From the cat­walk to your wardrobe… Grace Cahill on the fash­ion fixes that work in the real world

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - STYLE WATCH - Grace Cahill

IT’S ONE OF FASH­ION’S PEREN­NIAL QUES­TIONS: when is it sea­son­ally ac­cept­able to wear tights? Some say it’s only the months that with end with an ‘r’ (Oc­to­ber, Novem­ber, De­cem­ber) but I’m more in­clined to also in­clude the much colder y’s (Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary). Oth­ers – espe­cially my mother’s gen­er­a­tion – will say all year round.

Whether you sur­ren­der pre or post-Christ­mas, most of us have a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with buy­ing, wear­ing and main­tain­ing hosiery. We can’t live with them – the con­stant slid­ing, itch­ing, lad­der­ing – yet when tem­per­a­tures drop low enough, we can­not live with­out them. It doesn’t help that we have very lit­tle guid­ance on how to wear them. Walk through any Ir­ish city through­out au­tumn and you’ll see crowds of black-opaqued legs with skirts and boots. Yet scan through any glossy mag­a­zine and the fash­ion pages are barren of them. The rea­son be­ing, of course, that bronzed bare legs are tra­di­tion­ally cham­pi­oned in photo-shoots; thick black opaques re­quired in the real world are not.

Per­son­ally I grap­ple with the idea of dark chunky styles that lend them­selves so eas­ily to freezing cold morn­ings when you’re in a rush. What they lend in com­fort and warmth, they shed in style. They tend to cast a dull shadow over some out­fits, espe­cially brighter ones, and some­times limit what colours you can wear them with. A sim­ple way to make strong colours work with black tones is to shop the sheer de­nier styles that are much lighter and more for­giv­ing. If black still feels too dull, then grey, brown or navy worn with cer­tain colours work too.

Thank­fully, de­sign­ers are start­ing to con­sider how cold it gets for us com­ing into party sea­son – whether the fash­ion crit­ics sup­port them or not – and are think­ing up ways to wear cosy cover-ups that don’t limit your colour palette. Phoebe Philo at Cé­line served up lacy styles with 1980s’ ref­er­ences in fluffy tex­tures that don’t feel too gamine or girly. Marks & Spencer and Deben­hams both have looka­like ver­sions in store. Gucci also served bright colours in more dar­ing pat­terned prints, mim­icked at Top­shop and H&M, that are beau­ti­ful worn with pleated and wrap midi skirts for the braver fash­ion en­thu­si­asts.

Now for the nitty gritty ques­tion. How much should you spend on them? I have friends who would never spend more than a ten­ner while some of my mother’s friends splash €90 on a pair. Work out cost per wear and if it’s high, in­vest in seam­less, lad­der­proof ones with a tight fit­ting waist­band that won’t budge – look for Wol­ford’s at Arnotts (they start at €30) and Falke (€20) at Brown Thomas. You also need to take them off with care, wash them inside out in a wash-bag and don’t ever dry them in a tum­ble dryer or on a ra­di­a­tor – the more ex­pen­sive yarns fall par­tic­u­larly prey to heat. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


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