Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ask the Bitches: Hose Off, Eh?


In a recent e-mail, Miss La Diva Cucina asked the Bitches a question, thus offering us the perfect segue into our new blog segment entitled "Ask the Bitches." Thanks, Miss La Diva, for giving us a perfect opening.

Miss La Diva asks,

Are nylons out of style? I've not worn them in years because I live in very humid and tropical places where they are too hot but what about in places like Chicago? I thought Michelle Obama was crazy to have bare legs in the middle of winter when she was walking in the parade . . .

I used to wear tights all the time with skirts and boots but haven't worn nylons for years. I'm curious about this as I've not lived in any cold climates for 16 years but when I see these girls walking out in the middle of winter with bare legs and sandals, I think they are nuts. Why can't one be fashionable AND warm?


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PIRATE:

Thanks for your question! I love questions! I also have to expose the following facts about myself before I start in with my own personal opinions about the hoses (because we "bitches" are not experts – see disclaimer – but we are opinionated). The facts are relevant to my opinion, I promise.

Fact 1: I live in the desert, and it's just not very cold here ever. When I lived in the UK, I was constantly cold. Here, however, temperature is not so much of an issue.

Fact 2: I train a lot, so my legs have a good shape and don't need extra support – yet. They also get a certain amount of color from being outside, though I do tend to get a lot of odd tan lines. Biker tan may be sexy to the biker set, but it might not be quite so sexy to the fashion set.

Disclaimer #35: this is not the Pirate's Sock Tan. Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

Fact 3: I give way more of a shit about what other bikers think of my legs than what the fashion set thinks about my legs (I know, cyclists are weird). My sock tan is a badge of honor in my social circle, along with the road rash on my shoulder, and my Neapolitan* leg color. I worked hard to earn those things, I don't mind showing them off (at bike races, the depth of your tan is one thing that shows your competition just how hard you've been training).

Fact 4: I'm old and I don't care.

*Neapolitan legs is what happens when you have bike shorts that are different lengths, and you end up getting sunburned on a bike ride – so you have the pale "vanilla" skin at the very top of the leg, followed by a darker brown "chocolate" in the middle from riding all summer, followed by the "strawberry" sunburn at the bottom. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


I'm in two minds about hoses myself, and my minds are pretty much split evenly between winter and summer.

During summer, slippery nylon (which smells bad and cuts off my middle in unattractive ways) would drive me insane. Is it just me, or do hose just make you feel like a 40 pound sausage in a 5 lb skin? I've tried some really pricey ones (DKNY comes to mind). They shredded just as fast as the cheap ones and did nothing for me except give me a uni-butt and a damned muffin top.

It gets hot here (see Fact 1), and the extra layer would do nothing for me aesthetically, except make me smell bad and maybe even out my sock tan (see Facts 2, 3, 4). I never wear anything short enough to reveal the Neapolitan tan disaster of my upper leg, so they don't help me there. My legs, though they are old, have a great shape from the upper leg down. Even if they didn't, I'm not convinced that hoses would do anything to add value for me (see Fact 4).

The winter season is different. You're likely to catch me wearing these all season:


Fashion-wise, some winter outfits do look odd with just bare legs, so then I'd say an opaque or textured tight, for effect, are good options. For example, I have an awesome kilt that looks good with textured tights. I also like certain skirts with tights and boots. Personally, I'd pick something not too dark (that dark dark black look is no longer a good look), maybe a color I could match somewhere else up top, and go with it.

Overall, I think the bare nekkid leg is more attractive than one that is encased in nylon - unless your legs are translucent and blue, and blue is not your color. I would also caveat by saying if your concerns are different from mine, then all bets are off. Michelle Obama has awesome legs, and she's worked hard for them. She also has a beautiful natural color – she went with what nature gave her, and it worked!

Also, I'm betting she had down-filled underpants on, to compensate for the DC chill . . .

Moi?

MOI:

Well, La Diva, if nylons aren't out of style they should be. Too dark. Too light. Too shiny. Too matte. They never end up looking quite right. (Although, I do make an exception for luxe silk stockings clipped to garter belts over pretty panties. But not in public.)

Here are my DOs for public:

In summer during the day: Bare legs. If one doesn’t have the legs to go bare, then wear pants.
In summer during the evening: Bare legs or fish net stockings.

In winter during the day: Opaque or textured tights, black or colored* (trust us, tights do feel different against the skin than nylon.)
In winter during the evening: Opaque black tights or fish net stockings.

* Don't be afraid of color on your legs. On the recent Project Runway All Stars show, Chris March sent some gawjuhs plaid outfits punctuated by colored tights down the runway.


Of course, it's possible to be fashionable and warm at the same time. Nothing wrong with living La Vida Loca in pants for half the year. Those who must– or like to – wear dresses in winter, are going to have to put up with the cold. But that's what central heating is for.

What about leggings? Usually, I'm of the opinion that nothing broadcasts, “I Give UP” louder than a sweat shirt and a pair of leggings worn as every day wear. Exercise in them, clean house in them, hell, sleep in them if you happen to live in Alaska, but otherwise, my opinion on leggings has always been a resounding nyet.

