Monday, 10 October 2016

Time for Tights Lesson 2 - How to wear Sheer Tights

The Times sounds the death knell for Opaques....

I was in London last week where there was a nip in the air. Happily skirting around wearing my 80's charity shop double breasted wool blazer, I noticed many-a Londonite battening down the hatches readying themselves for winter by going full pelt: coat, scarf, tights, boots. Was a single one of these people wearing sheer tights? Nope. As a northerner I found the article above slightly hilarious - bare legs or sheers? Give over, have you ever experienced a winter in Yorkshire? In winter it isn't survival of the fittest, it's survival of the warmest. As I type this I'm wearing 100 denier tights and I'm inside a warm house, warmer with the black coating of a thick tight. I guess what I'm saying is take the "advice" from The Times with a pinch of salt. Ladies up and down the land will be reaching for their opaques this winter regardless of what fashion decrees are handed down to them. As it says in the article sheer tights aren't as practical as an opaque: they aren't as warm, the ladder easily and they skirt dangerously near to the edge of the 80's (which I LOVE but that's my personal taste). But if you do want to switch things up this year, alternating your opaques for sheers can the way forward. I began wearing sheer tights last winter and love them. I don't wear them everyday and yes they do ladder exponentially often but it's a break from the norm. I even took them a few pairs on my honeymoon in April (and WORE THEM! Dear gawd it was freezing in Chicago!)

 Let's begin this weeks masterclass using the master of the sheer tight: Carine Roitfeld.

1. Just plain sheers - Carine has a cracking pair of pins which she dresses really well in pencil shaped skirts. Her style is very sexy, a lot of body-con type stuff in a monochromatic colour palette with hints of grey, brown and khaki. Easily identificable she mixes it up using different fabrics to add interest: leather, brocade, lace. Here she has a monochrome look broken up with a sheer tight. If she had worn an opaque (and I highly doubt she ever would - maybe I should invite her to Halifax to see if the cold weather would force her hand?) the shoe would have disappeared into the tight, all you would've seen would be one black mass resting on a stiletto heel. Carine has so kindly answered another question here - is it ok to wear tights with peep-toe shoes? Why yes but don't show the seam where the tights are sewn. That's a fashion tragedy waiting to happen.

Image: Stockholm 

2. Patterned Sheer Tights - this once again is down to personal style. I myself loathe them, they make my outfits overtly fussy and I don't like how my legs look in them. But let's look to Carine for some guidance if you do want to head down this road. Below Carine is once again loving black and using a mix of textures to make her outfit visually appealing. A heavy coat is broken up with a patterned skirt and patterned tights, both in contrasting patterns. The tights draw attention to arguably her crowning feature: her legs. And after years in the fashion game, she's savvy - sitting on the FROW what's on show? Her legs.

Image: Pinterest

3. Fishnets - I had a fab client recently who I re-styled with a vintage 1950s grown-up Rockerbilly vibe. One of the key things I bought for her was a pair of black seamed fishnet tights to wear with her full circle skirts. But fishnets are not just for vintage wear. Carine shows us how - look close and you'll see the tights below aren't sheer, they are a pair of close knit fishnets. Clever Carine has worked broken up a fairly matt, flat outfit, with the texture of a fishnet and the colour of a pink stiletto. Her take on a business suit subverts the traditional ideals of the office and gives us something fun to look at.

Image: Getty Images

4. Oversized Fishnets - Carine is also known for wearing a larger scale fish net (below) which works as she's gone bold with a mid length textured coat. I don't think a smaller knit fish net would've worked with this, it would've gotten lost and ended up looking like a sheer in the photo. A larger more open weave is the way to go this winter (2016) - check out this article from WhoWhatWear for more inspiration.

Image: WhoWhatWear

5. Socks - the saviour of a winter wardrobe and a sharp turn away from those gawd-awful pop-sock things. Wear them with your 7/8th trousers and heels for a stylish extra layer of warmth. More on socks next week...

Image: ASOS

What will be adorning your legs this season?

Til next time....stay wardrobe happy x

The Wardrobe Angel

Friday, 30 September 2016

Time for Tights! Lesson One Opaques and Sheers.

Ho Ho Ho. Image from Google Search.

The temperature has plummeted this week, I have gotten my winter pj's out of storage and I am ready for jumper season. Hand-in-hand with jumper season comes tights-time! Recently a few clients have asked about what tights go with what so here's a quick summary to get you started. Firstly Opaque tights versus sheer tights.

