Kaitlin threw this doozy into the suggestion box:
Knee socks and leg warmers!!! I love them, but how to wear them? They’re great casually, but I’d like to figure out how to work them a little more professionally–can I? I like them with tights or leggings, but then they tend to make my legs look really weird.
And let me tell you, friends, I had to scour the archives to find an outfit in which I’d utilized knee socks. I also unearthed this one, which is pretty similar to the above, and this one which I feel juuuust misses the mark. All this to say that I don’t consider myself a bona-fide expert on knee socks OR legwarmers, and hope you can all chime in with your own suggestions.
I’ll get the ball rolling.
Can knee socks and legwarmers look professional?
Well, that depends. If you’re working as a VP in a corporate office, probably not. If you’re working as a VP at an ad agency, maybe. Kaitlin is already doing her knee socks with tights and leggings, which I think is a good bet for making them appear a bit more sophisticated. When incorporated into a mix of hosiery, these pieces seem like finishing touches rather than afterthoughts. Dark, dusty colors will likely feel more office appropriate than brights, metallics, neons, or prints.
How should they be styled?
In my biased opinion? Knee socks look great worn over a pair of tights or leggings (as we just discussed) and under a pair of boots. I like to let mine just peek out the top of a pair of tall boots, and scrunch them a little for a casual-chic vibe. I can’t say I’m fond of the pulled-up-knee-socks with non-boots look myself, as I think it reads a bit schoolgirl and/or soccer player. If you’re either of those things, go for it. If you’re trying to get a more grown-up look, try boots instead.
I generally prefer to do knee socks just below my knee cap or grazing it, paired with boots that hit an inch or two below. I’ve also done scrunched knee socks with calf-high boots, but that tends to cut my calf at its widest point, making it look even wider. Adding socks to the leg-boot equation can monkey with your proportions, so if you try it and it looks off, try some adjustments: Scrunch the socks lower or pull them higher, add a low-contrast tight underneath, try a higher or lower shaft boot. Play around until you hit on a combo that works. It’s all gonna depend on your proportions and figure flattery priorities.
Leg warmers are pretty foreign to me. I bought a pair on a whim, thinking I’d wear them with a specific pair of shoes, but just never did. They’re languishing in a drawer somewhere. I did, however, come across a photo of leg warmers that I thought were styled well on the MaxStudio website.
Of course, this gal is a model so virtually everything will look amazing on her. But note: It’s a monochrome look, with black leggings layered over black tights for a nice, long leg line. Her fingerless gloves mirror the scrunched leg warmers. Can’t say as I think this would fly at the average office, but for Casual Friday or weekend wear? Why not?
How should they fit?
On models, knee socks and leg warmers always seem to slouch into loose, rumpled perfection. I’ve got 14″ calves and most knee socks pinch the crap out of me. My solution? Lop off the sleeves of ruined or thrifted sweaters, tuck them into my boots with the cuff side peeking out, and pretend. Socks aren’t generally sized, but sweaters are. If you have trouble fitting actual socks or legwarmers, DIY your own!
Where can I buy them?
Sock Dreams is always a favorite and carries a fairly wide range of sizes, but I’ve gotten the majority of my knee socks at good ol’ Target. Amazon is another good bet. Or you could always join Ravelry and learn to knit/crochet your own.
And that, my lovelies, is the extent of my woefully small knowledge of leg warmers and knee socks. So I’m turning this one over to you: Do you wear them? How do you style them? Any photo examples you can share, either of yourself or someone you believe did a bang-up job of styling these pieces? Tell us in the comments!
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