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Sock Horror!

Fashion Polls & Debates, Sock Horror!

Yay or Nay: Tights

purple tights with white shoes [Image: Primark]

Let’s talk about tights.

(Did anyone else read that line to the tune of Salt n’ Pepa’s ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’? Because, if so, our work here is done.)

For the past few months, you see, our fashion friends have been getting very, very excited about tights. This happens every year, and is part of the whole “OMG Autumn is my favourite season!” trend evident in fashion blogging, and the excitement mostly revolves around all of the good things that tights bring to the world of style. For instance:

1. They keep your legs warm. Well, d’uh.

2. Thick tights make it possible to get away with wearing shorter skirts than you’d wear with bare legs.

3. Brightly coloured tights add a multitude of styling possibilities to your closet, and also have the ability to make a plain outfit look instantly more interesting.

4. Don’t love your legs? Tights to the rescue!

So tights, as you can see, are beloved by fashionistas for many, many good reasons.

Despite this, though, we hate them.

Now, we have to make it clear here that we don’t hate the way tights LOOK. We’re fine with the way they look. Sometimes we even like it. So we would in no way say tights were a crime of fashion, and we very much agree with each of the four positives above.

We still hate wearing them, though, and every year, as women across the land start to enthuse about the prospect of slipping into a pair of opaque tights AT LAST, we look forward to tights season with dread. This is mostly because we find them just plain uncomfortable. The way the crotch always seems to be heading towards your knees, forcing you to haul it up every few steps. The saggy knees. The toe seam, when it gets caught underneath your toe making you feel like there’s something stuck in your shoe. That feeling of being tightly encased from waist to toe. HATE. IT. And sure, some brands are better than others, and not all tights are horribly uncomfortable, but even the most comfortable pair of tights is less comfortable than an outfit that doesn’t involve tights.

We realise we’re alone in our hatred of the fashion-lover’s BFF, however, so please feel free to share your love of tights in the comments section now. Do you love them? Or do you look forward, like us, to the days when you can go without them once more?

Sock Horror!

Debenhams make “nude” tights for more than one skin tone

Bare legs in high heel shoes

Legs: they come in more than one colour.

Buy “nude” tights: they… don’t. Ever noticed how so-called “flesh toned” hosiery is only ever available in ONE shade: and how it’s a shade that’s only really “flesh toned” or “nude” on people who have mid-toned Caucasian skin? The models above in the image above, for instance, are not wearing tights.

Now they ARE:

Nude hosiery on different skin tonesIt’s not great, is it? Sure the two women on the far right ended up with legs which look more or less like their own skin, only smoother. It’s a different story for the two on the left, however, who now look like they’re wearing someone else’s legs. (The girl second from left is wearing someone else’s shoes, too. She clearly drew the short straw on this assignment.) This is a bummer, especially now that Kate Middleton has single-handedly (or should that be single-leggedly?) made nude hosiery fashionable again.

Don’t worry, though, for help is at hand, in the shape of Debenhams new “invisible” skin tone hosiery, which they’re claiming is “a first for the high street” in that the tights are available in a range of different shades, including “bronze” and “coffee” along with lighter tones such as “beige” and “honey”.

Here are the same four models wearing tights from the new range:

Models wearing skin toned tights from DebenhamsMuch better.

Now we just need the same thing to happen with the “nude” shoe: sure, there are some ranges which include “nudes” for different skin tones (Christian Louboutin does this, but not everyone can afford his prices), but when it comes to high street shoes, if it’s “nude” it’s normally a pale beige. But that’s another story for another day. For now, Debenhams’ new tights range is priced at £3.50 per pair: they don’t seem to be available online yet, but you’ll be able to find them in store, and hopefully online soon.

Sock Horror!

Sock Horror: Wolford Back Seam Ruffle Tights

Wolford tights with ruffles on calvesIt’s tights season: what better way to celebrate than by making your legs look like they have fins? And lacy fins, at that!

The presence of the fins isn’t the worst thing about this picture, though. Nor is the fact that the model appears to be wearing a fur coat, shorts and a pair of patent workboots. No, the worst thing about this photo, and the main reason this counts as a SOCK HORROR is the fact that these tights? These tights are £129. One. Hundred. And. Twenty. Nine. Pounds. That’s over TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS. For tights. Ugly tights. Ugly, finned tights. And yes, we know they’re OMGWOLFORD, but seriously, this whole “Oh, but Wolford tights are SO worth $200!” crap has to stop. No tights are worth $200. In fact, no tights are even worth $100. Especially not sheer tights, because let’s face it, this is not an investment that will pay you back over a period of many long years. In fact, in the clumsy hands of someone like the Chief of Police, say – or anyone who owns a cat/dog/small child/other being liable to ladder your sheer hosiery – we’d estimate the cost-per-wear of something like this to be around about, ooh, $200.