Opaque = tights you can't see though it. 
Sheer = tights you can see through

1. Black Opaque Tights - I LOVE a thick black tight. Never has an excuse for a hairy leg been so chic! The ones I have used for the past 2 years have been M&S Body Sensor tights which do the job of staying up rather than riding down your crotch like so many pairs of tights seem to do. I wear mine under a black leather A-line skirt which hits my mid thigh and under a black leather mini skirt for more coverage. Now, if I was wearing my black A-line midi skirt like this picture below, I would go tightless as there's only a wee bit of leg exposed, and I'm northern so I can (supposedly) handle the cold.

Photo from Pinterest. If this is your image please let me know and I'll attribute it.

2. Sheer Nude Tights - Kate Middleton favours a sheer tight but they have the fashion world divided. If you have varicose veins, scarring on your legs which you are conscious of or extra pale legs (I'm talking seeing the blood actually pumping through your veins pale) then a sheer tight can work wonders for giving you the extra layer of warmth AND providing a comfy blanket under which you can forget about the things on your legs which you are conscious of. This RED online article perfectly surmises the 2 forces at play when it comes to sheer tights. I'm happy to admit to wearing sheer tights at weddings in March and October when the weather was a bit chilly and my legs were the colour of white flour: white. There's suffering for your art (hello brave New York fashion person out in the snow with a bare leg) and there's being comfortable with how you style yourself. Considering Wolford's best sellers list starts with 3 pairs if nude sheer tights, that means plenty of women out there are loving that little bit of extra coverage. Amen to that. 

Image from Luxury Shoppers 

3. Sheer Black Tights - these are dripping with 80's connotations. For me, that's simply wonderful as I love the 80's, shoulder pads and all. I started wearing 10 denier tights last winter and LOVED it. Coverage without thickness. Think of these tights as your tinted moisturiser as opposed to your foundation. They are great for breaking up an all black outfit and are even better for an alternative take on evening wear. Below, Alexa is sporting a very eye-catching cape worn with a black roll neck, black box bag and black boots. Thick black opaques would have been too dominating with this ensemble but the sheer black tights break up the outfit and create another focal point (her amazing legs) along with the focal point of the cape itself.

Alexa Chung at Tommy Hilfiger Anniversary Party (photo cropped from German Instyle magazine)

4. Grey tights - For some these bring back memories of school tights but the fashion elite have embraced this colour of tight so we fashion underlings are good to go! Below Jenna Lyons (of J Crew awesomeness) is wearing a winter white skirt and top but her jacket is the palest grey. She has pulled this element of grey through her outfit by wearing ribbed grey tights. The whole outfit screams texture: patent shoes, ribbed tights, jersey sweat top and cotton skirt. 

Photo cropped from German Instyle magazine

That's lesson one done from tights-time. Next time we'll be covering brightly coloured tights plus a few hidden extras! For more info visit the UK Tight Blog and 40+ Style which has some fab tips and examples.

Til next time....stay wardrobe happy x

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Things I'm Looking Forward to in #September

Hey there September! My, you came around fast! It's back to school month and the steady slide into the Christmas season has begun! So what has the 9th month of the year got in store for me....
  1. My family is spread from Yorkshire, to North London, to Reading and back around to Hertfordshire so twice a year we have a family day where we meet up, chat and have good times plus loads of food. This year saw my Mum & Dad celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary so they've laid on a tasty spread at the September family day. Cannot wait!
  2. Getting back into the swing of WI (Women's Institute) talks. Got 2 booked this month. Love the vibe of the WI and I love the cake at the end of a meeting.
  3. Going to see Amy Schumer. I'm a huge fan of Tina Fey, Amy Phoeler and Tig Notaro and loved Schumer's Trainwreck film last year. Schumer's comedy is on point about aspects of the female experience - how she feels being "plus sized" in Hollywod (she says her arms register as legs in Tinseltown) and the double standard of men sleeping around vs. women. 
  4. Researching tights. 3 clients in the past week have asked me what tights go with what. Now, as a fan of a bare leg or a thick black tight and nowt in between, this month I am determined to crack the tights 'code'.
  5. Learning to relax.  Blogging, Instagram and outfit posts all took a hit in August. Behind the scenes at Wardrobe Angel I experienced a huge uplift in business: August was fully booked with appointments and it's heading that way into September as well. Being self-employed, you pretty much take the work when it's there but carving out time off can be hard. I was taught the most beautiful, simple action of placing my right hand over my heart and breathing deeply by Katy Garner, a wonderful Yoga coach. That coupled with regular meditation has helped me tremendously with being able to switch off and get a good nights sleep!
I hope you have a cracking September, whatever you are doing.

Til next time....