“A bit tarty,” my friend Jay said, approvingly. She meant black fishnet stockings. She likes them. This from a woman who thinks taupe is an accent colour. Full of surprises, that one. Once, for her birthday, I got a pair of whisper-thin black stockings, black unmentionables and a copy of Fanny Price with a card that said, “Fun not included. Make your own.”
But it just goes to show. You can’t judge a woman by her intimate apparel. My leg fashion either says “A bit tarty” as Jay once suggested, or “Mutton dressed as lamb.” Neither quite describes the real me but I certainly prefer the first suggestion. You see, I, too, really adore fishnets. And textured hose on the whole—from spiderweb to stripes to herringbone to floral. I draw the line at polka dot which makes a woman look like she was attacked by killer mosquitoes and she scratched with a hibiscus twig.
The thing about textured legs is that they teeter a fine line between dramatically stylish and Carnival escapee. Then, all that razzmatazz really needs some long, slender pins to carry it off. Long and slender are two words which have never been used to describe my fabulous anatomy.
But I still get away with the nets. Know how? Because I just strut along as if I were born wearing textured designer diapers. Follow my lead: get that hemline to just a teensy bit above the knee and the shortish legs nature designed for you will look almost modelesque. Although the textured legs thing could go awfully wrong, a bit of camouflage can also be really right. None other than the wrap dress inventor and former German princess by marriage Diane von Furstenberg recommends flesh-coloured fishnets to be worn with glamorous split-up-the-thigh dresses, so the doubtful knees (as my friend Angela Pidduck used to call them) can be repressed into the illusion of being smooth and sleek.
Now, I know nothing about crepey knees. Mine are as youthful as the day I skinned them climbing mango trees in the backyard. (The neck, on the other hand, is the subject of another story for another day, before or after a trip to the Lifestyle Lift people in Miami.)
But I entirely appreciate what Diane is saying. Cross and uncross those knees with elegant abandon; swish those skirts like a flamenco dancer; skip down the stairs without using the handrail (which is the grown-up version of cycling without a helmet); rejoice in that glimpse of thigh. Do the fishnet and no one will notice things have descended a few millimetres south since the last birthday into an untidy puddle at the kneecaps.
A word of caution, though, while fishnets are practically indestructible (another plus!) they can be a challenge to get into when the alarm doesn’t go off. But some minor inconvenience is a woman’s price to be beautiful. Besides, ironing one’s knees is awfully hard on the Electrolux.