Monday, 25 July 2011

Calm down dear - they're only a pair of tights

Ms Ruth Butler on is getting her pants in a pile about pantyhose.

Although she does not say so explicitly, Ms Butler is trying to set up a connection in the reader's mind between pantyhose and the oppressive female clothing of yesteryear:
"Layers, corsets, bustles. No wonder women got the vapors back in more regal times. Who could breathe?

My mother’s generation had girdles: iron mistresses that defied gravity: Just try to wiggle your derriere! No match for the 18-hour girdle. My grandmother talked about garments with “stays” and “bones”: spiny materials inserted for support, not comfort.

Such things never really disappear. Undies that are the equivalent of being wrapped in an oversized Ace bandage are popular now. And uncomfortable bras have always been with us."
Are tights from a bygone age?
  Now tights are nothing like this.  They are outer wear.  They are a fashion statement or maybe even a work of leg art.  Tights don't attempt to re-shape our bodies (well the odd pair of control tops apart).  They allow us to display our legs without them being perfect.  Bare legs are fine, but who wants the pain of a waxing?  Better shaving every now and then and using tights to hide the little hairs, or the larger hairs in the case of opaques.

What is most uncomfortable?  Waxing or opaque tights?
Now I agree there are draw backs of tights.  I laddered a new pair only yesterday.  (Boots the Chemist 10 denier tan "tall and fuller figure"  from 5 pack if you must know.  I am both tall and "fuller figure").  Even ladders may not be a draw back, I watched my (male) companion for the afternoon eying up our waitresses' legs.  As far a know he's not "into" tights, but they made her legs look good despite the ladder down the back.
Twists, sags and runs and her legs still look great
"The twists, the turns, the snags and holes. The ill fit".
But its just not tights that are uncomfortable.  I have a really scratchy pair of suit pants (trousers).  Tights and a skirt or loose shorts can be less restrictive that tight pants.
Tights with a comfortable informal dress
A telling paragraph in the article is:
"And now, pantyhose are back. What a lady will wear. Once, they were the symbol of what made women strong, resolute and able to face life with a sense of humor. Deal with them, you can deal with anything." (My emphasis)
They can deal with it
  They can still be a symbol of our strength.  I was watching a couple of sales girls today - one in tan tights, one in patterned tights - outselling their male colleagues hands down.  And not just to men who might have come to look at their legs.
Selling in tights
The media get the blame as if we girls can't think for ourselves
"Blame “Mad Men.” While some fans get all woozy over its style and characters, the successful ’60s-era AMC series has resurrected an interest in women in cone-cupped bras, in dresses made for posing, not moving."
 Tights technology has come on since the 1960s.  Lycra for a start.  Tights are just as much a part of modern as retro styles.
Tights but not as they knew them in the 1950s and 60s

Finally I must mention that Ms Butler has a bash at the real love of my life.
"You know how those damsel-in-distress movies have a scene of a woman, fleeing from an attacker/zombie/slasher, down the street, through the woods, across the field?  And what does she do every time? Trips and falls. And why? Usually because she’s wearing high heels."
Shoes off ready for slasher attack?
 Of course she could take them off and run in her stocking feet.  And those heels are lethal weapons for taking out a slashers eye.
Killer's heels?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Celebrity effect pulls up tights sales

It appears that there is money in sheer hoisery - at least in the UK.

The facts and figures are:

  • Wolford sales were up 19.5% last year
  • Sales of Marks and Spencer suntan tights up 50%
  • Marks and Spencer nude tights sales were up 85%

This is usually put down to the celebrity factor:

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
  • The fashion blogosphere has been abuzz with the tights choices of the Middleton sisters - as has already been noted on this blog and will be doubtless analysed again.
  • Bayonce has been wearing sheer tights on stage
  • French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been showing that nude tights can have Gallic sheik
  • Even Sarah Jessica Parker - of Sex in the City Fame - has been seen in leg wear that is a bit more sheer.

 Now while the rise in tan tights sales coincided with the Middleton factor,  celebs may not have been the only cause (or indeed the cause) driving the rise in sheer pantyhose sales in the UK.  As they say correlation need not mean causation.  I noticed a rise in tights (particularly with shorts) amongst girls walking to sixth form college in Brighton long before the celeb trend.  Perhaps tights have just come to the top of the ever turning wheel of fashion again.

I also think it is sad that the emphasis is just on nude (and maybe tan) tights.  Black can look even more sexy.

