Tights, leggings, and tube socks have taken on an elevated status when it comes to youth culture street styles this fall and winter season. Street snaps captured from across the continent, from Cincinnati to Montreal, Atlanta to San Francisco, indicate that yes, it’s happening in many cities: the cool new key accessory delivering a flash of brightness and pizzazz is coming from what you wear on your legs. And the big trend is color. Bright neon’s in pink, purple, green, and yellow capture the next step in the evolution of nu rave painted-on colored denim jeans from summer as young people move to layers for winter.

Designers looking to street styles for inspiration have also caught onto the tights trend with special patterns and limited-edition designer tights introduced from Ralph Lauren to Prada, and by streetwear brands such as the traditionally men’s brand, PegLeg with their new women’s tights collection. Tights were actually the very first piece that PegLeg launched in the premiere of their women’s collection this fall.

Crafters are also a part of this craze with one of the best recycled designs coming from one of our favorite sites, smaggle.com. In a recent DIY issue, the author writes about her obsessive love of colorful tights and how she transforms an especially loved, but worn-out pair of bright yellow tights into a very cool necklace complete with links and studs.

While the brightness-factor of tights has not yet caught on among young people in Japan, tights are still a strong layering element among the fashion-forward, especially in Tokyo. So far, the bright tights craze is emblematic of North American youth culture, however we anticipate color to be a strong new factor in other parts of the world soon.

The Karen O (from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s) ripped tights look