For the last few seasons, women of style have limited their legwear to black and cream. Though they may have added brights and prints to their clothes closets, as well as bronze and pewter metallics to their shoe shelves, many women have stayed faithful to neutrals in their hosiery wardrobes.
It has been black opaque pantyhose for fall and winter, while the warm months have found women wearing sheers either black or very pale creamy shades (but never white!). For the sizzling heat of summer, many have opted for bare legs or sheer neutrals that give the effect of a tanned leg.
Come fall, that's going to change.
Black, of course, is not going to go away. But the variety of colored and patterned hosiery and stockings may even tempt the most loyal fans of black to reach for something different.
Among the options down below:
MONOCHROMATIC THEMES: Advocated by designers such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Anne Klein's Louis Dell'Olio are colored hose that exactly match the color of the clothes.
SHINE: Parisian Karl Lagerfeld introduced a "Goldfinger jersey" in nylon/Lycra gold or silver, using it in leggings, bodysuits and catsuits ($310 to $575). Shown under everything from daytime jackets to transparent evening chiffons, Lagerfeld's metallics will certainly inspire legwear manufacturers to come up with shimmery imitations at a fraction of the originals. Donna Karan showed golden hose with many of her short skirts.
PATTERNS: Fishnets are returning, so are dark sheers sporting discreet or lively patterns. Geoffrey Beene favored subtle dots, Randolph Duke liked herringbone effects and, unfortunately, Bill Blass tried to revive black lace and also showed leopard-spotted hose (even perfect legs suffer in these looks).
ON THE WILD SIDE: Perhaps inspired by the popularity of op-art, floral and Pucci-patterned leggings and tights, designers have added assorted paisleys, scrolls and even plaid hose. But just as wearing bicycle shorts on city streets calls for chutzpah and a model-thin figure, wearing bold legwear of any sort demands both the figure and the daring as well as a large measure of confidence.
FUNKY FUN STUFF: Colorful thick stockings rolled to just above the knees (worn over solid pantyhose); the ultimate in offbeat legwear the all-in-one combination of stretch velvet pantyhose/shoes designed by Dell'Olio. The questions they've aroused: Are they sized to fit the feet or the hips? When they're in need of repair, do they go to the shoemaker or the dry cleaner?