Statement Tights Are Getting Big for Fall 2014

Fashion tends to give itself a safe zone. In it, we're allowed to do whatever we want — even if it involves gold leaf, watercolors, or 3D accents. In 2013, that no-judgment zone was nail art, and we welcomed everything from little eyes to snowflakes onto our merry nails.

This year, if market forecasts for fall 2014 are any indication, our fashion safe zone may just be tights.

WWD credits Kate Middleton, who rarely steps outside in bare legs, for giving a "much-needed jolt to the legwear industry." While tights may have seemed a little fussy in years past, our spending speaks for itself: last year, tight dollar sales hit $775 million, an increase of 12.2 percent.

And we're not just talking basic black here, because the tights of 2014 are going to be wild. Predicted trends range from soft faux leather to digital florals and menswear prints like houndstooth. Solid colors appear to be taking their cue from the runways; WWD predicts colors like burgundy, oatmeal, gold, and mustard.

Not a tights girl? All things legwear are fair game for 2014. We'll be seeing more leggings with unexpected details, fancy/weird trouser socks, leg warmers, and tall, chunky socks designed to be worn with boots. Sure, we've seen these items before, but this year, we'll have more options than ever. Lyssé promises mixed materials like faux leather panels; Kayser-Roth Corp promises denim prints and "trouser-inspired details in leggings."

What won't be fashionable? Shimmery pantyhose, the one item Kate Middleton favors that's seeing a decline in popularity. Perhaps it's just too ladylike for today's go-getter, but dollar sales of sheer hosiery dropped 3.1 percent to $513 million last year.

So if you're feeling princessy, slap on a shimmery manicure instead, because nail art is passé, and legwear is getting wild.

Image: Getty Images