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The first sign of a tights fall

If Cara Delevingne needs to reach for the nylons then it must be autumn. 

If the first drizzly whimpers of autumn didn’t do it, then Cara D’s legs surely did. Out last Tuesday to celebrate her friend Rihanna’s new collection for River Island, Cara wore her loud yellow shirt-dress with tights. They were fashionably laddered, but still, the signal was clear: hosiery season had officially begun.

Of course, not every leg is complying. Hosiery rules are tribal; for every woman who breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of Cara’s covered pins, there was another who battened down the hatches and continued to flash bare legs in the driving rain. And for some of them, the stubbornness will continue until December or when their extremities go blue (whichever comes first).

But there are those of us who are clamouring for tights by late August, when images of new-season winter coats start to dominate the fashion press. Last Sunday, I slid into tights while my boyfriend went for shorts and flip-flops. I was vindicated by the chilly afternoon downpour and that was all the evidence I needed: on Monday morning I wrapped up. After work, I went to Boots to bulk-buy 70 denier.

Colleagues are braver, or more stubborn. One is carrying an emergency pair — though so far she hasn’t worn them. Another was ashamed when she cracked last Thursday, although she attributes her weak will to wearing a short skirt (another advantage: tights allow you to play faster and looser with hemlines).

For another, things are clearer: “Returning from summer holidays signals the start of autumn — even if the weather is nice. And it’s a perfect excuse to go buy yourself a pair of luxurious winter woollens.” However, a bold colleague called for quiet so she could declare her intention for a no-tights winter.

While opting out is definitive, opting in is only the beginning. Like any divisive trend there are rules within rules: woollen or nylon? Opaque or sheer? Were Cara’s laddered nylons a faux-pas or fashion statement? And can nude tights ever be cool? Just kidding. Obviously, nudes are never okay.

Of course, our tribal preferences are not immune to the diktats of fashion. The tights of the season belong undeniably to Miu Miu. Those Beetlejuice stripes — paired with polka- dot trenches and Forties overcoats — are a declaration of intent. The coolest kids will be wearing quirky tights till spring. Despite a normally unwavering commitment to thick black tights, I find myself mentally rearranging my wardrobe for Miu Miu’s stripes.

Fishnets and slips at YSL have got me wondering if “Parisian stripper” is a credible look. And Chanel’s boot/stocking hybrids look very cosy. At the affordable end, ASOS has eschewed black in favour of tartan, leopard print and pattern — including a very Fifty Shades pair with chains wrapped around the thighs.

Henry Holland’s suspender tights are already back on the Shoreditch beat. Pretty Polly has teamed up with print gurus Patternity on a collection of geometric tights. Pattern is, seemingly, the new black.

“Pretty in punk is a really big trend for us,” explains Sidonie Goldman, PR and marketing manager at Wolford. “Think edgy elegance: there are fishnets and tartan running through our collections for AW13. We also have a lot of hosiery embedded with crystal.”

So are you legs in or legs out? Pattern or plain black? Sheer 20 denier or the dark envelope of 70? I’ve made my bias more than clear, so excuse my final entreaty to join the gang. But really: not even Cara can make prickly goosebumps look good

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