Monday, November 15, 2010

Mastering Pattern Play and Hosiery: Part 1

my own recent adventure with hosiery and pattern mixing
Well, ladies and gents, I've failed. I went shopping this weekend. It's a sad, sad truth.

While I seem to have kicked my Groupon habit for the time being, it was about time for me to start using the things. Beginning with my Groupon to the Gap, which expires this week. The gateway drug, if you will.

No, I made it out of there alive, with but three things: the skirt pictured above, a cream knit sweater, and the biggest, softest scarf I've ever seen or felt, which I just want to be around all the time. I spent more than my Groupon was worth, but I feel these items were all good decisions. 

In a related miracle, I made it out of Forever 21 with naught but two basic stretchy pencil skirts (which I went in for, looking for a black one to pair with a certain Fair Isle sweater of mine) at $6.50 each and five pairs of socks (including the grey polka dot pair pictured above) for about $4. Who says I haven't tamed my ways?

Plus the additions to my wardrobe have given me renewed energy and creativity when it comes to cold weather dressing, two very important things when it's difficult to drag yourself out of the warmth of your bed on a November morning at 6:00 am. Especially when dressing is so often one of my favorite parts of my day.

This is made easier when hosiery is such a huge trend right now. Warm legs + toes and the ability to wear skirts, dresses, and shorts throughout the winter without freezing? Huge bonus. The Fall 2010 RTW runways ran the gambit when it came to hosiery, too, from socks with sandals to legwarmers and thigh highs.

On Friday, I made the (cold, very cold) decision to wear calf-length charcoal gray socks with a pair of sky-high black heeled sandals, with my little black dress for the evening. While that evening cemented with me the fact that it is past the time to wear bare legs, my sartorial choice struck up a conversation amongst friends.

Remember this?

1995, Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless." This is the last time I really remember knee socks being on trend. Shortly after, in middle school and all throughout high school, we suffered through winters with bare legs because hosiery was "just so not cool, mom." On Friday, when my friends and I were standing around talking socks at this event we were at - grown women now with strong holds on personal style - we were remembering when socks with shoes were just so gross. And then all of a sudden, when a year or so ago, I saw them paired together again, it seemed fresh and modern. And it clicked for me, so much so that I couldn't wait to wear it. Fashion is cyclical when it comes to so many trends out of necessity, I think.

And then a few years back, thankfully, opaque tights cycled through again and we all were warm again. And then a few seasons ago, sheer hosiery re-appeared with the "ladylike" trend. Followed by ankle and calf-length socks with shoes, and then finally, the explosion of all things hosiery with Fall 2010. Shall we walk through it?

In a collection that was mostly knitwear, sloutchy socks ground two very girly looks at Dolce & Gabbana:

Alexander Wang takes legwarmers to new heights (and lows), and deconstructs suiting, with thick thigh highs that are actually pulled down over shoes:

With Peter Som on hand as consultant, Tommy Hilfiger turned out polished prep as never before. This of course had to include hosiery:

Over-the-Knee boots are notoriously hard to pull off. Especially duck boots, and they must be done with sass, as reviewer Meenal Mistry notes. And trickery. Note the dark tights and the polished buttoned-up-ness of the rest of the look.

An easy and budget-friendly way to simulate the OTK look would be with knee-high socks or leg-warmers. A key to remember though is to keep the colors on bottom all in the same color family, in order to avoid chopping up the leg. In the photo at the top, the reason I risked white + large print is precisely because they were ankle socks, small, and visually at the bottom of my look. They were also diluted by the shoe.

Previous to my shopping excursion this weekend, I had mostly updated my wardrobe with hosiery, as they're fresh, add variety, extend the life of summer and fall dresses, skirts and shorts, and can be found at any price point. And did I mention, they're fun? 


  1. Love the skirt! And I'm super jealous you get to wear scarves: I keep seeing fluffy scarves & wanting to buy them, but then, where would I wear it? I guess, in a way, San Diego is saving me from myself, but I'm kind of resentful.

    I've been looking for stretchy pencil skirts for a freakin' year now! I clearly have to hit up Forever 21.

    I've been having shopping withdrawals too, which I've decided to cure with a subscription to Vogue, but until it gets here, I'm satisfying it with your blog (and obviously will continue to do so after it gets here too).

  2. Subscription to Vogue! Yes. Remember, Carrie Bradshaw found it more nourishing than food. You, my friend, can find it more nourishing than shopping (I think). We're all in this together. Solidarity, sister friend.

    Yes. Do hit up Forever 21. The two I just bought were even a little different than the ones I've been buying, in that they're longer! They remind me of your wiggle skirt. Go forth and buy $6.50 wiggle skirts.

    Ah, yes, scarves. They're a two-headed dagger. On the one hand, they're pretty and cozy, but on the other, it's starting to get frickin' cold here. And I cannot handle another winter like last year. I'd take a San Diego winter over sub-zero temparutes. I would.