Thursday 23 November 2017

Would you ever dare to bare your legs this winter?

It's the ultimate power look: It may be cold outside, but New York's no-tights trend has definitely arrived on our shores. Deirdre Reynolds investigates

Suzanne Jackson in New York
Suzanne Jackson in New York
Alexa Chung
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian arrive to Soho House New York
Marianne Murphy
Eva Longoria
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

Are you brave enough to bin your black tights this winter?

As the no-tights trend drifts across the Atlantic, fashion experts here are forecasting a big freeze this party season.

Speaking at Web Summit 2014 in Dublin last week, indeed actress Eva Longoria appeared to have forgotten to pack her opaques. And now Irish fans are expected to follow in her footsteps by embracing the bare-legged look.

"Like most Irish women, normally I can't wait to get into my black tights for winter," says personal shopper Marietta Doran.

"Recently though, I wore a gold dress with bare legs while hosting a fashion show and, in a sea of black tights, I must admit I felt much more powerful and sexy.

"Black tights are the fashion equivalent of hibernating for winter," she adds. "Over the past few years though, they've become such a wardrobe staple that we've all ended up looking the same, so I'm actually delighted to see a shift back towards bare legs this season."

With taste-making attendees including American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and British fashion designer Stella McCartney, there wasn't a pair of opaques in sight at the 11th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards in New York last week.

"Bare legs in winter is the understated power look," says Plum Sykes, a fashion writer for Vogue, which has been at the heart of the anti-hosiery revolution.

"It's very glamorous to reveal skin in winter that isn't pale or dry. It's a look that says: 'I've got a driver, a fabulous leg-waxer and a year-round tan'."

Certainly you didn't hear Jennifer Aniston grumbling about goosebumps when she got her pins out for the world premiere of her new movie Cake in chilly Toronto.

Here at home, fashion blogger Suzanne Jackson, who's just launched her second book SoSueMe - What Happened Next, says she's happy to 'pin and bare it' this winter too.

"Black tights are great for wearing to the office, but you wouldn't catch me dead in them at the weekend," she says.

"Girls work so hard in the gym to get their legs in shape, as well as waxing and tanning, that it seems like a shame to cover them up just because the temperature drops.

"Apart from anything else, you're not worried about getting a ladder in your tights!"

As black tights go bye-bye, more and more women here are turning to cosmetic treatments for sexier stems ahead of the festive season, according to one Dublin clinic.

"Obviously, the key to shapely pins is a healthy diet and good exercise regime," says nurse Aisling Cleary of River Medical on Lower Baggot Street.

"With the bare leg look making a comeback this winter however, there are also lots of other things that women can do to help improve the appearance of their legs. "Lipomassage, a non-invasive body-sculpting treatment proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and laser-hair removal, which prevents the need for waxing or shaving by removing hair permanently, are two of our most popular treatments among female clients.

"At home, regular exfoliating and body-brushing is a must."

Tanning, too, is imperative to avoid pasty pins this party season, advises Cocoa Brown founder Marissa Carter: "When you're applying self-tan to your legs at home, always use a mitt.

"Start from your thighs and work your way down, avoiding the knees and feet. When you're done, use the leftover product on the mitt to tan your knees and feet, which only need the tiniest amount as the skin is thinner.

"Once your legs are bronzed, use a body moisturiser with illuminator to bounce light off any imperfections," she adds.

Of course, you could always just fake the naked leg look, like the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, who loves short hemlines teamed with sheer tights.

US designer Diane von Fürstenberg has also confessed to wearing very fine flesh-coloured fishnets to streamline and smooth her legs invisibly.

"Nude tights have definitely become a lot more popular with our younger customers," says Marianne Murphy of "On the social scene however, bare legs still rule among twenty-somethings."

"When it comes to hosiery, Irish women are still fairly conservative, and black tights will always be a wardrobe staple," she adds. "For those who don't want to go bare-legged this season though, I'd suggest stepping away from the opaques once a week, and adding personality to their look with fashion tights instead.

"Patterned sheers, mock knee-highs and even novelty Christmas tights are among our best-selling products for winter."

For those who are planning to dip an unstockinged toe in the trend this winter, between the latest midi-length styles and ankle boots, the amount of flesh on show is likely to be mere inches anyway.

"Victoria Beckham is probably the person who started the trend for midi dresses," says Jackie Kelly, fashion buying director for Heatons, which has just launched its new online store.

"Most of the dresses in our new collection are calf-length."

"If the bare leg trend is in, then longer styles make it more accessible to women of all ages because it still looks classy."

Jennifer Aniston is the proud owner of Hollywood's best legs, according to website Hollyscoop at least, and she has revealed the simple secret to perfect pins this winter, saying it's all about: "High heels."

"I love the way my calves and legs look in heels," explained the 45-year-old. "Even when I'm barefoot and trying on an outfit, I'm constantly standing on my toes."

Cork-based stylist Sharon Huggard agrees: "If you're planning to get your pins out this winter, nude tights like Kate Middleton's are a girl's best friend. That - and the highest heels you can manage!"

Irish Independent

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