The trend does not, however, appear to have reached the US yet.  Pantyhose sales in dollar terms were only up 1.7%.  But there are signs that the tide is turning even in the US:

  • Sales of opaque tights in the US jumped by 27%
  • 65% of people who replied to Huffington post survey said they would wear sheer tights
  • 79% of people answering a survey said they thought sheer stockings were sexy.
Sarah Jessica Parker

Sadly as one US commentator notes "young women here are still cool to basic nude or sheer black stockings".  Something that is not helped by the media.  I recently watched a episode of the BBC sci-fi show "Torchwood" set in the US and clearly aimed at the US market, only to find all the foxy CIA operatives combined bare legs with their funky platform heels.

But the US industry is producing "playful patterned and colored sheer pantyhose, tights and over-the-knee socks for the autumn. There are pale floral patterns, soft colour mixes, lace patterns, stripes, cutouts and embroidered fishnets."  So perhaps the return of sheer pantyhose to the US is only a matter of time.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Turned out too nice for opaques?

Just as I wonder whether July is a month for opaques, the weather changes, so is it now a month for sheers or maybe even for bare legs?  Keep up with whether its the weather for tights or not (at least in Brighton, UK) via my new weather feed.  Too much weather and not enough tights on this blog?  Well it is British Blog, in it.  And if it gets too hot just slip your shoes off :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Opaques in July

Here's another fashion question.  Is it OK to wear opaque tights in July?  Shouldn't this be the time for bare legs or a least whisper thin sheer pantyhose like Kate and Pippa?  Well with the recent spell of bad weather it is at least forgivable and perhaps even sensible.
Who has the best leg fashion for July?
And you are in good celebrity company.  Five-and-a-half months' pregnant Lily Allen , attended the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo Final in Midhurst, West Sussex, wearing a pair of black tights so thick they could have been mistaken for leggings.

Tanned supermodel Kate Moss recently teamed a very low cut silver metallic dress with a black blazer, black opaque tights and killer heels to attend a private viewing of the new Jake or Dinos Chapman exhibition at the White Cube gallery in London's Hoxton.

 Of course no discussion of opaque tights would be complete with a mention of Hollywood actress and face of Rimmel make-up, Zooey Deschanel, who calls black tights her "safety blanket".  As has already been noted by Joy of Tights she has been reported to say  "I am a year round tights girl. I will wear tights even if it is 100 degrees outside," . Ms Deschanel never graces the red carpet bare-legged.

And the trend is spreading amongst us mere mortals.  Sitting getting slowly pissed in my favourite Brighton pub I've seen five pairs of opaque tights go past in ten minutes. Oh there goes pair 6, a nice wine colour. The phenomena even gets a mention on Mum's Net.  Not a usual source for this blog but here goes:  (And there goes a girl in very short, shorts, thick opaques and cool boots.  Perhaps I should get a twitter account and tweet every pair I see!).  Anyway back to Mum's net:

"I am very tempted by the opaque tights and denim skirt look"

"add thick tights and boots to that Tibi dress"

"a long black cape with a hood and a zip which she said was from H&M (not on website), short black shorts with tights"

"Am planning to be brave ..... and get my legs out (obviously with tights)"

(Note all quotations may be out of context).

So why wear opaques in July?

1.  As has already been said the British weather.
2. Opaques are funky - especially in pink.  Opaques don't have to be black.

3. Opaques make it easy to wear stuff that is short short short

4. They keep your feet warm with funky sandals

5. You may have to wear them for work
Happiness is a fag, your mates, heels and tights
6. Opaques go with any outfit.  Unlike bare legs.

7. Even on a hot day the nights (or early mornings may be cooler).
Does she feel left out because everyone else is in black tights?
8. When its is a bit chilly they show your legs off better than trousers.

9.Less is more - turn men on by showing the shape of your legs but not even hinting at the spin beneath the nylon and Lycra.
I think I meant showing less is more
10.  If you have to go without your shoes opaques protect your feet.
Nice thick opaque soles

11. Because the fashion pages say you shouldn't wear them.  Maxi skirts, cropped trousers, rolled-up jeans and ankle-length dresses they shout.  I'm old enough to remember the 70s maxi - O. M. G.  Why have your skirt trailing in the dirt?  Hell those roll ups can be uncomfortable and roll down.  Rolled up jeans and cropped trousers can make you look like a day tripper going to the sea side.!