How Can I Wear Summer Dresses When My Legs are Still Winter White?

It's almost summer. I wish someone would just tell my legs. This transitional time of year is a tricky one. It's warm enough to wear shorts or skirts without tights. But, our legs may not be quite there yet. Fear not, Dear Reader, there are a few helpful tips and tricks from your very own personal stylist to make you look and feel beautiful right now. Of course, step 1 is always sunscreen. So, make sure to integrate sun protection into your daily routine regardless of the time of year. 

Solutions for winter legs in summer weather.

 Laura Mercier Fresh fig soufflé body creme. Nordstrom. Was: $60 Now: $54.

1. Exfoliate.

Step 1 is to remind your legs that you love them with a little extra attention. If you plan to use any sort of self tanner, you need to exfoliate first. Personally, I'm obsessed with Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Souffle Body Cream. It's like getting an indulgent spa day salt scrub at home. There are obviously an array of much more affordable options, as well. Not sure what you are looking for? According to make-up and hair artist Hanna Mazur, "a sugar scrub is for polishing and a sea salt scrub is for smoothing.": You learn something new everyday.

 MAC Skinsheen leg spray. Nordstrom. $30.

2. Make up for your legs.

For real! You aren't limited to self tanners that color your legs long term. An array of products work similar to foundation on your legs. Simply rub the product on (keep it even and layer for a darker color) and enjoy lovely legs. Thanks to a recommendation from a client, I use MAC's version. Personally, I'm not interested in a dark tanned leg. However, I'd prefer the glare of my white legs not be a distraction from my fabulous outfit either. This fits the bill for me. When the evening ends, soap and water takes it right off. 

*editor's note: As it turns out, this has either been discontinued or is very difficult to find. Sad news indeed. I discovered this alternative, although I have yet to try it out myself. If you do, let me know how it goes!

 HUE fishnets. Available in nude, black. Bloomingdales. $13.50.

3. Nude textured tights. 

No time to shower, shave or try some leg spray? No problem. How about nude fishnets to lend a little vintage flavor to your outfit while welcoming the warm weather? These aren't for everyone. But if they mesh with your personal style, they can be lifesavers. My favorite brands are American Apparel or HUE. You can also find lots of control top options. Just keep in mind the length of your skirt or dress. After all, if your control top shows when you sit down, all that work is lost.

 Emilio Cavallini Stay Up Tights. ASOS. $26.90.

4. Other nude options for your legs.

I did an entire post about various hosiery options in December. Your age will help you determine if you can rock nude nylons. It's really for the much younger set who don't have any solid memories from the 80's. But, if you feel like you want to try some version of nude stockings or nylons (hello Kate Middleton!), go for something that has an edge or sexiness to it. A seem down the back or this thigh high (aka "push up") option work well. 

 Suddenly Skinny with Self Expressions Firm Control Tummy Toning boy shorts. Available in black, nude. (Please don't opt for nude if someone might see them under your skirt.) Target. Was: $13.99 Now: $11.19.

5. Keep it classy.

As you know, a skirt that may have worked for the winter with opaque tights, may actually be a little too short for warm weather sans hosiery or leggings. If that's the case, pair boy shorts in black or a fun color or print with your dress. This approach is similar to when you might have used your bra straps as an accessory to your outfit. Doesn't work for everyone. But, can work for you, depending on your age and personal style. Boy shorts are also available as shapers, which is an added bonus.

In fact, you can wear shapers without hosiery. Just look for seamless options. For an affordable option, I like the Target brands. Alternatively, turn that dress into a tunic and rock with structured shorts or leggings. I vote for pleather leggings to dress it up, but do what works for you and your style. 


If you are concerned about the weather changing over the course of the day, bring a pair of leggings or jeans along with you to transform your dress into a tunic. Or, a pair of opaque tights to wear as a dress. Now, off to enjoy the sunshine!


Enjoying the blog? If so, sign up for the Poplin email list and receive e-newsletters, fashion tips and invitations to events like the upcoming event at Velouria on Saturday, June 14th from 6-9PM.

Like what you see on the site? Please remember to click on items directly on poplin when you decide to buy, as Poplin may receive a commission on your purchase. Thanks for supporting Poplin!