Stock Up On Stockings

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Author: Noel Hemphill

Ah, Fall. I love the season. It presents so many opportunities to dress up or hide in a big cable knit sweater. It is the season when every color of berry becomes a wardrobe staple and finding a new way to tie a scarf becomes a hobby. It is also a season when people look lovely: crunchy, colorful leaves fall all around and highlight hair colors; the late light of sun is golden and just bright enough; the temperatures turn colder and cheeks become rosy and flushed without so much as a dab of blush.

As temperatures drop, layering clothes up becomes more important. Even in Los Angeles’s moderate climate, a light jacket over one’s shoulders starts to become essential. Having grown up in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, autumn temperatures are nothing for me to fear; However, I realize the sun-worshipping inhabitants of Southern California may find cold-weather clothing to be foreign territory. Further confusion certainly arises when Angelenos attempt to “dress for the weather” while still trying to show some skin and display tanned bodies.

Fair-weathered friends, allow me to help you out. Years of living in little Siberia has well prepared me to give you a little advice on being stylish and sexy while still being covered up. My apologies to the men on this one, for I don’t know how to best advise a guy to dress warmly besides to wear a cable knit sweater over a button down Oxford. For the ladies, however, I’ve got your secret weapon.

Tights.

The history of this fall wardrobe staple is worth a little exploration. During World War II, nylon become an essential material for making parachutes. Ladies everywhere had to give up their tights to help support the brave paratroopers overseas. The sacrifice was not easy – stockings were an absolute necessity no matter the weather, as they were a modest addition to fitted pencil skirts. Though women were to go without their hosiery, they didn’t dare risk not being in style. Ladies kept their chins up and painted thin black lines down the back of their legs, as was the chicest style at the time. There was enough suffering with dying men overseas; did fashion have to suffer, too?

Now, with a shortage of nylon nowhere to be seen, we can relish in all the different ways to make an outfit more fun. These days, stockings are so much better than the ones your mom wore or her mom wore. A trip to the hosiery section of your local Nordstrom or even Target is full of nylons in every pattern, material, and color imaginable. There are styles that are completely sheer and nude colored, or ones that have more intricate bows all over. There are ones made of cotton and ones made of wool. Furthermore, stockings flatter every kind of body and often can be purchased with shaping technology so you look slim and sleek in all your favorite dresses and skirts. Better yet, even the thinnest pair can shield bitter wind from prickling your legs.

However, there are many ways in which tights can go from fun to foul.

1) Runs in your tights are not cute. It looks like you just had a romp through a forest, not like you are some sort of peasant cutie. You can buy a decent pair of tights, sans rips, for less than 5 dollars. Do yourself the favor and wear a hole-less pair.

2) There appears to be a trend of wearing denim short-shorts with tights. Who thought this was okay? There are a couple reasons that this is a gauche look. A) Denim shorts are attire best suited for going to the beach or enjoying a hot day. If you need to wear tights, its too cold for that. Looking seasonally challenged is a fashion no-no. B) If your shorts are so short that your butt would be visible without tights on, then your shorts are too short, period. If you are going to spend money on shorts, make sure the inseam is longer than an inch. Miley may have her crotch out, but that doesn’t mean you should.

3) White tights make you look like a ghost. A nude pair works much better.

4) Thigh highs with suspenders showing are so trashy. That style rose to popularity due to men’s fetish magazines. That’s not a great connotation to wear around.

The industrious ladies who took the time to paint lines down their legs would roll over in their graves if they saw how nylons were being abused these days. There were violent riots over them in the early 1940s. Make those fashionistas proud with a colorful pair worn with a cute sweater dress and flats or boots.

Looking ladylike – and chic – is never a bad thing.

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