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How to stay stylish in the winter

howto stay stylish in the winter

[Dunnes Stores]

As we observed last week, winter presents all kinds of problems when it comes to getting dressed AND staying stylish, and all too often we end up putting warmth before fashion (as we should, of course) and stumbling through the season looking like we’re contestants in some strange kind of Supermarket Sweep gameshow, the aim being to pile on as many items of clothing as we can, in the shortest time possible.

People, it doesn’t have to be this way. There ARE ways to stay stylish in cold weather. Here are just a few of them…


how to stay stylish in winter[Accessorize]

1. Wrap up

Now, before you go sighing loudly and closing down the browser, berating us for telling you things that really should go without saying, stop for a minute and think. Think of all of the women you see every winter, tottering around with blue, goosepimpled flesh and totally numb fingers and toes, all because they refused to dress for the weather, and tried to go out with bare legs and no coat. It’s not stylish, is it? And yes, you’re right: it SHOULD go without saying, but it apparently doesn’t, so we’re just going to say it and get it out of the way: please, people, wrap up. Don’t try to pretend it’s still summertime, with your bare legs and your flimsy dresses: you’re not fooling anyone, and not only do you feel uncomfortable, you look uncomfortable too, and that’s never a good look. No one is looking at you and thinking how fabulous and carefree you look in that tiny dress and strappy sandals: they just think you look stupid. Yes, we know it’s harsh, but it’s true. WRAP UP.

How to stay stylish in the winter

 2. Pick your winter coat wisely

We’ve spoken a lot about winter coats lately, but with good reason. A good coat isn’t just the only thing standing between you and frostbite: it’s also the main thing standing between you and good style. You can go for a gigantic down coat, of course, and look like a walking sleeping bag (and in some weather conditions, that’s exactly what you SHOULD do, too. Remember, kids, your health and safety is more important than style!), OR you can choose something that will always look stylish, no matter what you’re wearing with it. For this reason, and unless you have unlimited funds to buy unlimited coats with, we recommend going with a neutral colour which will work with every single item you own. You’ll be wearing this coat every day, so make sure you’ll actually WANT to.

how to stay stylish in winter

3. Protect the extremities

Hands, feet, head. If they’re warm, the rest of you will be… well, it won’t necessarily be JUST as warm (especially not if, like the girl with the puppy, you wear a huge hat and scarf, but leave your arms bare), but you’ll have a much better chance of keeping yourself at a decent temperature. Like most things, hats, scarves, gloves and socks can be ugly, or they can be stylish. Invest some time in seeking out the stylish ones, which look good with the winter coat you bought in step 2, and which fit your own personal style. As well as keeping you warm, and being relatively inexpensive, cold weather accessories like these can be a great way to add a bit of individuality to your outfits.

4. Thermals. Buy some.

The most commonly cited winter fashion advice we hear is that you should wear layers, because lots of thin layers are warmer, and more versatile than one thick one. What, exactly, should you layer WITH, though? Well, there are lots of options here, but we’ll tell you our favourite: thermals. Vests and leggings. No, they’re not sexy. Not in the slightest. But it doesn’t matter, because no one will see them, and they’ll allow you to continue wearing more or less whatever you want to, without having to bundle yourself up like a badly-wrapped parcel.

how to stay stylish in the winter

[L-R: Next, Scaline London]

5. Leggings are not pants. But they make excellent tights.

You’ll never convince us that leggings make great pants. But we do think they make excellent tights: they’re generally thicker, warmer and with a better lycra content than the real thing, which means you don’t have to worry about laddering them, or finding the crotch  hovering somewhere around your knees by mid-morning. They make shorter dresses much more wearable and warmer, and can be layered under trousers too, if you’re really cold. Just don’t wear them as pants…

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!

Style On Trial

Tights Are Not Pants: Pamela Mann “ski pants”

Pamela Mann ski pantsWe don’t know who Pamela Mann (or Tights Please for that matter) are trying to kid by labelling these as ski pants, but we can clearly see that they are tights.  And if you refer back to the Fashion Police rules, you will recall that leggings are not pants and tights are not leggings.  Meaning that tights cannot possibly be pants.

However, that is not what we are debating here, valid point though it is.  The ‘on trial’ in question is the style of tights which are not quite footless, not quite footed: the ski pant tights that hook neatly under your foot.  What do you think of these readers?  Are they the answer to wearing sandals with tights?  Do they stop your leg looking stumpy as footless tights often can make them look?  Or are they just a crime of fashion that should be banished to our jail as soon as possible?

These tights come in red, blue and black, and are available here for £5.99.

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?

Crimes of Fashion, Shoes

Under Fashion Police Arrest: Black thigh high boot/sandals from Miss Selfridge

It’s almost like these boots were TRYING to get themselves arrested, isn’t it?


So far, we’ve got them on two separate counts:

1. Being peep toe boots: and peep-toe THIGH boots at that. (Because when it’s cold enough for thigh boots, it’s still too warm for closed toes, apparently!)

2. Trying to pass themselves off as sandals.

We also considered nailing them on a charge of “trying to create the appearance of strappy sandals worn with tights“, but they plead for leniency on the grounds that “everyone else is doing it, m’lud!” They do have a point there, and we’re not totally against sandals with opaque tights, so we’re leaving that one for now, but we could be persuaded to change our minds if the jury are so minded.

