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Pantyhose are appropriate for formal occasions, such as graduation ceremonies or weddings, especially if you are the center of the occasion. Selecting the best pantyhose to complement your cocktail dress is vital to ensure that you look well-groomed and coordinated. Some occasions allow for unique patterns in your pantyhose, but these should be used with discretion. Take time to consider the fit, size and color of your pantyhose to help you look your best.

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Measure the circumference of the widest part of your hips prior to heading to the store. Using your hip and height measurement or your weight and height measurement, select the proper size of stockings. Purchase one size larger if you have very long legs or are right in between two sizes, as stockings that are too small will create unsightly bulges.

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Select the type of stockings that will flatter your figure in your dress. Select control top or modeling stockings for a fitted dress or one made with clingy material. Purchase comfort, regular stockings for a flowing, a-line dress. Try on your stockings in advance of your event to ensure desired fit as stockings that are too small or too short may cut you off mid-abdomen and create a muffin-top effect. Purchase a larger size if your stockings do not fit properly, or a smaller size if the stockings pool at the front of your ankle. Look for reinforced-toe stockings only if your shoes do not expose your toes.

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Choose the color of your stockings carefully, as an improper color can negatively affect your ensemble. Buy nude pantyhose if you want something appropriate at all times of the year and with every color of shoes. Select nude if you want the pantyhose to be minimal and consider a light weight, sheer variety for summer, outdoor events. Look for white stockings to compliment white shoes or pastel shoes, but take care to choose the sheerest type to avoid appearing to wear tights, which are not appropriate with a cocktail dress. Black stockings are the best option for a black cocktail dress; use sheer for summer occasions and more opaque options during the colder seasons.


Look for stockings with a pleasant scent, as this is indicative of well made stockings. Avoid pantyhose with a rounded seam, as this will leave indentations on your skin.

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About the Author

Melissa Sabo

Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.