American Tan Tights
English white legs needed the help of tights to get that tan, but they were dark orange! Were “oompa loompa” legs really the fashion? (Early 70’s)
Tights had became popular in the 1960s as an alternative to stockings. Although many men were sad at the decrease in the numbers of women wearing stockings and suspenders, tights with their long sheer legs were perfect for wearing with the shorter length skirts, dresses and hotpants.
Tights meant liberation and were easy and comfortable to wear. Although the sheer nylon looked like something the older generation wore in World War Two – they were distinctly different. Stockings had fiddly suspender belts and even a back seam whereas you just slipped tights on and forgot about them.
The idea was for the legs to be sheer and natural but still look as if they were covered. American Tan with its dark orange tint – looking as no skin colour ever did, fitted the bill perfectly. There was a brief stockings and suspenders revival in the late 70s but by then women had got used to being more comfortable and it did not catch on in any great numbers.
Later in the decade, black tights became popular and American Tan became slightly corny and old fashioned. Either way these tights were transparent enough to show the teenage boys enough leg to keep them happy during class. Nothing better in life, according to school boys of the era than watching the girls swinging their legs to and fro in class, instead of watching the boring blackboard.
Trousers for girls were banned at most schools so the girls needed leg coverings that looked respectable enough for school and kept their legs warm too. The denier (thickness) of the tights varied but obviously the thicker the better in winter. Many schoolgirls also wore long over the knee white socks on top of their tights.
No matter what the manufacturers may have said, tights did not hold up to the rough wear and tear that the girls of the 1970s would put them through on a daily basis. If you had a ladder or run, you could fix it with some nail varnish but in a way that made it look even worse.
However, even with a slight rip or ladder, you could see the skin of the leg hidden below – a look that some of the “bad girls” actively encouraged. So no matter if they were perfect or slightly damaged, the guys would always enjoy the ladies in their American tan tights.