wed Feb 11, 2004
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 07:36 PM
I find that tights make my shoes seem more slippery. I might have to invest in a pair of stirrup tights. Also, in the ruling doesn't it say that tights must be black? Or am I wrong? Emma.
re: Tips About Tights (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By Allymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3182, member since Sun Dec 11, 2005
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 08:19 PM
Hey guys, As a ballet dancer (17 ish years)/new irish dancer I thought I would offer my 2 cents on tights

1. They are not that uncomfortable
I would say the best investment would bet convertable tights because you can roll them oup to your knees to air you feet and legs out. I've had to wear three pairs tights at the same time for recital once because all of my dances were back to back and I just had time to change costumes, then rip off the pair of tights, so I mean...you're not goin to die.

2. They are hygenic
Personally, tights are WAY more comfortable when you don't wear underwear. You have your kickpants on underneath so I mean you won't pull a Paris Hilton. The gusset is MADE so you don't have to wear underwear, it is breathable and I don't even notice it. And if you're that paranoid wear a thong.

Tip: Hike the suckers up as high as they can go. You'll get used to it. Don't wear them on the hip, it starts to hurt. Pull them all the way up. And if its a little tight, then trim vertically around the waist and spray hairspray on it or clear fingernail polish to keep if from running

Also, I'd wear a leotard underneath so if you have a two pieace or one peice you can slide the dress off and put on shorts and it looks like you are wearing a tank top!

Oh and my personal favorite brand is Danskin because the waist is really soft not the scratchy kind.

hope this helped
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 829, member since Sun Nov 04, 2007
On Fri Mar 21, 2008 09:50 PM
WaLtOn_cHiCk wrote:

I find that tights make my shoes seem more slippery. I might have to invest in a pair of stirrup tights. Also, in the ruling doesn't it say that tights must be black? Or am I wrong? Emma.

I think the tights have to be black, but if anyone knows otherwise please correct me. As for the stirrup tights, remember that there is no material over the foot, so if you were to wear them alone with your soft shoes you would see naked foot through the lacing.

I also noticed in the department store today that they sell tights of 70 denier that have patterns, like vertical stripes or herring bone in the knit. You can't see through the pattern, its just texture. That could be another fun way to break out of the mold with your tights.
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By Cluichmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2903, member since Sat May 10, 2003
On Sat Mar 22, 2008 03:48 AM
Yes, the tights should be black, but as I showed with my dress, they're not going to check this. There is some flexibility as long as it could pass for black from a distance. After all, there are many shades of black tights.
If it says dark navy, you're fine (navy is dark in itself and you have the darker shade of a dark colour). If it says dark chocolate, ditto.
Just compare it with bridal dresses: an ivory dress is still considered a white dress, right? Then dark navy tights can still pass for black.

