07 November, 2014 / General

Dresses are the thing! (plus my love affair with tights)…

dressI was packing for a weekend jaunt to Liverpool last night when it hit me… just take dresses. I LOVE dresses. I especially love them in winter when you can wear them with chunky cardis and – best of all – thick black opaque tights.

Was there ever a cleverer fashion invention, apart from shoes and the bra? Imagine flicking through a fashion magazine and reading this startling announcement: ‘Pretty soon, a new kind of hosiery will be invented which will have an intently cheering effect. If your legs are feeling a bit chunky, they’ll seem perfectly un-chunky once you pull these babies on. They are instantly slimming and miraculously flattering. If you’re as hairy limbed as Corsican boar, no matter – nothing¬†manages to poke its way through 50 dernier nylon. And if your legs are merely pallid of hue (as mine are – ie, not merely white but verging on blue, like the lights they have in those mysterious Turkish social clubs named after football teams), it doesn’t matter a jot because everything will be blacked out, black as can be. Veiny bits, weird bruises and knobbly knees: all blacked out.

If I’d read that back in the late 70s I’d have been very pleased indeed. ¬†In fact, as far as I can recall, we had to wait until the mid-’80s for proper sturdy opaques to appear. I certainly remember the fashion department becoming quite dizzy with excitement over Wolfords – Fashion Ed Karen’s preferred brand – when I worked at Just Seventeen. Soon, the entire staff’s legs were encased in thick, matt black nylon (apart from Andrew’s, Andre’s and Scoffer’s – ie the lads. But I saw them them glancing over, jealously). I do always go for black, although more adventurous friends sometimes step out in teal, plum – even red. They look very bold and dashing. They’re just not quite my style.

Anyway, I started off intending to write about dresses, and how great they are because they remove a tiresome step in the decision-making process: ie, what goes with what. I’ve never been terribly good at putting things together, and a dress means you don’t have to bother with any of that. The dress above is my current favourite: Hobbs, but from a charity shop. Can I just add how delightful it is when you see something you love in Oxfam, and it fits perfectly? I mean the odds are pretty low really. So it’s far more satisfying than just wandering into a high street store and selecting your size off the rail.

In fact, it’s as pleasing as the first day of Tights Season. I have never understood the appeal of blamming wildlife with a big gun – but I’d imagine that those who enjoy it experience a similar thrill when the grouse season starts. But never mind that. We are now in the thick of opaques season which, in our chilly northern climate, can easily stretch to about nine tenths of the year. Hurrah for tights!



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