Over-the-knee socks are IN again this fall. They can be very calf-flattering if you know how to pull them off.
While over-the-knee socks are usually associated with teenage girls, they actually can work for different age groups if incorporated appropriately. The three photos of me displayed above demonstrate how to style them for a teenager, a college student, and an adult woman, respectively. As you probably can tell, the first two photos were taken in the past, but the two ensembles are so classic and timeless that they would still look cute on today's high-school and college girls.
Let's look at a larger version of the three photos before discussing them one by one.
Isn't the first photo reminiscent of the movie Clueless? According to Seventeen magazine, Clueless-inspired outfits are among the hottest back-to-school trends this fall. However, not all of Cher Horowitz's wardrobe staples can flatter every girl, even though they are all without midriff baring, all in about mid-thigh length (NO micro miniskirts), and all more modest than later schoolgirl outfits following Britney Spears in the music video "Hit Me Baby One more Time." To body-conscious teens, those white over-the-knee socks in Clueless may cause concerns. It's better to only copy black over-the-knee socks from the movie for their leg-slimming effect.
The combination of a plaid miniskirt, over-the-knee socks and Mary-Jane shoes would still appear adorable on some baby-faced college students. But to look more collegiate than girlie, you probably would rather pair your over-the-knee socks with shorts and sneakers. This agile style certainly can work for high-school girls as well. The only difference is, college students, being more academically driven, may leave shortie shorts behind and pick a slightly longer pair (between micro and mid-thigh, like mine shown above) for going to class. In the meantime, wedge sneakers are a cool choice for both age groups, but it's important to select a pair WITHOUT highrise panels.
The high-school student in the before and after pictures above is 5'6" (taller than the 5'4" average height of American women), with relatively long and lean legs. The before picture doesn't do her justice because the highrise panels of the wedge sneakers optically truncate her lower calves, making them look shorter than they are.
Booties would also wrap around your ankles, but V-cut booties go very well with over-the-knee socks by elongating the front side of the ankles.
By matching over-the-knee socks with V-cut booties and a skirt around mid-thigh length in any color or any print but plaid, you will look grown-up. Although this ensemble still appears youthful, it's nothing juvenile. It would best suit women from mid 20s to mid 30s. Katie Perry, for instance, is a celebrity in this age range who looks younger than usual but doesn't seem to be trying too hard when wearing over-the-knee socks. The only problem is: she paired the socks with the wrong booties, which optically shortened her legs like the way highrise sneakers do. Had she picked V-cut booties, Joan Rivers probably wouldn't have called the look "unflattering" on Fashion Police.
The booties must be V-cut if you pair them with over-the-knee socks. Take a look below, and you'll realize that even a runway model would wear her over-the-knee socks with V-cut booties to get the ankle-extending effect (I'll explain how this effect works in my November boots series). How could anyone else not? By the way, I got this photo from the 2013 Santana Row Fall Fashion Shows.
Over-the-knee socks generally belong to casual wear, but they can be incorporated into work outfits, too. In fact, I often saw Japanese women wear black knee socks and pumps with their suits when I had a one-month stay in Tokyo in 2009 (knee socks, either below or over the knees, seem to always stay on trend in Japan). The photo below shows one of those Japanese ladies on the street.
It's smart of this Japanese lady to wear black over-the-knee socks because she actually has proportionally thick calves for her thin body (you'll see if you look at the photo closely). The disproportionate thickness is not apparent because the black color of the socks is slimming and their over-the-knee style elongates her calves by drawing attention up.
Compared with another Japanese lady in a similar build, the Japanese lady in black is shorter but seems to have longer calves thanks to the over-the-knee socks.
By now you've seen how over-the-knee socks flatter calves in all lengths. No matter you are as petite as the Japanese lady in black, as tall as the runway model, or somewhere in between like me, you should give over-the-knee socks a try.
If you are over 30 and look your age, you can still pair over-the-knee socks with shorts, just not shortie shorts. Mid-thigh shorts will be more age-appropriate. I mean, you could show off your workout results in shorter shorts without over-the-knee socks, but when you have over-the-knee socks on, it's wiser to balance their youthfulness with more mature-looking mid-thigh shorts. Better yet, go for a glamorous Kate Middleton look by adding on a ladylike hat. This sophisticated style will work beautifully for you now and perhaps years later, too, as long as your exposed lower thighs stay toned.
Over-the-knee socks are not only flattering but also practical this time of year. They can keep your legs warm in the fall when you put an autumn jacket over your summer dress or shorts.
I'll talk more about trasitional fall layering in my next post. See you next week!
About the Blog
Flatter Your Figure is a weekly blog on www.crystaltai.com about how to make the latest fashion work for real women of different body types. It presents a new post every Wednesday or Thursday.