The joy of socks

Forget the black opaques – legwear just got interesting. Be warned though, it can be a tricky trend to master. Carola Long guides us through the highs and lows

Remember when socks were something to be ashamed of, something to be hidden furtively under boots or trousers? Back in those unenlightened days the cold-of-foot were forced to shiver their way through winter in horrible trainer or pop socks, dreaming of the toasty warmth of chunky wool. And forget being imaginative with your tights; it was black opaques or bust.

Those days are gone however, as legs become the latest canvas for bold self expression. Quirky or sexy, coloured or patterned, or just proudly on display, tights and socks have become a key accessory in their own right. It’s the perpetual dream of the fashion obsessed but fiscally challenged to find a cheap wardrobe update that is genuinely transformative, and this season it seems our prayers have been answered.

Coloured tights appeared on the catwalks last year but this autumn the trend for statement legwear has picked up. Hosiery label Pretty Polly (check out their great new range by Henry Holland) report: “Interest in tights is high and sales are switching from classic black opaques as women adopt colour and style. Combined sales of opaque and fashion tights have seen a 30 per cent increase compared to last year.”

On the A/W catwalk Balenciaga showed fine black tights with polka-dots, Miu Miu dazzled with jewelled knee-socks and Marni’s collection featured thick checked tights and knee-socks. At Paul Smith ankle boots were teamed with woolly walking socks and Margaret Howell showed over-the-knee grey versions. In celebrityville, Agyness Deyn pitched up to the Burberry show in pop socks (granny chic) and Lily Allen has been strutting her stuff in trompe l’oeil stockings (fetish without the fuss).

The fashion week merry go-round was awash with more hosiery than Robin Hood’s sock drawer. Daring looks spotted by your women on the ground included ankle-high spotty pop socks worn with Louboutin courts, polka-dot tights – both sheer and opaque, thick wool climbing socks with brogue style ankle boots, knee-length pop socks and ripped-look gothic tights. Far from being a fashion faux pas, socks and sandals (that’s chunky heeled sandals) are officially a good look.

Of course fashion should be a journey of self discovery in which we trust our sartorial instincts, but this is one of those trends that can go really wrong, so a few pointers can’t hurt. The fashion desk have patented a handy rule of thumb – or perhaps toe – which goes fine heel, fine tights, chunky heel, chunky tights. Other tips are that good socks include country-knit patterns (try Gap) and neutral colours such as black, grey and oatmeal, while hopefully it’s obvious that musical or cartoon socks are best avoided.

When it comes to tights, lace, flower prints, fishnets, fluorescent colours and animal print are challenging at best, a travesty at worst. Lastly, keep the rest of your outfit chic and simple; pattern on pattern will look busier than the Northern line at rush hour.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

    £18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power