Fashion » How to Wear Fishnet Tights and Socks Like a ’90s Fashion Star

How to Wear Fishnet Tights and Socks Like a ’90s Fashion Star

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Fishnets are polarizing accessories that have a tendency to assert themselves into your style once you try them on. They certainly require a bit of adventurousness to wear, as there is an edgier, sexier nature to them. Fishnets give a bit of edge and an extra interest to a design.

Fishnets Outfits: How to Wear Fishnet Tights and Socks
@mikutas, @aylin_koenig

If you really want to wear fishnets but have no idea on how to style them, you are not alone. It takes a bit of imagination and a willingness to mix and match to put together the perfect look, and we are here to help you understand how to wear fishnet tights and socks right.

How to Wear Fishnet Tights and Socks: Contents

What Are Fishnets?

Fishnets are fabric stockings or socks (hosiery) that feature an open mesh that is visually reminiscent of a fishing net. Sure, the name may not be the most original, but these have an interesting history in fashion.

The perception of fishnet hosiery is definitely on the sexier side. Fishnets have made an appearance in every genre of music and its associated style, plenty of movies and even as a standard in fetish play.

Fishnet is not always worn on the legs either, they appear on both arms and legs in both punk and Goth fashion in multiple patterns. The difference between fishnets and the more traditional tightly woven stockings is the large ‘holes’ that create the signature patterns.

Fishnet styles actually do have different names, they are all just known as the standard ‘fishnets’ until the individual learns otherwise. There are tighter woven fishnet styles up to larger patterns, and pretty much all of them are flattering.

The typical fishnets have a diamond pattern with the diamonds available in several different sizes. These look good on everyone and are thus the most popular. The super extra-large diamond pattern is called whale nets, and sometimes fence nets, but the backup is always to call them fishnets as well.

Fishnets are one of the accessories that perfectly straddle several different aesthetics. You can always feel sexy when you are wearing fishnets. Sexy and classy. Sexy and dangerous. Sexy and chic. Sexy and interesting.

The History of Fishnets

The rumor is that fishnets were created in the 1800s for Moulin Rouge’s performances. The burlesque dancers wore them to accentuate their legs and draw the eyes of the audience to them, and keep their attention there.

Once the way things worked for the burlesque dancers of Moulin Rouge got out, the other performers wanted a set of fishnets all their own. Because of the nature of these performances, and the reception and reviews on the beauty, and perceived flawlessness of the performers, fishnet tights continued to gain popularity.

Soon, fishnets were coming out in more stylish options with tighter mesh weaves, and bigger diamond and hole patterns as the decades passed.

Fishnets Outfits: Fishnet Tights with Boots

Fishnet tights and socks got a little bit of street cred to them thanks to the way that they blew up in popularity, and as more styles came out. But it almost immediately began to become associated with prostitutes and loose women in the 1960s. When this happens with any type of garment, it gives it an almost forbidden appeal that guarantees it will come back – when fashion is ready to get more risqué.

There has been a huge amount of consideration for fishnets as fetish wear. Even today the risqué air remains, which is what gives a lot of people pause over including them in their outfits. Any real fashionista or stylish individual knows that looks can be customized to fit the personality and aesthetics of the person wearing them, so if you are on the fence, take a chance and get one of the two most popular options – matte black or nude fishnet tights.

Start by wearing fishnets in ways where the telltale fishnet pattern is only just visible in hints and flashes, so you are not overwhelmed. Continue to incorporate them gradually, whenever you feel a need, and your confidence wearing them will grow.

How to Choose Fishnet Tights and Socks

Choosing between fishnet tights and fishnet socks is widely considered to be based on your comfort level, but outfit choice should weigh in just as heavily. Though fishnet tights are the most flattering as they provide all over support, fishnet socks look great when you don’t want to go with an all-over option.

Fishnet tights and socks come in several colors and styles. The main thing to remember with fishnet stockings of any type or style is how you feel wearing them. The first tip for wearing fishnets right is knowing how to choose the right fishnet tights and socks for you.

1. Check the package! If you are wearing your fishnets casually and want the waistband seen, wear those with the elastic style waistband. If you are wearing them to show off your legs, there are Spanx topped fishnets that offer comfortable shaping as well.