A quick reminder:

Sheer black tights with ruffle by Wolford

Do these look like something you’d pay $200 for? Click here if you answered “yes”…


Sock Horror!

Kate Middleton causes sales of sheer hosiery to “skyrocket”. Do you wear sheer tights?

As the nation’s obsession with Kate Middleton continues, the latest news from brands desperate to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Duchess of Cambridge, is that Kate is responsible for a huge rise in the sale of sheer hosiery.

Selfridges is reporting a 40″ increase in sales of sheer tights since this time last year, while TightsPlease are doing even better, with a 90″ increase in sales of their “Kate Middleton style” nude tights.


For Kate Middleton herself, of course, shiny, sheer tights have absolutely nothing to do with fashion: they’re purely a matter of royal protocol, which dictates that female members of the royal family should always wear hosiery, and closed-toe shoes. (Kate slipped up on that one, by the way, when she wore a pair of LK Bennett sandals to a polo match last week in California. Don’t worry, Kate, we won’t tell…) It’s always possible that Kate would chose to always wear tights anyway, regardless of that fact, but it has to be noted here that she is operating under a very different set of “rules” from most of us.

Sheer tights and the Kate Middleton effect

As for the rest of us, however, it would probably be fair to say that until the so-called Kate Middleton effect took hold, sheer hosiery, especially of the “nude” variety, had rather fallen out of fashion. In fact, unless you have an occupation with a dress code which forbids bare legs, or are a lady of a certain age, for whom the very idea of bare legs goes against a lifetime of fashion teaching, it’s entirely possible that you don’t even own a pair of nude tights. Opaque tights, yes: in fact, over the past few years, opaque tights have stopped being simply undergarments, and started being fashion items in their own right, with brands constantly bringing out new colours and patterns. You may even own some fishnets, or lace tights, or tights in some other fabric or style.

But the sheer, shiny nylons of the 70s and 80s? We’re going to take a guess that they probably haven’t had much of a role in your fashion life, at least not within the past few years, when it’s been pretty much a case of bare legs or opaques, with nothing in between. Memories of the American Tan of the 80s have made sheer hosiery seem dated and fussy to some generations of women – and, of course, the fact that sheer tights tend to ladder easily and aren’t always the most comfortable things in the world to wear don’t help much either.

Sheer hosiery makes a comeback, nothing new under the sun

Of course, there was a time when bare legs were seen as a serious fashion faux pas. That time wasn’t even particularly long ago: in fact, any time we write about the issue of tights with sandals, we can guarantee we’ll get a selection of comments from women who were raised to believe that a lady never goes bare-legged, and who can’t imagine deviating from that rule, especially in the workplace. So if, indeed, sheer hosiery is making a comeback, it’s just one more example of fashion coming full-circle.

Do you wear sheer hosiery?

Never mind Kate Middleton, though: we want to hear about you, the woman on the street. Or on the internet, rather. What’s your take on sheer tights? Do you wear them? Would you wear them? Are you starting to see them as “fashion” item now that they’ve been given the royal seal of approval -albeit as a matter of protocol – or will you be sticking to your trusty opaques or nothing at all, and letting the royals keep all the sheer tights for themselves?

In other words: what do you think of sheer hosiery?

(Bracing ourselves for the usual male-generated nylon-fetish comments on this one…)

P.S. If you’re particularly interested in Kate’s style, take a look at our Kate Middleton pictures site, The Duchess!

Sock Horror!

Tights With a Difference by Les Queues de Sardines

So, did everyone have a good New Year? Did you do anything exciting? And did you wear a pair of eyeballs on your knees while you were doing it? No? Shame on you. If only we’d posted these images before New Year’s Eve!

Still, these tights are all part of the current hosiery collection by Les Queues de Sardines, which means you still have the opportunity to buy them. We think they’re a whole lot more interesting than the usual black opaques many of us tend to stick to at this time of year, so take a look under the jump to see some more!

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Sock Horror!

Unsolved Mysteries: Freeze your calves in wool tights with cutouts

Lord knows this is a minor gripe compared to some fashion issues we could mention, but can anyone explain to us why you’d want to wear a pair of cosy, wool tights… which leave your calves totally bared to the elements? Are calves the new armpits? Do they have a tendency to get really warm, while the rest of the legs remain cold?

Further to that: why would you want to pay $79 to bare them to the elements?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments box if it’s easier…).

(Click here to buy them)

Sock Horror!, Style On Trial

Style on Trial: Bebaroque Perla Ornate Bow Tights

We’re all for interesting and unusual hosiery (in fact, sometimes it’s the only thing that makes dull winter fashion bearable), and there’s no doubt that Bebaroque pretty much rule that particular field.

