Just a Girly Girl, Living in a Winter World

Updated on October 16, 2015
C.K. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
24 answers

I think I have a really cool daughter. She can play hard, loves STEM, loves school and loves to look good while she is doing it. She loves her dresses and skirts, despises pants and shorts. Which works great - in the summer.

For a long time, she happily wore tights in cold weather, but in the last year, she hated them. They don't stay up well, and with the crotch riding an inch too low, they are really uncomfortable. I think part of the issue is the wide span of sizes of tights. She is just about 8 1/2, and I usually buy Children's Place tights size 8/10 (because of the quality). So perhaps part of the issue is they were just too big. But I have to say that I haven't found tights or pantyhose that really stay up and in place in years, myself.

We try to buy a lot of skorts, which seem to help hold up the tights but they have been harder to find this year.

They are calling for frost this week, and the temps have dropped, and my poor girl just broke down at the thought of wearing tights or giving up her dresses.

I feel like there are a lot more shades of gray in clothes today - she wore what I would call a pair of stretch pants (but Target and other retailers seem to call leggings) under a baby doll style dress today, but that isn't a solution for most of her wardrobe.

I am wondering if what I would consider leggings (spandex, but thicker than tights) would work better and if so, where the heck do I find them these days? I have also considered the playground shorts over the tights, but three layers isn't going to be incredibly comfortable.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I was shocked at how much emotion is attached to this for her, but I get it.

ETA: For those who mentioned the tights being too small, is the opposite - they are usually a bit too long. The smaller size are definitely too short. The bigger ones will be up to her ribs when pulled up, and there is extra fabric that we bunch up at her groin in the a.m., but by the afternoon, she has elephant ankles and the crotch is lower. I have taught her that when she uses the rest room, to take the time to start at her ankles and pull the extra fabric up, but they never stay that way.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all of those who provided helpful, useful answers. I found leggings at Target in the tights section and bought a couple of pairs for a test run and so far, my girl is pretty happy with them. She said they were way more comfortable. I like that they less bulky and prettier than the leggings that are more like stretch pants. The ones I got are fleece lined, which will be nice in the winter; still looking for ones not fleece lined for these Indian Summer days (is it still OK to say that? I don't want to offend anyone!)

That said, although I know and expect that when I put myself out there, I will get all kinds of responses, I am always surprised at some of the snarky answers. To respond, yes, I know that not wearing anything on her legs won't kill her and I know it is a recent thing to wear something on your legs. Just because it used to be done all the time doesn't mean it was a good thing, otherwise we would still be riding in buggies pulled by horses. Also, I noted in my original post that she doesn't like being cold, so I was trying to find a solution.

I am so grateful to all of you who provided such wonderful support! Roses coming your way if they haven't already!

Featured Answers


answers from Santa Fe on

Leggings are the way to go. Wear them with warm socks and boots in the winter. You can get them at so many places...Old Navy, Gap, Kohl's, JCPenney, Lands End, Forever 21, Sears. Any clothing store basically. Tights are not warm enough. Specialty outdoors clothing stores even make really thick warm winter leggings with a wool blend (that are soft) for very cold days. Leggings are really in right now. Go have her try on different sizes/brands to see what will fit her best. Some brands run narrow and some run wide so you just have to find what works best for her. PS - If her leggings fit her waist but are too long you can hem them. If they are too big in the waist then you should alter the waist so they fit better and stay up. I have to alter the waist of all my daughter's clothes because she is very narrow. Hannah Anderson is huge (wide) on her. Old Navy, and Gap seem to fit her a bit better.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter used to love dresses and skirts but doesn't have to wear them all the time anymore. She wears leggings under her dresses and skirts. They are warmer than tights and pantyhose and they stay up better. Try those. You can even get them with designs on them so she will probably like that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My daughter is also a girly girl.
She wears her dresses and then has leggings on underneath. Then she can still "twirl" but she is warmer and her butt isn't being shown to the world.
We got her leggings at Hannah Anderson outlet. But they are being sold EVERYWHERE. Targt, Fred Meyers (Kroger), and any other department store.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Lakeland on

I would get leggings that don't cover the feet. This is what my daughter prefers to tights. We get them from Land's End, but I am sure Target and other stores carry them.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

You can make pretty much any dress winter ready with leggings, a cute cardigan, boots, scarf...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

They make fleece lined leggings. I know Target has some as we just bought some for my daughter. Pair those with a pair of knee high socks under the leggings and a pair of boots. My daughter will also wear the jeggings under dresses. You can find some really cute ones with floral patterns and such that make it cuter to wear under skirts/dresses.
If the crotch is hanging down then the tights are too small and you have to go up a size, even if it says it should be her size on the chart. My daughter has super long legs so we always have to buy up a size from what the chart says to get them to fit her correctly.
This is one of those times when you have to put your foot down and make it clear that she needs to dress for the weather and if she doesn't like it, tough, she has to get used to it. My daughter would live in dresses/skirts if she could and she knows I will do what I can to make it work for colder weather but there are going to be times when she just can't wear them. She pouts but accepts it and moves on.
ETA: We also have a bunch of leg warmers like the ones from babylegs.com You can buy legwarmers all over in stores right now too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Geez! You do know that wearing anything other than dresses and skirts is a new thing. Not covering her legs will not hurt her. Children don't feel the cold as much as most adults. I know women who never wear a coat and insist they're warm enough.

