Dear VienneMilano,
What's the verdict on stockings with open toe shoes?
Amanda J.

At VienneMliano, we firmly believe that sheer tights and open toe shoes do not belong together. Open toe shoes are meant for informal occasions, and sheer stockings are typically worn for formal gatherings. Mixing the two items sends a mixed signal to your fashionable intent – plus, it looks silly. That said, for every (fashion) rule, there are exceptions. For example, this rule does not apply to opaque tights.

To address this fashion dilemma, let us define open toe shoes, introduce the concept of sheer and matte stockings, and explain why all of this matters. Finally, we reached out to a few fashionable stylists to share their expert opinions.

What are open toe shoes?

As the name implies, open toe shoes are shoes that reveal toes, including flip flops, sandals, and peep-hole shoes.

Sheer and Matte Stockings.

Stockings can be simplified into two categories: sheer (less than 20-denier) and opaque (more than 20-denier). While sheer stockings are typically worn during formal events (graduations, job interviews, weddings, and funerals), opaque stockings are meant for casual settings (work, weekend with the girls).

Sheer Stockings


Matte Stockings

As previously mentioned, sheer stockings and any type of open-toe shoes do not work. On the other hand, wearing opaque stockings with open-toe shoes is arguably acceptable. Opaque stockings cover your toes which offer a degree of modesty.

Peep-hole shoes with tights


Matte stockings and peep-toe shoes are the only exceptions to this rule.

Expert Opinions

Meet Holly Katz (Owner of Holly Katz Styling and Host of Fashion Crimes Podcast), Ginger Burr (Founder of Total Image Consultant, and author of That's So You!), Diana Moore (stylist extraordinaire of Worth New York), Tricia Cromwell (Founder of Trust In Tricia), and Susan Kanoff (stylists and owner of The Midlife Fashionista).

According to Holly Katz:

An open-toe shoe can be one of two things:

Sandals with a full opening at the toe or peep-toe shoes. In my professional opinion, a stocking CAN be worn with a peep toe shoe only, not a sandal.

The purpose of wearing a sandal is to show your feet, particularly in warm weather. To wear stockings with sandals defeats the purpose of the look, which is to show most of the foot. Most people also wear stockings to keep warm during colder months. I wouldn't advise wearing a sandal in the winter and certainly wouldn't advise wearing sheer stockings with sandals as it wouldn't provide any warmth. Also, this type of stocking has a seam at the toe, which can be seen easily seen unless you are wearing closed-toe shoes.

My vote is NO to wearing a stocking with a full open-toe sandal but YES to a peep-toe shoe.

This is because peep-toe shoes can be worn all year round. I only approve stocking with peep-toe shoes if the stockings are opaque, meaning you can't see through it or see the seam. I have seen this look numerous times for several seasons now. Especially if the peep-toe shoes are platforms, they give the wearer a little extra height and create a longer, leaner look with an opaque stocking. This is a solid yes from me!

Style Quick Tip: Try a solid peep toe shoe in the fall or winter with the VienneMilano MATILDA Argyle thigh highs or the ANDREA opaques, a beautiful A-line dress with a leather cowboy belt and statement earrings.

According to Ginger Burr:

I discourage women from wearing stockings with open-toed shoes. Perhaps someone who is 20 can pull it off as looking trendy and cool, but anyone over 40 doing the same thing has a tendency to look old and stodgy. The exception is black tights. Since you can't see your toes through the material and they are usually worn (although not always) with black shoes, it doesn't make your toes look webbed (like regular stockings do).

Diana Moore says:

I think stockings with open-toe shoes look terrible. The only exception would be a very narrow opening at the toe of the shoe.

Susan recommends:

Never wear reinforced toe stockings with open-toe shoes. Go monochromatic...I like black shoes with black tights or stockings. Even a subtle pattern can be fun! Make sure that your shoes or boots have more of a peep toe than a wide exposed area. Check your hosiery for pulls or frays (especially around the toe area)

Conversely, Tricia believes:

Yes, you can wear stockings with open-toe shoes.

Tricia recommends getting stockings that do not have a reinforced toe or a large seam on the toe.

And Tricia is not the only one who believes stockings can be worn with open-toe shoes. According to Stacy London of What Not To Wear, she too agrees that hosiery can be paired with open-toe shoes so long as the shoe is more of a peep-toe.

Interestingly enough, fashion designers have intentionally dressed models in pantyhose with open-toe shoes on the runway as well.

Open toe shoes with blue stockings

Fashion catwalks may reveal the latest trends – but trends come and go. In the famous words of Yves St. Laurent: "Fashions fade, style is eternal." Ultimately, it's up to you to establish your style and sophistication.

YSL Quote


So, which do you prefer? Have you worn stockings with open-toe shoes, and if so, what was the occasion? We love to know what your thoughts are on this fashion topic – comment on our post below!

October 14, 2016
Tags: Fashion tips


Marcella said:

I think opaque stockings AND sheer stocking (especially those with a pattern, like polka dots) are perfectly fine with peep toe shoes, as long as they do not have a reinforced toe. They can look fun and sexy or artsy of edgy, regarding on the rest of the outfit; stockings can be a great way to personalize one’s overall look. I would not wear stockings, any kind of stockings, with actual sandals, however.

Kate said:

Since I have varicose veins at 55 years old, I wear black opaque stockings with peep hole sandals in summer all the time. I have sexy legs so I guess I’m able to get away with it. ;)

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