Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fashion Trends: Hosiery, Men and Women

In recent years, there has been a fun inversion of fashion trends.  Usually, women adopt a new look, and then, in a modified way, men sometimes take up the idea.  

One example has been pants.  Readers of my Skinny Jeans post (April 30)  will recall that over recent years, women have been wearing much, much tighter pants.

Men have followed, to a degree.  Pleated pants, while still popular, are now shown with more narrowly cut models, and fashionable suits have been streamlined, as shown below.  (Very, very few men have adopted pants as tight-fitting as the ones women have been wearing.)

Now men have led the way in a new, actually fun revolution in socks, of all things.  I noticed it several years back when I observed a suited salesman at a high-end store wearing striped socks with his otherwise formal look.

Now it is everywhere on younger men's suits.

My guess is that, while the suit remains a constant in menswear for certain occasions, younger guys want to tweak the look a bit.  I see more suits worn without neckties and, now, suits worn with colorful socks from black-blue-gray to bright greens and purples in striped and argyle patterns.

And why not?  There is no federal law that socks must be the same color as pants.

Naturally, this trend also is appearing in casual wear.  Suddenly it is fun for girlfriends, sisters and mothers to give the gift of interesting socks.  And the guys are wearing them!

Meantime, as all this was happening, women remained conservative in their hosiery selections.

As I mentioned earlier, women were late to this party.  Sometime, maybe five to eight years ago, they cast off their pantyhose and took up black tights, which lasted longer and came in only one color.  Picking stockings in the morning suddenly became much easier.
Talk about a trend with legs.  In seasons from spring through summer and fall, women either wore black tights or no stockings at all.

I can only imagine the dismay of hosiery manufacturers, who had a pretty steady business going there.  Sheer stockings are subject to snags, runs and uncomfortable holes in the toes, and women were constantly having to replace them, often at considerable cost.  So far, there has been no move to go back to that look.

Instead, now imitating men, women are taking up hosiery in different textures and colors.  Finally they are catching up with the guys.  Black tights are still with us, but now there are options.

Another trend has been to wear regular socks with skirts and dresses, as seen below.

This is not a look for every woman, but it definitely works for some of them, even with sandals.

Now, in the stores, I see many brightly colored socks in the women's hosiery department.


And there are many more women wearing colorful socks with sandals.  I personally like the look pictured below.

But, like any good thing, a new womenswear look can go too far.  I would caution against pairings like the one that follows.

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