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A Vogue Writer’s Case for Bare Legs
The weather is turning colder here in New York City, and yet I’m not quite ready to admit it’s tights season. Blame it on too many late-night reruns of Sex and the City, but if there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it’s as Carrie Bradshaw once said: “In autumn, New Yorkers treat every nice day as if it could be their last.” I was one foot out the door and 10 minutes behind schedule when I realized I’d better check the weather. (I’ve lost one too many pairs of suede shoes to unanticipated downpours.) Much to my surprise and delight on this early November morning, the city’s forecast called for clear skies and sunshine—peaking in the 70s. It was at that moment that I stepped out of my conservative midi and into a thigh-grazing Jill Stuart miniskirt, tossed my tights onto the bed, and never looked back.
It wasn’t long before I discovered I wasn’t the only one trying to squeeze a few more weeks of bare legs out of fall. Dotting the halls of the Vogue offices at One World Trade Center, women were showing off their stems in every form, from flouncy feminine dresses to short and snappy denim minis. As it turned out, the comparably little amount of fabric—paired with cozy cashmere and ankle boots sans heel—made all the difference, taking my outfit to a sexier, though still office-appropriate, place.
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Really, it’s no surprise I’ve got miniskirts on my mind. Winter may be on the horizon, but I’m already looking ahead to the Spring 2016 runways for #OOTD inspiration: patent leather racer stripes at Prada, A-line sporty shifts at Carven, and, at the top of my list, J.W.Anderson’s flared fluid-printed minis. (I’m impatiently refreshing Moda Operandi’s homepage hoping for a trunk show to appear.)
But what about the impending drop in temperature? Is it arguably appropriate, if not borderline insane, to go bare-legged in subzero temps? It’s true that there’s a time and place for everything, and fair enough, sky-high hemlines to ring in the New Year can tend toward the aggressively wanton. Still, on my 5-foot-11 frame, a mini that hits a good 7 inches above the knee raises the question: “How short is too short?” (I’m going for revealing, not the big reveal.) For this particular sartorial how-to, I defer back to my high school days, where the general rule of thumb was if you dropped your arms by your sides and touched skin, it was a fail. These days, with no threat of a reprimanding principal to send me home for breaking dress code, I’m making my own rules:
1. If you go short, so should your heel. A ballerina, brogue, or boot keeps an outfit elevated without compromising comfort. A little lift is not off limits, so long as it’s sensible. A couple inches is plenty to carry a look from day to night.
2. Unless you’re heading out to the club, cover up on top. Keep it simple in a tee or turtleneck, or try a micro-printed pussy-bow blouse.
3. As temperatures dip—drastically!—layer up for added warmth. Consider a duster coat à la Chloé Fall 2015 as your personal armor to brave whatever vortex lies ahead.
I’m not suggesting baring all is for everyone, but if you’re so inclined and if you err on the side of caution (please, no strappy stilettos!), you’re in the cool with legs for days. Pair with a chunky knit, tailored coat, and suede knee-highs for a look that’s Ali MacGraw meets Françoise Hardy—and absolutely winter-wonderful.
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