Bright red might be pushing it a little though ...
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By WaLtOn_cHiCkmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 285, member since Wed Feb 11, 2004
On Sat Mar 22, 2008 04:11 AM
LOL fair enough. I wonder if you were to wear black ankle socks with the stirrup tights if it would be noticeable from stage? I for one am not looking forward to this rule, I dont like wearing tights as it is for teams - let alone solo. One can only hope that our choice to wear socks is brought back soon (maybe even before the rule comes in!).
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By califeisgirl Comments: 2408, member since Thu Mar 21, 2002
On Sat Mar 22, 2008 04:37 AM
I dance with the claddagh school in California and our tights are actually marroon, which is great fun. Greenway wears dark brown tights I think But it just goes to show how tights colors don't always look like what they are supposed to be.
If you do end up buying nylons, then get "sheer to waist" ones, those are the types that don't change color around the thigh.
Also, when it comes to shoes, put your hardshoes on with your tights and had an extra hole in the strap. You'll only have to use that hole when you wear the tights and that extra tightness at the strap will make things feel a lot more comfortable.
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4008, member since Sat Feb 03, 2007
On Sat Mar 22, 2008 07:47 AM
Another "tip"
As you become a tights wearer, add a bottle of fingernail polish to your dance bag. It can keep a small hole from becoming a big run. I've used clear, but it tends to dry whitish, which isn't the best with black tights. Has anybody tried a different color, or black fingernail polish?
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 829, member since Sun Nov 04, 2007
On Sat Mar 22, 2008 08:44 AM
Edited by wildwoodflower (187757) on 2008-03-22 08:45:37
Black nail polish works well, but make sure it isn't the super duper glossy stuff, or it has the same effect as clear. You could also use fray check, which is available at most sewing stores. Its a liquid you dab on the edge, but its designed to be used on fabric (not nails) so it drys with a matte finish instead of glossy. I think it runs about $5 US, so a little more expensive than nail polish, but it has a better result too. I almost forgot, because its clear you can use it on any fabric, so you can use it on little tears in your regular pantyhose and even other girls things too!
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By luv2jigmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 710, member since Tue Aug 07, 2007
On Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:34 AM
Great post! Does anyone else have suggestions for brands that don't have the super-tight waistband? And I think gluing the "no-show" socks would be a good idea because I've had them slip down when I've worn them under tights.
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By JadenConnorMama Comments: 260, member since Sat Feb 02, 2008
On Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:39 AM
They may be entirely too big for you, but Lane Bryant makes a kind of tights that are almost like leggings. They're super soft, and come up quite high, very comfortable :) AND I've never once gotten a run in them!
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By magdalenemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 396, member since Fri Apr 27, 2007
On Wed Mar 26, 2008 08:48 AM
I'm a crossover dancer (I just do Irish for fun, I don't compete) and I've always worn tights.

I highly recommend the convertible style, you can slip a pair of foot socks underneath and still adjust if necessary. Theres also body tights if the waistband of regular tights bothers you.

I recommend jumping over to the ballet forums and reading the threads there if you're worried about hygiene- most ballet dancers don't wear underwear and that solves the issue (dance tights have a gusset for that purpose).

Once you get used to them, tights actually help alot with the moisture issue (no more sweat running down your legs) and gives you some support. It also gives you a nice line.

True dance tights come in alot of different fabrics now, it's a matter of personal preference. I like the NYCB backseam convertibles and Sansha's convertibles (the T90)'s.

discountdance.com is a nice website because it gives customer reviews of all their products. If you need a color to match your costume, welovecolors.com has a great selection (I've only worn their thigh-highs and fishnets, so I can't personally vouch for their tights, but what I've tried I've liked.)

Hope that helps!
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By weegreenlassiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 116, member since Sat Dec 08, 2007
On Sat Apr 26, 2008 05:20 AM
Edited by weegreenlassie (189123) on 2008-04-26 05:24:58 read more posts
Wait.. Sorry...
I kind of avoided the whole "tights issue" thread load. I'm not pleased, but I'll deal--and now that this awesome post is here, there's new ways to cope!

I was under the impression that your tights had to be 70 denier, and that was the only restriction...
Claddaugh uses Brown/Maroon (as mentioned earlier in this thread), and that's nifty about the Navy Tights--but there's no rules against it, right? --I'm just seeing "We 'Should' wear black tights" not that we have to...
:P I'm always trying to figure out ways to be "that person" who finds loopholes... Sorry if the commission gets super strict once they see my post!!!

Or is this one of those issues that's merely "frowned upon" to do something other than black...?
(I guess this has already sort of been addressed)

I think technically there are "ballet pink" tights in 70 denier (not that I would do it), so couldn't you wear those?

I think it would be fun, especially for teams, to do something with checkerboard tights, or something!! (if you can find them thick enough!!)

