Kate's legs set the style tone
Kiwi women are emulating the Duchess of Cambridge by wearing sheer nude pantyhose for work and evening wear.
Fleshtone or "nude" hosiery is making a comeback as royal wife Kate Middleton, known for her conservative elegance, never attends a formal engagement without wearing a pair of slightly shimmery natural-coloured stockings. Her stylish sister Pippa is often photographed with nude pantyhose adorning her legs.
The Middleton influence has sent sales of nude hosiery soaring by 500 per cent at British supermarket chain Asda's clothing line George, according to reports.
The natural-coloured tights, which smooth out the skin tone of legs, hide blemishes and act as an instant tan, are also proving popular in New Zealand.
Farmers hosiery consultant Hilary Martin said sheer nude pantyhose were flying off the shelves and she believed the well-dressed duchess was influencing the fashion.
"I think the Kate Middleton thing has got a lot to do with it, and they look far more natural these days - they're better made than they used to be," Martin said.
"We sell a lot of them, especially the Pretty Polly brand from the UK - we tend to sell out of those. The most popular shade is Slightly Sun Kissed and a Voodoo brand toeless nude pantyhose that can be worn with peeptoe shoes."
Hosiery maker CXC's StepOut Everyday Sheer Tights are stocked at supermarkets nationwide. Of all its stockings sold, bare natural colours make up 68 per cent of all stockings sold and rose 5 per cent this year alone against black pantyhose.
CXC office manager Kirsty McCorkindale said she'd noticed many more women wearing nude tights in New Zealand and on a recent trip to Sydney.
"We have noticed an incredible rise in bare pantyhose in our sales; we are starting to see our sheer products sell more. We're actually noticing much higher sales of knee-high bare products instead of black as well," McCorkindale said.
"A lot of the designers right through winter were showing bare tights with shoes and dresses as opposed to black so the trend is probably being led by the industry a little bit, but maybe New Zealand women are sick of black."
Trudi Bennett, owner of style consultancy Wardrobe Flair, said there was definitely a rise in the popularity of natural-coloured pantyhose.
"I am a big advocate of the flesh-toned tights so you can look as natural as possible. They have become a buffer for those that are a bit scared of showing their legs off."