Today, I'm not so Draconian. If done correctly, leggings are a great way to turn a potentially hoochie mama mini dress or tunic into something fun, funky, and exceptionally wearable. Some of them are even weighty enough to substitute for skinny jeans. It’s all in how you do it. BCBG's recent Fall 2009 collection is spot on about how to do this look correctly.

So toss those nylons, ladies, toss them! Well, keep one or two for this nifty trick. Ever get that white, powdery deodorant residue on your clothing? Just rub a scrunched up pair of nylons with a vigorous but light touch over the stain, and out it goes!

PIRATE:

What Moi said. I love that picture of my dear friend Madge – very much in keeping with my hose sensibilities.

Also, I imagine my husband would completely agree with you on the stockings and garters thing, though I have not tried this myself.

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Remember, you too can ask the Bitches a question about anything fashion related, snark related, or otherwise. We'll do our best to make up some shit in response.

10 comments:

Wendy said...

I LOVE this post. I feel I have to wear hose, being that my biggest flaw is my chubby little legs, but I do get that sausage-encased feeling that's oh-so unattractive and uncomfortable. I'm thinking of discontinuing buying those expensive (alleged) cellulite-reducing control-tops and saving for liposuction instead. Or maybe I'll sue my parents for gifting me with cankles.

LaDivaCucina said...

Moi and Pirate, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

First of all: Neapolitan legs! Bwwahhahahaaaha! Lurve it!

Secondly, I too used to wear the DKNY nylons and might just have a few pair still lingering in my drawer. (you don't get muffin top if you pull 'em up to your bra! haha!)

Last winter, I had a friend here in Miami that told me she's packing for a cruise and needed to go to Macy's to get some nylons. I was like: HUH? I thought that rather old-fashioned and hence began to think of this!

I agree with you 100% Moi. Nylons these days seems so "old lady" and corporate...(go to Target and look for nylons, I don't think they even sell them anymore!) Tights are the go. I think the textured ones are divine and even I have been seen wearing a fishnet over a colored tight (a few years back on a cold day....)

I'll never forget seeing Japanese girls in sydney wearing white nylons back in the 90's! *shudder* now, dat's some scary shit! However, no matter what, I would never wear bare legs in Chicago or anywhere else that is freezing, that's just wrong.

My fave leg covering: self tanner! yay! Thanks ladies, you don't disappoint! x

Boxer said...

bwahahah to Wendy's "cankles."

I have questions for the Bitches and look forward to:

"We'll do our best to make up some shit in response."

moi said...

Wendy: Think of how much $$$ you'd have left over for shoes or a vintage bag if you just said no to the hose!

La Diva: Ooooo . . . fishnets OVER a colored tight. Hadn't thought of that. And when it comes to fashion and the Japanese? That's a sociological dissertation waiting to happen right there.

Boxer: Stay tuned. We got a lot of opinions.

K9 said...

what moi neglected to tell you is chris march used bozo the clown's hair extensions on those outfits to match the tights.

nothings more terrifying than seeing a lady come out of some panty hose like the explosion of mt pinatubo. like a damn lava flow. take off the hose, the weaves, the press on nails, the eyelashes, the make up, the wonder bra and what do you have? phillip seymour hoffman.

oh. and i was just asked for a word verification. well, thats all from this dog after this until the policy changes!

moi said...

take off the hose, the weaves, the press on nails, the eyelashes, the make up, the wonder bra and what do you have? phillip seymour hoffman.

And that comment right there is why we're taking word verification off. Just for your particular snark.

Aunty Belle said...

Heh. Aunty always wondered what long legged life would be like...le sigh.

So HECK YEAH I wears tights in the winter--same color as mah shoes--tryin' to git that long line monochrome thang goin'. AN' dark stockings under suits so mah white laigs ain't so starkly bare. ( joke: how does ya tell a Floridian from a tourist? The tourist has a tan, the rest of us is workin under florescent light 10 hours a day)

In summer days I doan never wear no hose no more.

Fer dressy summer night shindigs I wears stockings. Onc't I had a killer pair of FOGALs black, sheer---wif' a black Venetian mask on one ankle...lemme tell ya' the menfolks loved that.

hoo-whee! I can comment again.

Aunty Belle said...

OK--looked at the link on BCBG an' I will say fer ya'll wif long laigs, I think a short tunic over leggings is a dynamite look, but please, no shirt tucked INTO the leggings.

moi said...

Good point, Aunty, on the long line achieved by hose matching shoes. And I nearly spit my coffee out at the shirt tucked into leggings comment. That's all kinds of just wrong.

K9 said...

thanks for taking word veri off.

ive seen a woman come out of the bathroom with her dress tucked into tights....it was corrected as i was getting up to save the day.

i love black tights with boots and a dress. i have a couple of mod tights too that remind me of mary quant style.

nope! word veri is STILL THERE