SHANE WATSON PEOPLE WAT C H I N G
You’d be forgiven for assuming that flashing a leg is as straightforward as fashion statements get. Think again
Here are the Duchess of Sussex and Cheryl doing leg flashing, this week, in very different ways. Similar idea (long dress, one thighhigh split) and yet not the same at all.
You would think leg flashing was a pretty straightforward fashion statement: you either do or you don’t. If you do, no big deal, just make sure you’ve got the legs for it, and your knickers are not on show (unless you are Elizabeth Hurley, in which case often your knickers are spangly and designed to match your dress, so go right ahead). But leg flashing is, as we can see from these examples, far from simple. You could write a small book on the subject, or at least a long list of dos and don’ts, and they would include the following:
When flashing a leg you want little and often, now you see it now you don’t; glimpse of leg, no leg, glimpse of leg, no leg, ooh suddenly quite a bit when she crouches down, and so on. You do not, on any account, want yawning leg out, all day, like a ham in a butcher’s window. Meghan is hedging her bets in this Reformation dress, with a safety button a few inches south of the top of the split. This way you get the effect of a high thigh split with roughly 20 per cent less exposure, 20 per cent more elegance. That’s the idea, anyway.
Whatever you do, don’t stick your on-show leg out! Anyone sticking it out since Angelina Jolie’s memorable humiliation at the 2012 Oscars (the offending sticky-out leg captured the public imagination and got superimposed on everything, including Brad’s head) has not been paying attention. You can stick it out a fraction, if posing on the red carpet, but you’re far better off looking like you’ve forgotten you are leg flashing. If you are leg flashing, put your breasts away. Just say no to extravagant cleavage. Possibly you remember Rachel Weisz in her thigh-split Miu Miu long dress, at the premiere for The Mercy, and what a success that was – because the split was borderline rude, but the rest of the dress was long-sleeved, highnecked, and as prairie-modest as a dress can be. If you are flashing your upper thigh, that’s generally enough for one day.
Even leg tone is essential.
Everyone is looking at this on-show leg, so if nothing else it’s got to be scrubbed up and smoothed out and looking its best. It’s got to look better than two legs in a miniskirt. Which is saying something.
There’s no rule about heels or flats with leg flashing, but it goes without saying that a thigh-split dress with Roman sandals is more breezy than saucy. (At this point it seems right to point out that while Meghan is playing the leg flashing down quite well, the dress was see-through – rookie mistake). If there is anything to learn from these two in their leg-showing best it’s probably that leg showing is a tricky business, not to be entered into lightly, and both of them have looked a lot better, frankly.
PREGNANT PAUSEThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex, left; and Cheryl, below left