Fashion: A 'delicate' discussion

By CARLY GUSTAFSON,

Hosiery. Some folks hear that word and immediately think of their grandmother in her Sunday best with some sort of casserole dish and Bible in tow, headed to the church potluck. Fortunately, that’s not always the case. Anyone – at any age can, and should ­– accessorize with hosiery.

While the weather is still very much unpredictable here in south Mississippi, there’s no reason to immediately put your dresses and shorts in the back of your closet (or dresser).

Wearing hosiery – whether it be socks, stockings, or tights – as an accessory can be a challenge. When you choose to make hosiery an accessory, you’re not only wearing it for basic purposes (i.e. for comfort or warmth). You’re also wearing it to make a statement.

Socks. Truth be told, unless I absolutely have to wear socks, I opt to skip them. With the “Grandma style” on the horizon for the 2020 season, be prepared to see socks paired with heels, sandals, and lace-up shoes.

I admit, accessorizing with socks is sort of an advanced art. If you’re going to pair socks with your shoes, make sure they are a thin material. For the most flattering look, make sure the sock falls at the smallest part of your leg.

When wearing socks with your outfit, they automatically become the focal point so make sure the rest of your outfit does not detract from your socks.

As always, proportion plays a major role in choosing what sock best pairs with the shoes you’re wearing. Play around with your choices until it feels like the sock hits just the right spot. You want them to be subtle, but definitely visible.

Tights are meant to be worn under dresses and skirts for warmth, and as such, should only be worn during the colder months of the year.

I grew up attending a private school in Natchez and had to wear jumpers every single day because we had a strict uniform policy.

I had three or four pair of navy blue tights, and let me tell you… those things were my saving grace in the fall and winter months.

You have not experienced cold until you have to endure what I call a “Catholic School winter” in a jumper.

Although it may seem glaringly obvious to most women, I will go and mention it so my mother knows I was paying attention. Ladies, do not wear tights with holes in them.

Black tights tend to go with everything. Opaque black tights are the most popular, since the skin peeks through a bit and are not as harsh in color as standard, thick, black tights.

Colored or textured patterned tights can be a bit trickier to style. My best advice is to go with a dark jewel tone or a simple, delicate pattern. Bold patterns and bright colors are harder to pair – and harder to pull off.

Like any other undergarments you purchase, invest in hosiery made of quality materials. While it may seem silly to spend money on socks and/or tights, the better material, the longer they will last. Unfortunately, in my hosiery purchases, I have found that the cheaper the price tag, the cheaper the material—and the more holes you’ll have down the road.

Last but not least, you must take special care when storing these items. They don’t call them “delicate’ for nothing.

Hosiery and socks should be gently folded or rolled. Never should you tie them, ball them up, or throw them in your dresser or closet.

They’re delicate items and should be treated as such. Washing these items by hand is suggested. I know, because I have unfortunately fallen victim to skipping the hand washing suggestion and, on occasion, have opted for the delicate cycle on my washer and dryer.

BIG mistake.

My tights came out of the dryer ten sizes too small and covered in holes.

So the next time you see a pair of nude tights and immediately want to run – or call your grandmother – I encourage you to branch out and try something new with your wardrobe. You will be surprised what you can get away with and how well put together hosiery can make you look.

Carly Gustafson is the Style Editor for Signature Magazine. In full disclosure, her favorite pair of socks is a pair of ‘Friday the 13th’ knee highs, which she usually wears under her pajamas to keep warm during these cold winter nights.