Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: What About Pantyhose?

when to wear pantyhose

Reader Natalie sent me this question:

I’m a bit unsure about legwear – not tights, but stockings. As a kid, my mom and grandmother taught me never to go out in a dress without them. It isn’t proper. As an adult, I am noticing that the rules for legwear aren’t as clear cut anymore. I have been challenging myself to reflect on how I feel about stockings. My feelings are mixed. I’m worried that I either look unprofessional without them, or dated and old with them. Are there any rules on how to wear stockings? How can I make them look young and fun, rather than old and dowdy?

I could’ve sworn I’ve written about this topic before, but can’t find any posts that specifically address the question of pantyhose. So. Let do this.

Bottom line: If you feel more comfortable wearing nude nylons, then by all means do so. As you may have heard, the Middleton ladies wear them frequently, and both are current style icons. Plus I know lawyers are generally required to wear them in court. Hose have come a long way over the years, and today’s nudes can really disappear against your skin. If you wear them, try to find a high-quality pair/brand that works with your specific skin tone.

Now. In my opinion, wearing pantyhose with a casual sundress and sandals may look a little awkward. Wearing pantyhose to a business casual office might seem like overkill. And nowadays most women do bare legs in summer, tights in winter, and hose only for very specific occasions. (Here in the States, anyway.) Nylons are, to some extent, representative of an bygone era and wearing them may date you. Especially if they’re obvious and/or worn in a casual context.

I’m not gonna hand down any rules for the wearing of pantyhose because I don’t really dig rules. This is a question that many women feel very strongly about on both sides, and there’s room in the world for nylon-wearers and nylon-shunners. Some women may prefer to do hose because of scarring or discoloration in their legs, to add color without tanning (fake or otherwise), or because they just feel more pulled-together with them on. Others love tights – and wear sheer patterned tights for transitional seasons – but see hose as a thing of the past. Wherever you fall, you’ll have supporters and naysayers. So you must decide for yourself.

Over to you: What are your thoughts on nylons/pantyhose? Always? Never? Only for formal occasions?

Images courtesy Kohl’s

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Reader Request: Remixing Distinctive pieces

remixing

Reader Darby emailed me this question:

I have a little black dress that I love. It fits me just right and is very flattering. My conundrum is, it has quite a distinctive cut-out neckline that I find limits how often I feel like I can wear it. Do you have any ideas of different ways to restyle a distinctive dress for party season so that it looks different each time?

In an ideal world, wearing the same things over and over would be a praiseworthy practice. And in daily life it often is, especially now that we’re learning more about the impact of fast fashion and valuing creative remixing. But when it comes to holiday parties, many people feel odd about doing the same outfit or dress for the entire season. And like Darby, I’m betting some of you have a dynamite dress/top/necklace that you’d like to wear to every fête and festival, but would like it to look different each time. Hopefully, I have some tips and tricks that will work for you, too.

Layer

The more elements to an outfit, the less obvious it becomes that one is being worn on repeat. If you’ve got a boldly patterned blouse you want to keep in constant rotation wear it under a sweater, with a blazer or jacket, under a sleeveless dress, with a variety of cardigans. In Darby’s case, adding a dressy jacket or bolero that doesn’t totally block the distinctive neckline could work, as could adding a shawl with metallic thread or a gorgeous pattern.

Draw focus elsewhere

This kinda defeats the purpose of having an item that’s eye-catching and unique, but goes toward getting gobs more use out of it. Say you’ve bought a sequined skirt that you want to wear to four parties in a row. For the first, let the skirt be in the spotlight. For the second, wear with a bold-colored, but solid top. For the third, do a subdued palette and giant, sparkly earrings or a statement necklace (if it doesn’t feel like sparkle overkill). For the fourth, add a dressy printed scarf to the mix. For Darby’s LBD, she could do a bright red belt or phenomenal shoes, though necklaces and scarves would help her distract from the dress’s defining feature, too.

Vary your hair and makeup

We’ve touched on accessories a bit already, but other finishing touches like hair and makeup can really transform how an item or outfit looks. That tuxedo jacket you love? Try it with an updo and red lips, then hair down with neutral lips. It’ll probably look completely different because you do. If you’re into colorful eyeshadows or interesting hair accessories, those can help you create varied looks, too. This is the most subtle of the three options, so you might want to do this AND one of the other two.

And, of course, there’s always the “don’t worry about it” option. Honestly, anyone who cares about seeing the same party dress twice within a season should really get a hobby. Guys can wear the same suit every time, and there’s really no rule saying we can’t wear the same dress/suit/pants every time, too, if we want to.

Any of you looking for ways to rework and remix distinctive items, for parties or everyday life? Will any of these suggestions work for you? Others to add?

Image via The Outnet

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Reader Request: Low-vamp Shoes with Skinnies

flats and skinnies in winter

Reader Amelia left this question in a comment:

How on earth do I wear flats/Mary Janes and socks with skinny pants/jeans? Every style image I see of that combo involves no socks or boots. Sometimes I don’t want to wear boots (think fall or spring) but it’s too cold to not wear socks. How do I do it?

In my opinion, this question extends to all low-vamp footwear and all ankle-length pant styles. The real issue is covering the bridge of the foot and keeping it warm. So. Quick answer: I don’t know. This combination stymies me, too, and I can’t say that I’ve found a solution I feel is both aesthetically pleasing and practical. So I’ll throw out a few suggestions and work-arounds, and rely on you to offer your input in the comments!

Nude fishnets or nylons

This is the solution that most folks offer, and it has some merit. The idea is to give your feet a bit of coverage but perpetuate the illusion of no socks/hose. But even close-woven microfishnets don’t actually create much of a barrier between foot and elements. Nude-to-your-skin knee-high trouser socks are probably the easiest and warmest solution.

Foot liners or Key Socks

Neither of these solutions actually gives you full foot coverage, but you do get some padding and warmth for your footbed. Liners come in all colors, materials, and fabrics but they tend to peek out from most flats and heels. Key Socks are basically foot liners with part of a trouser sock attached at the top, leaving the bridge of your foot exposed. So, ya know, only slightly helpful.

Funky socks

I have a hard enough time working tights (and therefore colored legs) into my outfit equations, so I’ve never even dabbled in funky socks. But if your outfit is more casual, you can certainly let a cool striped pattern peek out from your Mary Janes or flats. So long as your feet fit and you won’t stretch the shoes too much.

Ankle boots

Yep, we’ve already arrived at alternatives. I’m happy to wear tights with my flats, Mary Janes, and heels all winter long because they offer uninterrupted coverage from knee to toe. But I just don’t do the skinny/ankle pant and low-vamp shoe combo once it gets cold out. Instead, I opt for higher-vamp shoes like ankle boots, which cover the foot up to a much higher point and can be tucked under pant hems or worn with cuffed skinnies and thick socks hidden underneath.

See what I’m saying? Nothing earth-shattering or truly elegant here. So, my dears, help us all out! Do YOU have the magic solution to wearing low-vamp shoes and ankle-length pants in cold weather? Any other suggestions besides these? Let us know in the comments.

Images courtesy Nordstrom (left) and Banana Republic (right)

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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