Mana, proving sometimes socks over tights is perfectly okay!
When I first got into Lolita one of my big Lolita inspirations was Mana, who is quite famous for wearing lace tights under thigh-high socks. At the time, I was finding it near impossible to find even knee highs in mainstream shops but I was finding a ton of lace tights, so I figured, if Mana does it... I can too! (of course, I now know that this is not always, or even mostly, the case!). So, ever since those early days have I had a fondness for lace tights paired with Lolita, and I've tried to work them in with as many outfits as possible. I think that they can really change up an outfit as simply as slipping them on. A plain Gothic Lolita outfit becomes infinitely more elegant, relatively simple Kuro Lolita gets a hint of Gothic, they give Sweet Lolita a princess-like touch, and they turn the notch up on Classic Lolita coordinates.
To me, this is my ideal Gothic Lolita- A Victorian styled black dress, heels, a few Gothic accessories, and lace. Personally, I am a fan of mixing several different lace pieces in one outfit, in this one it has lace tights, gloves, and a purse with a lace overlay. They might all be separate lace patterns, but, with the exception of the tights, they're such small pieces it doesn't look too overly cluttered. On the other hand, I find that an outfit where all the lace is matched looks much too matchy-matchy. I definitely prefer the sort of rag-tag elegance of many different kinds of lace!
Knee socks and over-the-knees are usually the trademark of a Sweet Lolita outfit, so I find that taking a very traditionally Sweet Lolita outfit and adding lace tights instantly changes its tune. It somehow manages to be even more girly, but a little more grown up, and almost Hime. While I think this works best with more toned down Sweet Lolita, I think that if you found a pair of lace tights in a pale pastel color (pale pink is not too hard to find!) and layered them over a different pale pastel colored pair of opaque tights you could really make an interesting Fairy Kei inspired Sweet Lolita outfit.
Lace tights are swiftly becoming the legwear to wear with Classic Lolita, and I'm perfectly fine with that! Lace tights in Classic Lolita instantly add texture and opulence to a style that is often considered the most toned down of the Lolita styles. Cream, tan, and even black can easily be worn with a Classic Lolita coordinate. In Classic Lolita I absolutely love them paired up with Victorian styled boots, I think they practically define Classic Lolita this way!
One of the things I love about lace tights is the variety they come in. You can find tights with delicate little flowers scattered throughout, you can find them with huge ornate paisley designs, and you can find gorgeous vertical stripes made with lace! You can wear them alone, you can layer them over opaque tights, or you can wear them under over-the-knee socks. They're breezy enough to wear in warm weather, and paired with another pair of tights or socks they can easily be warm enough for cold weather. And best of all, you're never going to end up with a drawer full of half a pair of lace tights, or constantly have to adjust them into staying up.
What are your favorite ways to wear lace tights? Or perhaps, do you hate the look of even sort-of bare legs in Lolita? I guess this is understandable, since lace tights sometimes lend an air of eroticism to a Lolita coordinate, which I know is not everyone's cup of tea. Myself I love to wear them on days where I feel like dressing up fancily but don't actually feel like doing much else besides slipping on a black skirt and an h.NAOTO cutsew.