My mother wanted me to wear pants when it was cold. I absolutely refused to wear them. I didn't know anyone who wore pants to school. Until I was 9 or so, I did wear beige cotton stockings held up by a garter belt. There were no leggings or tights invented yet. I stopped wearing stockings and I was just fine.

Keeping the trunk warm is important. My mother insisted I wear a hat. When our legs and arms are covered we do lose heat from the head. I suggest that if her legs are not covered, wearing a hat is not so important.

Yes. She will lose heat from her legs but the warm trunk will keep her legs warm enough in the cold. Frost builds up from moisture in the air. It doesn't have to be very cold to have frost.

If the weather is going to be extremely cold, ( temperatures close to freezing by the thermometer ) I would suggest she wear something warm on her legs. Let her experience the cold so she might change her mind.

Have you considered knee socks or leg warmers? Leggings would work. Leggings are in style now and should be easy to find. I shopped at Kohles on Saturday. They have leggings in the children's department.

When my tights slide down, the panty part, crotch, is too short. Because.of this a larger size may work better. I would ask for help in finding the right size. The length of the tights and the panty part is an important part in finding the right size. If the legs are too short they will pull the tights down. If the crotch is too short the panty part won't stay at her waist which makes the legs too long.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I was going to say, if the crotch rides too low, doesn't it mean they are not big enough? I would try a size up. My average sized kids all have to wear a size bigger than their clothing size in tights, etc. And also maybe switch brands. Some brands fit better. Although I like Children's Place too.

We do leggings under dresses, tunics, etc. here. Leggings come in lightweight right to the "cozy" ones they sell at GAP which are thicker for winter. They are still fine under dresses, just a tad thicker. Children's Place sells them too.

Good luck :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Yup, my girls live in leggings under skirts. They have them everywhere. Old Navy has tons. Target. H&M.com has super cute ones for under skirts and super thick ones that can be pants.

We gave up tights long ago except for formal occasions due to droopy crotches and how easy to rip they are.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on


Again, if she doesn't like them and won't wear them there isn't any reason to buy them. She doesn't like them. I would still let her dress how she wants then she will learn she's too cold or she doesn't like sitting down on cold seats at school. Then she'll be more interested in covering her legs.

Most girls who don't like tights have hair on their legs and tights pull the hairs the wrong way and it hurts after a while. Shaving her legs might help if that's the issue.


If you can't hold them up then they're too small. Tights that fit don't bag in the crotch. They fit there nicely. Tights that actually fit the length of her legs will likely go up to her breasts but the legs will fit.

Plus at age 8 she's about the same size as an adult X-small. She could try those on too. If she's short they will still be too long in the leg though.

Our girls go into adult tights around age 9 due to the crotch bagging. I would think she's too big for 8-10s too. But you know what fits her, dresses are more forgiving since they don't have to fit in length like pants do.

If she doesn't like stuff on her legs then let her go. If she realizes she doesn't like sitting on cold chairs or seats then she might realize, on her own, that she does want something on her legs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

How about Justice leggings? They are thinner than Gymboree and form fitting.

PS. I HATE pantyhose myself. I always bought ones with Spandex but the waist rolls down. I'm glad they are no longer a fashion necessity.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hanna Andersson has great tights. Super pricey but LAST! And they come in fun colors.

Try a pair on ebay to test them out on the cheap.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Tights are horrible (and don't even get me started on pantyhose)- ugh! Definitely get her some leggings. They're sold EVERYWHERE, I'm sure you'll be able to find good pairs in multiple colors.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My nieces use leggings - when it is super cold they wear leggings that have fleece on the inside. I think they are from JCPenney but not certain.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Leggings. My DD has a bunch from H&M and Children's Place. They are heavier than thin tights, but thinner than pants and go well under all her dresses/skirts/skorts. You might consider them stretch pants. You might also see if she'll wear knee-high socks and the shorts you already have. We have a bunch of bike shorts from Children's Place that I got on sale at the end of season last year for cheap.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

For my daughter, who also likes skirts and dresses, I typically do leggings under the skirt with socks/boots. They have a nice selection at Old Navy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I hear you, mine is similar...I found that most times, tall boots and just the thick knee high socks (sometimes the chunky ones you can push down for the leg warmer look, sometimes the thin straight look) works best for her in the winter months, there are so many styles of boots these days for their age that go with most all skirts or dresses.

That's how we're doing it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

In the days that I went to school we did not have pants to wear. We wore knee high socks. As the temperatures dropped our bodies and extremities acclimated to the cold air and we were not cold.

The choice is hers. If she feels cold on the bottom then she will put on the tights. Skorts are usually sold up to a certain age or size and then they are not available as the girls are into other forms of clothing.

the other S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hanna Andersson has some very cute leggings which are comfortable. Look into those-- they also coordinate with their dresses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter wears hanna anderson leggings under her dressed and skirts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hannah Anderson, best fit and quality. Nordstrom is good too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

leggings (what you call stretch pants). They are comfortable and stay up. Tights are awful - I understand why she doesn't want to wear them. My daughter only wears dresses, and dressy dresses at that. You can get stretch pants with rhinestones on them, or ones with bows, etc and they look fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Is it so that the coldest part of the day is early in the morning? If that is the case, she can wear sweat pants on her ride to school and take them off when she arrives. Hopefully, it will warm up by her first outdoor break.

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