IT is one of the age-old problems of being a woman - how thick tights should be to keep off the chill while wearing a skirt but without compromising fashion.
Now, an academic has come up with an equation to solve the problem of how heavy a denier to choose depending on the weather - after spending months wearing hosiery while playing Robin Hood.
James Hind, who teaches statistics at Nottingham Trent University, was asked to form an equation using windspeed and temperature to determine the correct denier of tights to pop on in the morning.
He claims to have now created the formula to work out the appropriate thickness of tights for any weather and for any part of the UK.
The so-called “stocking forecast” was commissioned by BBC Radio Nottingham and will form part of its breakfast show’s weather bulletins.
The 39-year-old statistician said: “I’ve got it wrong on a number of times - sweaty legs when my tights were too thick or freezing knees when they weren’t.
“It will work right across the UK - ranging from no tights because it’s far too warm through to freezing temperatures where you’ll need to wear trousers.”
Mr Hind spent months wearing tights in 1997 when he worked at the Tales of Robin Hood, a former tourist attraction in Nottingham. “I worked in tights for a year and I know the value of properly warm tights on a cold day,” he said.
“My 110-denier thick tights saved my life in the winter.” He added: “I made those tights my basis for the formula because they should see anybody through cold and windy weather, and then when it’s lovely and sunny, the denier recommendation reduces.”
The formula uses a “sigmoid function” to create an S-shape graph which is then used to calculate the perfect denier of tights needed. Mr Hind said: “The sigmoid function is perfect because it means there is little change at the extremes where it’s too hot or cold for tights, but lots of change in the middle where you can get it right or wrong. It took a while to perfect but it’s turned out really well.”
Style consultant Danit A Levi, who runs Dress Your Way in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, said: “Living in the UK, tights are a seminal staple.
“I am Mediterranean and I love to see young girls with bare legs, but not so much in Scotland. What is perhaps more important than the denier is the fabric that the tights are made from.
“If it is made of cashmere or silk, then it will keep you warmer. It is more about investing in good quality materials than how thick polyester or rayon is.”
She added: “The difference between the academic who is a man and the typical woman is that 85 per cent of women will make their choice based on how it looks rather than if they are warm.”