Just a couple years ago, legwear was considered solely a basic item. But not anymore. Legwear is coming of age in the accessory category, and designers say they expect to see the trend escalate among consumers during the next couple of seasons.
“Look through any high fashion magazine like Vogue or Elle and you’ll see coverage on her legs in both the ads and editorial pages,” says Kayser-Roth’s Jody Eskenazi, designer for HUE and Calvin Klein legwear. “Where for years, you never saw anything on the legs, magazines are showing her wearing tights, wearing sheers, wearing patterns on the leg on every page.” Consumers are embracing the idea of using legwear to accessorize as well as to cover the legs. Manufacturers and retailers who demonstrate how to accessorize with socks and sheers are likely to see their sales rise, say designers.
Color and patterns are key in the accessory trend. Legwear with different patterns and colors can change the way an outfit looks.
“Its like wearing a different pair of earrings or a different necklace,” says Designer Linda Measmer of Wells Hosiery, Asheboro, NC. Dressing the leg with patterned hosiery is an inexpensive and stylish way to accessorize apparel and one that is expected to catch on like wildfire during spring and fall, 2003. Adding a touch of color, trim or pattern to anklets and short socks infuses a fashion element that can be paired with coordinating apparel.
“For so long, it has been about numbers but now everyone feels we need to go back and show fashion in legwear,” says Measmer. “We are beginning to see a lot of patterns. That is a good and affordable way to accessorize our outfits. In this economy, you can afford to buy new hosiery more often than new outfits.” Hosiery designers are jumping on the trend by providing products to adorn the leg and foot in style.
Foot Jewelry Is Fun and Fashionable
For spring and summer, foot tubes area a hot item. Designers are adding a touch of fashion with patterns, designs and colors that peak out of the shoe and can be matched with apparel.
“One thing we are doing in a big way for spring or summer items is foot adornment,” says Kayser-Roth's Eskenazi. “We started with the foot tube which is a very practical thing providing comfort and fashion with a speck of color showing out of the shoe.” “Then, we started making them in different patterns like dots to show outside the shoe.” HUE has tuned into the accessory trend in a big way with what could be called foot jewelry. For spring, 2003, the brand is offering beaded foot straps and Moroccan foot thongs that can be worn with summer shoes like flip flops or alone with bare feet.
The beaded foot strap is a strap adorned with Indian-like beads that straps around the ankle and around the toe. The company also is offering a fringed beaded thong that lays on top of the foot.
For Liz Claiborne, Wells Hosiery is making opaque and sheer tubes that come in bright colors and patterns. Paul Lavitt Mills also is making tubes in different colors and designs.
“They are like a bracelet for the foot,” says Measmer. Wells Hosiery also is making tubes with screen-printing on the bottom that offers non-skid properties in fashionable and fun look.
Wells Hosiery is making yoga socks in bright colors with stripes and patterns as well as traditional blacks and toe socks in both anklet length and tubes that show color and pattern outside the shoe. They come in hot pink, turquoise, limelight and lilac.
“It is all about accessorizing and wearing something that is not mundane,” explains Measmer. “Say you have a pair of black capris and a lime colored shirts, you could wear this with the lime color sticking out of the shoe. Also for spring, open weave anklets pair well with capris as do dressy socks. Patterns will still be important in the sheer category, but they will be in open weaves in anklets, knee-highs and tights.
“Anklets will go well with any type of pants and dress capris,” says Sherri Troup of Paul Lavitt Mills. “Some have a picot top and some have a ruffle edge and would go well with a dressier capri.” Paul Lavitt is making an open fishnet pattern that can be worn alone for spring and summer and worn over an opaque tight for fall and winter. Changing the color of the opaque tight can totally change the look.
On the runways, dressier socks are paired with open toe heels and with shoes not normally worn with socks like open-toe slides, high-heel pumps and sling-back heels and being worn with short skirts and dresses. Designers say they expect the trend to take root in the more fashion-forward areas of the country.
“We have seen a trend with strappy sandals and a soft sock or a sheer anklet of sorts so that the pattern will show through the open part of the shoe,” says Troup. “We have a nylon sock that has a pattern design of diamonds or flowers that can be worn with anything from a dress heel to a pump.”
Socks Accessorize Boots
For fall, boots, which have become almost a mainstay in the American woman’s wardrobe, beg to be accessorized with socks, tights and trouser socks. “The shorter boot looks great with socks peeking out the top showing an interesting pattern, trim or color,” says Denise Yow of Moretz, Inc., Newton, NC. “With the dress boot you need to wear hosiery, and it offers a great opportunity to put color and texture on the leg. “The casual boot needs a sock probably, and this is where you can use a traditional type boot sock or a fashion boot sock. For, fall 2003, you’ll see a lot marls, slubs, nubs in boot socks –like sweaters for the feet. The trend gives smaller retailers an opportunity to merchandise socks and sweaters together. Measmer suggests folding the trouser sock down over the top of the boot. Another area that is lending itself to accessorizing with socks is sports and athletic wear.
“Jogging wear, jackets and pants that match, are coming back, and they can be accessorized with socks that match,” says Carol Schierlmann of Neuville Industries, Hildebran, NC that makes Ked’s socks. “We have seen a lot of people going to white socks with a color trim which is one way of accessorizing with sport attire.”