2. Picking your pattern is half the fun of fishnets. The pattern can include jewels and sparkles, designs, seams and welts and even a different style to the pattern.

When choosing your style of fishnet tights, remember that the tightness of the weave determines the size of the diamond pattern. The smaller the weave and the smaller the diamond, the more coverage the fishnets will provide, and the subtler your look will get.

Keep fishnets with larger patterns for special occasions and for the days you want to create edgier looks.

3. Decide on the color of your fishnet tights or socks! Black and brown are the classic shades of fishnets you can go for. Don’t be afraid to try a nude appropriate (meaning matching your skin tone) fishnet – they are great for breaking up patterns and mono-colored outfits.

4. Style is important as well! Fishnet socks vs tights can really be decided by the outfit. In most cases, if you are going to wear boots, go for fishnet tights. For nearly anything else you can sub in the fishnet socks. Fishnet socks look great with cropped jeans, sneakers, dressed up or dressed down.

5. When you need a bit of a boost, wear the garter style fishnet stockings – it’s better than just a sexy secret, it’s a functional sexy secret.

6. Choose unconventional fishnet styles, like sparkly fishnets, for nights out or to take your casual jean looks to the next level, wearing them under ripped jeans.

7. When you find a good brand, buy multiple packs of fishnets in any color you will wear. Even if you don’t wear them right away, you’ll have them.

How to Choose Fishnet Tights and Socks

How to Wear Fishnets Right: Tips to Consider and Mistakes to Avoid

Worst ways to wear fishnets are all easy to avoid. With fishnets, it is a matter of balance. Here are the worst ways to wear fishnets, and a few tips on how to fix them.

• Fishnets and miniskirts can be a terrible look if done alone, especially when you add a pair of heels to your look. For more chic styles, the balance of skin is important.

Layering here is key. Perfect example: the combo of a miniskirt, fishnets, socks and a jacket or a looser blouse-style shirt has become a great go-to look. The layering makes it a great look.

Otherwise you can balance the short hemlines of a skirt or shorts you wear with fishnets by keeping the collar of your shirt high and the length of your shirt sleeves long.

• Try to avoid wearing fishnets with too bright outfits, featuring prints and patterns or heavy embellishments. As usual, less is more, and remember to plan your outfit from top to bottom.

• Always give your preference to the traditional colors of fishnets, like black, nude or brown to create stylish daytime looks. While colored fishnets look fun, they might not be the best accessorizing options for daywear. Keep them for festivals and parties with friends!

• To tone your fishnets down, layer them with solid tights in black or nude shades, while wearing them over colorful tights will create fun, special occasion looks.

• Ripped fishnets are amazing for creating grunge looks, and they can look cool under ripped jeans, too.

• Don’t show the toes! People have been hiding the toes of fishnets forever – they are the least attractive part of the fishnet tights. Wearing them with socks layered on top is a huge trend right now.

• Don’t show the Spanx styled tops, but instead show the waistband tops of your fishnet tights!

Fishnet Outfit Ideas: Best Ways to Wear Fishnet Tights

One of the best suggestions on wearing fishnet tights is to treat them like a special sauce, giving a bit of oomph to your special outfit, and sometimes even making it more appropriate for wear through the seasons, making your spring and summer outfits a bit easier to wear in the fall. Below are a few great trends happening with fishnet tights:

Visible Waistline of Fishnet Tights

Do you remember Aaliyah’s underwear waistband being visible above her jeans waistband? Think of wearing your fishnet tights the same way. With crop tops back in style, it is worth it to add interesting elements to the break of space between the top of your pants and the hem of your shirt.

For this style, the larger diamond pattern is more interesting, but it can really vary based on taste. No need to go with just the standard black or nude fishnet tights, though black is striking in this style. Adding a pop of color in your fishnets here could work as well.

How to Wear Fishnets Right: Visible Fishnet Waistline

Wear Finer Mesh Fishnet Tights to Work

Finer mesh fishnets tend to be considered the classier and chicer version of the sexy fishnet, best for standard wear, although less adventurous – for fishnets anyway. If you are looking for a way to wear fishnet tights tastefully to work, finer mesh fishnets the way to go. The seams on these are usually the most attractive and pronounced.