For now, though, we have no hesitation in naming these one of the worst examples of boots-pretending-to-be-shoes we’ve ever had the misfortune to come across. Which is strange, because that particular honour normally falls to someone like Marc Jacobs . This time, however, it was Miss Selfridge who created the monster – they’re selling them here for £70.

Sock Horror!

Sock Horror! Toe footsies – to be worn with strappy sandals


  One of the questions we're asked most often is "Is it OK to wear tights with opem-toed sandals?"

Well, according to Transparemze, the answer to that would be a definite "yes", because they've designed these Toe Footsies with the intention that people  would do exactly that – wear them with strappy sandals. Yes. 

As for The Fashion Police, we've always fallen firmly on the "no tights with strappy sandals" side of the line, and the image above has done nothing to change our minds on that issue. No siree.

What about you, though, readers? Is this a true case of "Sock Horror!" or would you wear 'em? 

Ask the Fashion Police, POPULAR

Can you wear tights / stockings with open toed shoes?

Can you wear tights with open toed shoes?

Can you wear tights with open toed shoes

Socks with sandals at Bertie

Donna writes…

Hi There-

Is it ever acceptable to wear hose with opened toed shoes? Thanks


We get this question a lot, and it comes in many different forms:

Can you wear hose with sandals?

Can you wear socks with peep toes?

Is it OK to wear tights with strappy sandals?

Can I wear stockings with open shoes?

and so on and so forth. It seems a lot of you are worrying about whether or not it’s permissible to wear your sandals, peep toes and other open shoes with anything other than bare feet. So: IS IT?

The short answer: It totally depends on the type of socks/tights/hose. And also on the type of shoes.

The long answer (because the short one wasn’t really all that helpful, we can see that):

If you’d asked us this a few years ago, we’d probably have had no hesitation in saying that no, hose with open-toed shoes is NEVER OK.

Then again, if you’d asked us a few years before THAT, we’d have been all, “Sure, why not?”

Our point: things change. Fashions change. There was a time when bare legs would have been considered horribly unsophisticated, therefore women would always be expected to wear some kind of hose, regardless of the style of their shoes. These days, that notion is considered outdated by many (Although there are still plenty of people who still subscribe to it), and bare legs have become much more the norm, especially in the summer. In fact, until the Duchess of Cambridge started to popularise the wearing of nude hose again, sheer tights were considered frumpy, and unstylish.  Nowadays, they’re still not exactly the height of fashion (despite the Duchess’s efforts), but opaque tights, on the other hand, are still very popular, and it’s far from uncommon to see them worn with peep toes or sandals.

In other words, we don’t think there IS a right answer to the burning issue of whether or not you can wear tights with open toed shoes, as it depends so much on the factors above. If you want to know our personal opinion, however (And bear in mind this is just an opinion!), we’d say YES to opaque tights with open toes, NO to sheer ones. We’d love to know what you think, however, so please feel free to join the conversation below!

What do you think: can you wear tights with open toed shoes? 

Crimes of Fashion, Opinion

Fashion Crimes of Winter – a list

Holiday_sweaterWhen it comes to fashion seasons, we’re inclined to think summer is the worst for flushing out the fashion criminals. Too-short shorts, underwear-as-outerwear, Crocs – they all seem to be more prevalent than usual during the summer months, but that doesn’t mean winter is a fashion crime-free zone. Far from it, in fact.

Here’s a short, and totally subjective list of what we consider to be the worst fashion crimes commonly spotted in winter. Feel free to add to it…

1. Holiday themed clothing and accessories

Yes, we know you’re looking forward to Christmas. So are we. Christmas is fun! But holiday sweaters, novelty socks and Christmas tree earrings? Not so much, really.  The first two belong on children and only on children. The third belong only on office Christmas party attendees who’ve had a few too many glasses of the free punch. And the scary snowman pictured above? Belongs on no-one

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Crimes of Fashion

“Tights with sandals” fashion crime spotted at Calvin Klein


Peeptoes and opaques we like. And opaque tights with not-too-strappy-sandals we can just about handle. But sheer tights with strappy sandals? We hate. Especially when, as in the picture above,from Calvin’s Klein’s Fall 2008 catwalk, the tights have reinforced toes which are clearly visible below the straps, and which are just a little bit twisted. In our book, toe seams on sheer tights should be covered at all times – and actually, we’re not so keen on the tights-under-trousers look, either: in fact, when the tights are sheer ones, it makes us squirm to see them worn under pants, and even more so when they’re worn under jeans. (Yes, some people do this. We’ve seen them.)

Of course, these could well be pop-socks, not actual tights, but even so, that doesn’t make it OK to wear them with strappy sandals, we think. The only thing that could make it worse would be if they were "nude" tights – now there would be a fashion crime to behold!

Your thoughts on the thorny issue of sheer tights and strappy sandals/pants would be welcomed…

Dresses, Fashion Trends

Fashion Trends: Floral Dresses


Just in case you haven’t noticed, fashion has been having a bit of a floral moment recently. This is jhust fine by us: florals are something of a summer staple, but they can also look good at this time of year with tights, boots, and a cardi over the top to keep the chill off your arms. Once the weather heats up, ditch the accessories and wear them with flip flops/sandals and a slouchy leather bag. Product details for the dresses above are shown below. Click on over the jump for some more fantastic florals.

Lopez tea dress, £45, Monsoon; pink flower print dress, £35, Topshop; print tea dress, £50, Oli

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