There was a great article published in the Nov. 26-Dec. 23 Central Austin Edition of the Community Impact Newspaper about local dancewear store Movin’ Easy. I’ve been wearing dance tights in the cold for years, but I don’t remember to talk about it! This article was a great inspiration to share the idea and remind you to shop local where you can.

Zero Waste doesn’t always mean no waste. A lot of times it means less waste. We can make less waste by purchasing longer lasting, higher quality products. Ways we can make less waste should be shared. Hence, my excitement to tell you about dance tights!

Some jobs may require pantyhose, tights, a dress or skirt, etc. My private elementary school strongly discouraged girls from wearing pants so we all had green or navy tights on in winter under our jumpers and school sweatshirts. I’ve actually worn tights under work pants for additional warmth as most offices prohibit space heaters. For whatever your reasons, if you need leg covering this may be a good option to try out.

Tights in general last longer than pantyhose. They’re thicker so they hold up better. Dance tights are designed for rigorous movement and so they hold up even longer than standard tights. They’re also softer and more comfortable than hose and standard tights.

I went through a dress phase at work, but my office was cold. When it was too cold for bare legs but not cold enough for leggings, tights worked perfectly. I had navy, black and skin-colored standard tights. I wore the skin-colored so much and was going through a few pairs a year until I remembered dance tights from high school drill (dance) team. Dance tights are also a great addition to your Halloween costume! When I would wear my school cheerleader outfit as a Halloween costume, while it came with a long-sleeve insert, it did not have pants. Skin-colored dance tights were perfect to keep warm on a cool Halloween night and not detract from the outfit.

Dance tights do not come in as many colors as standard tights. They come in black, white, ballerina pink, and about 8 flesh/skin/nude tones. Dance tights are helpful here if you have difficulty matching your skin tone with pantyhose; I know I do. Pantyhose do not make a nice “pale” shade. Dance tights do not have textures. A feature they do have is different styles of feet. This can be helpful if you want to mix up your shoe styles. I always buy the footed dance tights (these are like standard tights) because I don’t want the tights moving around under my foot. However if you are a person whose feet get hot, footless dance tights may be a helpful choice for you if you’re going to wear booties or knee boots. If you are going out and want a peep toe or strappy shoe, the stirrup foot might be an option for you. There’s also a style called transition that can convert from footed to footless (there’s a hole and you move the material where you want it). There are a lot of options so remember to check sizing, adult vs. child, and “finish”: matte or shiny.

Tip: Be very careful ordering and buying dance tights. Some of these come in a shimmery/shiny version and very few drill team directors want shine on the field or dance floor. When I say shiny they are shiny and if you don’t want to shimmer at work order/buy carefully.

If you’re going into drill team or dance, a little preview and a few tips from my surrogate sister, a former Rangerette officer and current drill team assistant director, recommends the following:

  • 3 pairs of dance tights per year minimum
  • 3-5 pairs is average per year
    • 1-2 pairs for football season
    • 1-2 pairs for contest season
    • 1 pair for spring show
  • Currently my sister’s drill team is recommending transition/convertible tights (the ones with the hole in the foot) for football season, and the stirrup tights (tight loops under your arch) for contest season.
  • Turners/half soles are the more popular shoe now so stirrup tights give a clean line and allow the turner and heel to still be exposed.

My footed black dance tights were $14.95 (without tax). Standard tights are running $6-18 (without tax). Seeing as how pantyhose last me 1 wear and standard tights last me 1-2 wears before I snag them, and dance tights last me years, this is a good investment for me.

Tip: If you do snag your tights/hose, clear nail polish on the spot may prolong the pair for one or more wears or stop the run if you’re at work. If you put the nail polish on the snag/run, on your leg, once it dries, very gently pull the material away from your leg if it stuck so that it does not run further. Once you are out of nail polish, or the nail polish bottle dries out, nail polish can be taken to your local household hazardous waste facility for safe disposal. In Austin, this is at the HHW station of the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center.

When you do snag or tear your tights or pantyhose beyond wear, there are tons of DIY project ideas on the internet about how to reuse these before they go to the landfill.

What unique lower waste tips do you have? Any ideas for items you use regularly that may benefit us in a different context? Please share!