Skirting The Issue

I’m stuck in a black opaque tights fashion trap. I wear them pretty much every single day. I don’t own a pair of jeans and I don’t feel comfortable in trousers. In fact, I only wear skirts or dresses and tights. I’m weird.

Black opaque tights are the Volkswagen Golf of the fashion world – fail safe and trustworthy. I’ve begun to dislike my ageing knees but enveloped in 60 denier, all nobbles are covered (Marks and Spencer’s Autograph Velvet Touch 60 denier, since you’re asking – trust me, I’ve tried them all); I can’t even begin to comprehend a future without them.

For a couple of years, I was quite happily cantering around at work, 60 denier-clad shanks on display until… disaster! Someone at work allegedly bent over a child in a strappy top and managed to expose an inappropriate amount of cleavage. This led to a lot of serious talk from the powers-that-be, followed by a new dress code thrust into our hands – ironically, on the very same day I had chosen to showcase my rather short pillar-box red Whistles mini-skirt.

The dress code said: No strappy tops (obvs – see cleavagegate); No leggings; Skirts to just above the knee; Culottes acceptable.

Skirts to just above the knee? CULOTTES?!

One stray boob and we were all paying the price.

I trudged dismally home and peered ruefully into my wardrobe. Of my many skirts, 90 per cent fell into the category of ‘above knee’.

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I wasn’t alone. A stealth group had formed at work. Let’s call us the Skirt Crusaders. We had one thing in common: hitched up hemlines and a depleted work wardrobe.

For a few weeks, we all played it safe: trousers and pencil skirts being the order of the day. There wasn’t a flash of thigh in sight – 60 denier or not. I even went as far as purchasing a long maroon circle skirt. The husband said I looked like a member of the Amish community. I toyed with the idea of a pair of culottes but then realised that I’d look like a Victorian school ma’am. The threat of only being able to shop at Long Tall Sally hung over us all like a grey cloud.

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One Skirt Crusader broke protocol and arrived at work in a thigh-skimming grey number. In my mind, the length of it was okay. But later that day, she was summoned to the big cheese’s office and told that although she had a ‘lovely figure’, she needed to show a little more decorum in her choice of skirts. Can you think of anything more mortifying?

After the hemline hoo-ha had died down, the skirts gradually began to creep back in: an a-line skirt here and pair of leggings there. I began to wear the odd above-knee skirt again but unzipping it slightly at the back to gain a few extra inches. It’s like when you used to roll your skirt up at school – only in reverse. My long legs had become the enemy.

I’ve been on ‘Skirt Watch’ for a while now. The worries of old seem to be diminishing. My fellow Skirt Crusader decided to brave another risqué skirt the other day. I observed it quietly, with a knowing nod of acknowledgement – but later made the following report:

‘Hello Long Limbs. Well, today’s skirt was certainly borderline, with the split at the front flashing the odd extra inch of thigh. It wasn’t quite grey skirt territory but I would describe it as your boldest move yet. However, the length was tempered by the black tights and black pumps, complemented further by the black polo neck. This created a slightly deceiving silhouette. In conclusion, this particular number was passable – just.’

She appreciated my honest feedback.

There’s a new boss at work. Rumours have circulated that he’s already said, ‘I don’t want to be able to see up it or down it’. This might be a myth though.

The black opaques are still going strong.

But, for now, the red Whistles mini-skirt has gone into retirement.

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