Gemma's adventures in fashion: why I'm a hosiery hoarder
Gemma Cartwright writes...
Disney Rollergirl has just flagged up 'hero hosiery' as a big pre-fall trend. This is great news for those of us who're still wearing tights even though it's July (me? Never!). Apparently, in the coming months we can expect Rodarte-esque cobweb tights, Louis Vuitton monogram sheers (I'm secrely loving those, don't tell anyone) and all the usual textured, patterned and striped variations. Fantastic!
I love the fact that tights and stockings are now a wardrobe staple. Ten years ago, in the days of Barely Black and American Tan, wearing any kind of hosiery was considered a bit mumsy and uncool...
Now thanks to the prolific appearance of heavier denier blacks (and later bold colours and patterns) on the catwalk and then on celeb fans like Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Daisy Lowe, Lindsay Lohan, Fearne Cotton and (of course) Zooey Deschanel, tights have become a staple item. Which is lucky for us, considering the changeable UK weather (it's 9th July and, no joke, I have 40 denier opaques on).
The return of tights and stockings was hardly a surprise. For years we'd been in jeans and trousers with heels and 'nice tops', then long gypsy skirts and layered looks. Then, suddenly, the mini dress was back. If you bring back 60s mini skirts and mod dressing, you have to come up with a way of wearing it that's practical in low temperatures. Hence tights are suddenly du jour again.
Still, it's been interesting reading and hearing about other people's forays into the world of tights. Kingdom of Style's Queen Michelle is a fellow hosiery hound, and I've loved reading her tales of paisley tights, fringed tights and tattoo print tights. When she bought striped stockings she'd seen on fellow blogger Susie Bubble, the people of Glasgow weren't exactly forthcoming with the compliments. God knows why, because looking at the ensembles she's created, I'm tempted to invest myself. Similarly, a friend of mine turned up for a visit with tights that striped sheer and opaque black. She confessed she'd never wear them outside of London because 'the world isn't ready'.
My mother - who I'm sure makes up stories about her forays into fashion during her youth - had a collection of tights in the 60s that even Twiggy would have been proud of. Every photo I've seen of her from that era shows her wearing ribbed cream knit tights or textured opaques. I think it's her fault I'm so into my hosiery now. Childhood photos show me with my tree-trunk legs stuffed into navy tights or lacy knee socks, the perfect mini-me of my mom.
Twenty four years on, things haven't changed. I still have everything, from bright blue and shiny red tights to seamed stockings and black over-the-knee socks. You can do so much with a good pair of tights or stockings. Vertical stripes and fine micronets are slimming, seams add a retro feel, opaques hide everything! A boring black outfit is lifted with a bold pair of purple tights, while winter wools allow you to wear your sheer summer dresses throughout the colder months (just layer on long-sleeved tops and cardigans).
My latest discovery is the new breed of truly barely-there nudes. Now, I have never been a fan of nude tights, after being forced to wear them (and ladder them) on a daily basis when I worked as a waitress while I was at school. But the new ones are something very different to the cheap ones I wore back then. Gone are the days of orangey-tan tights that look fake. For smart Summer occasions like weddings and parties, pick the right pair (Pretty Polly Naturals Almost Naked ones are brilliant) and they add a 'soft focus' sheen to the legs, perfecting them like make-up without it looking like you're wearing tights.
...which is a change, for me at least!