We’re just not sure, however, that we’d want our tights to have actual OBJECTS attached to them. Objects like the pearl bows on these otherwise plain black opaque tights, say. How would you wash them, for instance? (The tights, we mean, not the bows. We’re pretty sure the bows would look after themselves.) Are the bows removable? Wouldn’t they feel a bit odd, if you happened to brush your ankles together? Is ANY pair of tights worth paying £80 for? Or do you like the look of them so much that all of these questions become irrelevant?

If that’s the case, click here and have your £80 ready. In the meantime, we’ll just keep our £80, spend it on shoes, instead. What do you think of these, though?

Crimes of Fashion, Sock Horror!

Who’s buying all the pre-ripped tights?

OK, time to ‘fess up, folks: almost every retail site we look at these days seems to be carrying some variation of the pre-ripped tights pictured above, and we just have to know – who’s actually buying them? Is it you? Because if we’d known people were willing to spend £10 on laddered hosiery, we’d have emptied out our sock drawers long ago and be writing this from a deckchair in the Carribean on the proceeds. And, OK, we get that some of you like the laddered look, but wouldn’t it be a whole lot cheaper to just ladder your own?

Do you buy pre-laddered tights? Do you want to buy pre-laddered tights? If you do, click here and here for the ones shown above…

Fashion Police, Sock Horror!

Would you buy… Etro’s £565 stud applique tights?

OK, so we must admit, we kind of like these. They’re studded tights, after all, and we think they’d make a great way to make a simple dress or skirt look a little more interesting.

Here’s the thing, though: they’re tights. And they’re £565 / $885. We could buy a holiday for that much, and at least we wouldn’t be able to ladder it first time we wore it. The product description sadly neglects to tell us just how thick these tights are, but unless they’re reinforced with iron or something, we just now we’d be able to ruin them without even thinking about it, and to be honest, it would be quicker and easier to just take our £565 and throw it directly into the trash, rather than using it to buy these tights, laddering them beyond repair and THEN throwing them in the trash.

In other words, the ongoing trend for hosiery that costs more than some people pay in rent every month is one of the most puzzling aspects of modern fashion we can think of it.

If $800 is but a drop in the ocean to you, though, and you’re more than happy to spend it on tights, you can buy these ones at Far Fetch. Just don’t let the cat near them…

Fashion Police Glossary, Sock Horror!

Fashion Police Glossary: Sock Horror – a hosiery-related horror

(Our post earlier today about Christian Dior’s $500 socks reminded us to continue updating our Fashion Police Glossary, explaining some of the terms used on the blog. We resume today, then, with the definition of a SOCK HORROR.)

A SOCK HORROR, it goes almost without saying, is some kind of sartorial disaster involving socks, tights, or some other form of hosiery.

It could be that the socks are kinda ugly, like Bebaroque’s fringed thigh-highs:

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Sock Horror!

Cadillac or Christian Dior? How much would you pay for designer socks?

So, nice pair of socks, hmm? Thigh-high: very trendy. Love the ribbon. Look nice and cosy. Handy for wearing under over-the-knee boots, or even around the house, or to bed, in the dark depths of winter.

$500, though. Yep, that’s right: FIVE. HUNDRED. DOLLARS. For socks. And why? Why this crazy-ass sock-price, we hear you ask? Surely the socks must be woven from the hair of unicorns, or have priceless diamonds sewn into the seams or something?

Nah. They’re 100% wool. Dammit, those fashion victims will do anything for a designer label, won’t they? Seriously, you could buy a secondhand car for that price! What would you choose, readers: a 1982 Cadillac DeVille, say, or… a pair of socks?

Let’s look at some other things you could buy for $519 or thereabouts:

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Sock Horror!

What does your skirt length say about you? These tights have the answer…

Ever found yourself wondering whether the length of your skirt is sending out the right signals? Well, now you can work out EXACTLY what kind of signal you’re sending, with the help of these opaque tights, which provide a handy chart to allow you to measure your skirt length and find out what it says about you.

The sliding scale starts at “demure” and goes all the way to “fatal” with the stages in between being (in Spanish) discrete, subtle, flirtatious, sensual, moody, seductive, provocative, bold, shameless and “warrior”.

Which one are you? You’ll have to buy them (from here) to find out. Would you wear them, though?

Crimes of Fashion, Sock Horror!

Sock Horror! Acne’s $200 Tantra-print tights

Tantra on your tights

A few points about this item:

1. These are tights.

2. $209 tights.

3. $209 tights that you just KNOW you’re going to ladder as soon as you put them on, don’t you? Or that your cat/dog/toddler will ladder for you?

4. They have writing on them.

5. So they’ll encourage people to stare really hard at your thighs in order to try and work out what that writing says.

6. Do you REALLY want everyone you meet staring at your thighs? If so, congratulations: you obviously have amazing thighs!