Sorry if this is bringing up an issue already posted!!!
~Kat
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By senior_lady Comments: 113, member since Sat May 03, 2008
On Tue May 13, 2008 07:08 AM
I really wanna find some tights that make my legs looked like they're tanned just like usual - I've seen them around and I so want to find them in 70 denier!!!! Any ideas? Or is this pushing the envelope a bit too much?
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By CelticAngel Comments: 1175, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Tue May 13, 2008 11:02 PM
According to our Australian Irish Dancing Association website:

TIGHTS RULE
From January 2009 the competitors in the 19 -21 and over 21 age groups will be obliged to wear black tights of not less than 70 denier.

So I figure that's black for us (or chocolate/navy if we're feeling stealthy!). It's so depressing to see it written down like that...I don't want to wear tights whaaaa :(
*Rant over*
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By senior_lady Comments: 113, member since Sat May 03, 2008
On Wed May 14, 2008 03:23 AM
^^^^Aah crying. I don't wanna! That sucks - but thanks Celtic Angel, must remind myself to actually read the rules before I come up with ideas on how to get around them. :( sadness to the maximum.
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By weegreenlassiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 116, member since Sat Dec 08, 2007
On Wed May 14, 2008 03:59 AM
Sadface...
That's going to make it so hard for all of the schools with "dark dresses"... We're non-competitive, and used to wear hunter dresses with black tights... and we just looked DARK on stage :(
I'm mostly sad, if schools revamp their adult costumes to fit the rules, that this will mean even more money going out for this cause... (not wanting to start a rant thing, though! Sorry!!)

Ah well, tights hold me in, and that can NEVER be a bad thing ;)
~Kat
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By maureensiobhan Comments: 4555, member since Wed Dec 24, 2003
On Wed May 14, 2008 09:34 AM
As a ballet dancer, I can tell you that good, durable, real dance tights will NOT get runs and ladders in them. The tights that will rip are the cheap nylon pantyhose that you get at department stores such as JCPenny, Sears, Target, and Walmart. These pantyhose are NOT real dance tights. To get real dance tights, you'll need to go to a dancewear store, or order the tights from a dancewear catalog.

As for hygiene, wash the tights after every wearing. As someone above me said, real dance tights are hygienic. If you're concerned about getting a rash from the nylon, I suggest sprinkling Gold Bond powder on your legs before you put on the tights. Buy tights that are made from a different material such as supplex. This material is much more comfortable than nylon.

As for the dresses matching with black tights, you won't need to get a new dress. Any color goes with black.

As for underwear, you don't need to wear a pair of knickers under the tights. The tights are underwear enough. Wear a pair of proper dance trunks over the tights. If you wear dance trunks, you won't have to worry about having to take off the dress and then putting the dress back on if you need to go to the bathroom.

As for wearing the tights all the time, you don't HAVE to wear tights for class and for practice at home. Wear socks that are the same thickness as the tights.

As for the tight waistband, Bloch tights have a comfortable waistband.
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4008, member since Sat Feb 03, 2007
On Wed May 14, 2008 03:12 PM
Unfortunately, "real" dance tights do get runs in them. I've been wearing capezio brand tights, bought from a dance store, and my practice pair has 8 holes on the outside leg, where I have caught my hardshoe buckle on them. They also have holes in the toes from my big toenails (I have funky big toenails!)

Long live black nail polish!!!! ;D
re: Tips About Tights en>fr fr>en
By Kirvin3member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 769, member since Tue Jul 01, 2008
On Tue Jul 01, 2008 05:41 PM
I have a recommendation. I found an ad in a magazine unrelated to Irish Dance. They're called Kushyfoot. The footbed of the tights is cushioned and, with a little adjusting, the cushioning is completely invisible in my competition shoes. My Adult group used them during the Mid Atlantic Oireachtas so we all matched. They are available in some stores (Tops supermarket in weastern NY carries them) or you can order them online.

To clarify: I am NOT in any way shape or form associated with this company, I just tried the product and liked it. As I am new on these forums, if there is any issue with this post please let me know and/or just remove it!
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