Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fast fashion: over-the-knee socks

There’s a lot to be said for stockings in winter. They keep us warm, add a colour block to a drab outfit, and protect the outside world from razor-neglected legs. What’s not to love? But there’s a bit of competition in the fashion stakes this winter and I think more and more people are going to give this one a shot. We’ve seen it on the legs of celebs, on runways and in catalogues, but over-the-knee (or otk) socks have now been rolled out in your favourite stores, finally bringing this fad to the people.

There’s a lot that could go wrong with this style, but when you can grab a pair from Glassons for $10 a pop, why not give it a try at home before unleashing it on the world. Especially if you discover it looks god-awful on you. As always, go with what suits, not what the fashion higher-ups tell you to do.

If you’re like me and continue to wear trans-seasonal short dresses in winter applied with stockings, you’ll love the otk sock option. This look is totally cute and a real head-turner. It’s an easy way to bring star style to your regular wardrobe.

Paired with shorts (something a bit longer and looser – winter appropriate please, no demin cut offs after May), or a cute dress or skirt (again, generally something loose, you know how we feel about tight on tight – think of otks as upside-down leggings) make for a fresh (and warm) winter outfit.

Image by Mary Wagner
There are a few perils to avoid.

First of all, if you’re wearing otks with a skirt, avoid anything pleated or plaid. Otks give an outfit a preppy styling, an element of what some might call school-girl fashion. However, a full-on school-inspired outfit looks costumey and cheap. Let Harajuku girls have their fun. But if I see a Kiwi wearing otks with pigtails and pleats, and it’s not at a fancy dress, I’ll go bananas.    B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Secondly, if you try them on at home and you end up with muffin-top on your legs, try a shorter length, or avoid the trend altogether. A pair of black stockings are perfectly good – and flattering. Stick with what works. No one wants to see legs like exploded sausage casings poking out of your socks.

Last, but not least in this trap-laden trend, the look calls for an actual sock. Please, please, please, don’t let me see you out there in knee-high stockings or stay ups. The look is preppy, not prostitute. Stay ups fall into the category of lingerie and should not be seen on the streets. You Have Been Warned.

This look is probably going to work best with a heel, more specifically an oxford-type heel, to take your legs to new heights. In the same way that ¾ tights stumpify some people, otks can break up the silhouette of even the longest leg and make you appear shorter. Heels are basically the answer to everything, but I would certainly advise against anything open toed, or pointy pumps. Oxford heels are bang on trend and make almost any outfit ooze fashionability. Similarly, a brogue will look nice, but I feel could verge on the side of a school shoe to the ignorant. If you’re going brogue, I can only suggest a darker sock, or something patterned or crocheted to veer away from uniform-like white socks.

I'm trying it out tonight. And if you're lucky, I might even share the results! xx

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