7. Did we mention this is a $209 pair of tights we’re looking at? Are there seriously people in the world who pay $200 for TIGHTS? Who are these people? We’d seriously be fascinated to meet them…

Are you One of Those People, readers? If so, head over to Shopbop: your tantra tights await you!

Crimes of Fashion, Sock Horror!

Sock Horror? Celeste Stein zig zag rainbow glittery tights

The title says it all, doesn’t it readers?  That’s a crime of fashion, right there.  We don’t know about you, but at first glance we wonder whether the detail shot of the pattern is what it is like to be on acid.  That was certainly our initial thought upon spying these on the My Tights website.  (Our second thought was ‘Good Lord’ and the third one ‘aha – perfect for the Fashion Police readers to deem a crime of fashion or not’.)  Rainbow stripes?  Zig zags?  Glitter?  A case of too much going on or total fabulousness?  You decide.  Also, why is the pattern not matched up at the side?  We hate it when patterned tights look like this.

Unsurprisingly, these have been slashed to half price in the sale so if you do like them, they can be yours for £7.98 and you can buy them here.

Crimes of Fashion, Sock Horror!, Swimwear

PSA: Socks and swimwear should never mix

RAFW S/S 2010/11 - Kate Sylvester Catwalk

This is a Public Service Announcement brought to you by The Fashion Police.

As summer approaches, we’d just like to take this opportunity to remind you that socks and swimwear DO NOT MIX. We understand that you may find it tempting to wear socks and shoes with your swimwear. Actually, no, scratch that: we DON’T understand why you’d want to do that, unless you actually are a British pensioner, and in the habit of wearing a knotted handkerchief on top of your head along with your socks/slip-ons/swimwear combo. That would explain the sock suspenders, too.

In conclusion, though: socks and slip-ons are the perfect way to ruin a totally cute bathing suit. We’d like to thank Kate Sylvester’s runway model for her assistance with this demonstration.

Ask the Fashion Police, Sock Horror!

Ask The Fashion Police: Are stockings with sandals a crime of fashion?

From our Formspring page:

Q. Is it acceptable to wear stockings with the seam line when wearing open toe shoes (or even peep toe for that matter) if you can’t find seamless stockings? Or should I risk letting my legs look pale and not so perfect?

A. We get this question fairly often, so let’s address it once and for all…

Although we call ourselves The Fashion Police, you might be surprised to know that in “real” life there are actually very few things that we’d consider an absolute “no”. Sheer stocking with sandals, however, is one of those things: particularly if the stockings in question are flesh-coloured, and the toe seam is highly visible.  Toe seams aren’t designed to be on show. Strappy sandals and peep toes aren’t designed to be worn with tights. It’s as simple as that, and before a dozen or so of our male readers all rush to tell us that if we only knew how turned on they are by the sight of sheer tights and strappy sandals, we’d wear them all the time yes, we DO know. You’ve told us before.  And we don’t care, because we still don’t like this look,  and we don’t dress to please men. Sorry.

To address the “pale and not so perfect” comment: well, we don’t actually think there’s anything so very wrong with pale skin, but if you do want to take the glare off a little before baring your pins to the world, there are plenty of products available to help you do that: Pretty Polly’s Love Legs range, for instance, contains various types of wash-off “leg makeup” which is good for adding a hint of colour without turning you orange.

Just to confuse matters further, we’d like to add that none of this applies to opaque tights and peep toes. We actually quite like that look. Why yes, we ARE pretty fickle, aren’t we?

As with all of our “advice”, however, we feel we have to add the disclaimer that these are simply personal opinions. We know there are lots of people out there who really like the look of sheer tights in sandals (And not all of them are men determined to tell us what to wear, either), so let’s hear from our readers.

What do you think of stockings and sandals? Fashion crime, or absolutely fine?

Celebrity Fashion, Sock Horror!

Sophie Ellis-Bextor wears white ankle socks to the Samsung 3D Television Party

Sophie Ellis-Bextor the Samsung 3D Television Party Fashion Police

Cute or childish?

When we last broached the issue of whether adults can get away with ankle socks, many of you felt that while it’s OK if you happen to be Rihanna (as are so many things in life!), this is ultimately a look that’s only for the very, very young. Like, toddlers, say (although maybe not with heels).

Here’s 31-year-old Sophie Ellis-Bextor, however, flying in the face of that piece of fashion advice, and proudly wearing her white ankle socks and (rather scuffed) white shoes to the Samsung 3D Television Party in London this week. We love her dress, cardigan and bag here… but we do think this cute little outfit would have been even cuter if it didn’t look like she’d somehow woken up with the feet of a toddler on the body of a 31-year-old woman.

What do you think? Socks and stilettos were OK on Rihanna, but are they OK on Sophie?

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