Casual Fishnets: Distressed Jeans or Lace-Up Pants and Sneakers

Have you seen fishnet tights under ripped jeans? They are amazing and can be worn in so many different ways. Playing peekaboo with your fishnet tights is one of the most interesting and everyday comfortable ways to wear them. This is a great way to play with colored fishnets as well.

If you have a pair of bright yellow fishnets from a festival you went to and would like to incorporate them into your everyday casual wear, putting them under the distressed fabric would allow them to be seen. The effect won’t be as overpowering and can still be a subtle way to wear the trend.

For example, a pair of distressed black pants with knee and thigh holes and a pair of bright yellow fishnets beneath them would be cool without being jarring. A great way is also wearing a pair of matte black fishnets beneath pants with see-through windows on the thighs, and the look will be much more interesting than with the pants alone.

How to Wear Fishnets Right: Fishnet Tights with Ripped Jeans

Fishnet Tights with Boots

Show off your fishnet tights and style based on your shoes. Dr. Martens, high-heeled boots, chunky heeled, buckled and boyish are all styles of boots that will slightly alter the appearance of the fishnet. We all know that fishnets could be seen as vampy, punk, sensual – here the tights will take after the boots.

If you want to wear your fishnets with boots, consider the amount of leg you would normally show and what portion of your fishnets will show. Complementary colors, designs and decorations can also be worn alone, with shorts, with skirts, dresses, and whatever else you can imagine.

Fishnets with Oversized T-Shirt Dresses

One of the edgier looks is to wear a T-shirt dress with fishnets and boots. The oversized tops as dresses have been very on trend lately and with fishnets, you feel a bit less naked, and look a bit more stylishly put together.

The T-shirt dress here is often belted and worn with a jacket. It is an ode to the punk rock style that is gaining ground as an interesting look that has a good amount of flair.

With a ‘90s Style Slip Dress

Whatever style of fishnets is your favorite, it can work with a slip dress. Pair your fishnet tights with a pea coat and a cute set of boots to pull off the look in fall.

Fishnet Tights with Interesting Skirts

Skirt length will matter here – avoid miniskirts even with a tighter weave on your fishnets. It just shows too much skin. This may seem contradictory considering the slip dress and T-shirt dress being worn with fishnets, but the complete piece looks longer as it does not break up on the body.

Try midi-length skirts and pencil skirts with fishnet tights. Consider a midi skirt with a slit to allow your fishnets to peek through. If the wind is going to flash a bit more leg than anticipated, at least you know you are flatteringly covered and stylishly appointed, so there is no embarrassment.

How to Wear Fishnets Right: Fishnet Tights with Shorts

Best Ways to Wear Fishnet Socks

The most current iteration of the fishnet trend includes fishnet socks. Quite frankly women are rocking this style in ways that fishnets have not been seen before. The new life breathed into this trend is exciting, as fishnets are known to be anyway, and creative in the execution of different stylistic choices.

The same rules that apply to fishnet tights apply moderately to fishnet socks, but the sock version is actually more versatile and fun. They are also much less intimidating to wear, as they can be considered lower profile. Fishnet socks are easier to stock up on because they can be worn with practically anything.

Dress Your Fishnet Socks up

Dressy trousers or flat front pants usually have a break at the ankle. Wearing a pair of fishnet socks with your heels can make your shoes more comfortable and your look livelier.

Fishnet Outfits: How to Wear Fishnet Socks

Dress Them down!

Fishnet socks look amazing with sneakers and cropped jeans or joggers. They add the perfect amount of edginess.

Generally, you want to keep your jeans or tailored pants cropped to let the fishnet sock peek through your outfit.

Layer Your Fishnet Socks

Show your gorgeous fishnet socks off! Open back slides, and mules, ankle boots, pumps, low-profile sneakers, and even high-top sneakers look great with fishnet socks. Unfortunately, the cagey feeling that fishnets get around the toes will still persist, so look for close-toed shoes as much as you can.

The exception to showing off the toes of your fishnet socks is to guide the eye away from the toes. Clear shoes are a big trend, so try the fishnets socks with those.

The best option though is to find a pair of lace-up ankle boots that will lead the eye up away from the toes with the interesting laces to appreciate the coolness of a calf-high fishnet sock.

How to Wear Fishnet Socks Right

Photos via Instagram