Kim Jackson has a leg up on fashion.

The Atlanta hairstylist is stepping out in style by wearing the newest leg coverings - tights, also known as leggings. "I like them because they are comfortable and fashionable," she said. "Also, they keep my legs warm in winter. I usually wear them with miniskirts, sometimes with a tunic sweater and belt or with a turtleneck sweater and long jacket."Since March, when Karl Lagerfeld, the designer at Chanel, sent his models onto the runway in ribbed leggings and long, fitted jackets, legs have been the focus of fall clothes all across the United States.

And the most important word in leg fashions is "covered." This is accomplished with all-cotton or wool leggings and opaque tights.

Choices abound in how to sport this legwear. Most women will pair their tights with short or long skirts, usually color-keyed to hems and shoes, for one long, lean look. An all-red outfit is dynamite, but so is a black suede shoe, opaque tights and leather skirt.

If you are brave enough, and have the legs for it, simply wear plain or ribbed leggings with an oversized blazer and pullover sweater, like Jackson is fond of doing. Or wear them with a T-shirt and bomber-style ski jacket.

For nighttime, opaque tights are cropping up under short or long see-through chiffon skirts. Usually, these tights have a velvety feel, thanks to the combination of nylon and spandex. This look, incidentally, has been borrowed from ballet dancers, who have worn it for years.

Black is the most popular color for fall legs, closely followed by a bumper crop of browns. Also important are loden green, mustard, russet and burgundy.

This new-looking legwear requires complementary footwear. Wear cotton or wool leggings with such sporty shoe styles as spectators, ghillie-tied oxfords, ankle boots and loafers. Opaque tights look best with high-heeled pumps or little flats.