Sock it to Me

I know I should love lingerie (what with being a girl and everything) but knickers are what get men hot under the collar, for me the undergarment to get excited about is the sock. I’m delighted, therefore, that this winters the world has gone hosiery crazy; with knee high and thigh high socks being the latest leg attire of choice for the fashion forward.

I'm so excited OTN socks are back in, I'm practically doing cartwheels..

Last year, the king of shoes ‘the thigh boot’ made a brief appearance, but the trend didn’t really catch on. I think it was partly practical: it looked hot (and felt it too) but a leg clad entirely in leather made walking a little difficult. Fashion laughing in the face of pedantics or podiatry isn’t anything new. Thankfully, though, this winter it’s all about a softer take on the trend; keeping the lanky silhouette but with the more flattering approach of long socks, heels or boots. So, grab you yourself a pair, pull ‘em high and wiggle your tootsies in delight.

Now, I’m not a big fan of being told how to do something (it’s true, I was a nightmare teenager) mainly because it is usually those that break the fashion rules that say the most about style. However, given that it is a trend that can be associated with schoolgirls, football socks and those things people wear on planes to stop DVT… I thought it might be helpful to give a few small steps towards the hows and wear’s of this season’s socks:

Pick the length wisely: in the same way you would with skirts. Over the knee socks are a focal point and draw attention to your (gorgeous) pins!

Well heeled? Knee socks look girly with heels, strong with knee-high boots and cute with flats.

Beware the bulge… fold down the top of the socks if they are at all tight around your thigh or knees, high socks are slimming but a thigh squeeze can be as unsightly as a muffin top.

Shorter hemlines are best. If you can, be daring, as they expose more leg and imply greater height.

Avoid big knitted socks: not only are they so 2007 (seriously) but I never really liked them anyway; big chunky knits make legs look like sausages. Not so tasty.

Don’t be afraid to layer: it’s really in this year, it keeps you cosy and knee socks worn over sheer, patterned tights can add a whole new dimension to an outfit.  (There’s also some fab ‘fake’ over the knee tights kicking around like these by Henry Holland at Topshop http://www.topshop.com/tights)

Say no to the Schoolgirl look, unless you are. Over the knee and short kilts might work for Gossip Girl but you’ll barely be able to get down the street without wolf whistles, salacious remarks and people presuming you’re in fancy dress.

Over the Top

It’s a gorgeous, sunny Monday, so what better way to start the week than going for a wee walk… down the side of a 100ft building! I kid you not, today I abseiled down the side of Kensington Roof Gardens all in the name of charity (Elizabeth Finn Care).

I arrive; sign a few disclaimers, always a little disconcerting when you’re about to do something dangerous. Then my group gets suited and booted, well helmeted & harnessed and after a brief explanation we’re ready to go. Are we? I’m pretty sure I need to wee.

We get to the ledge and the view is incredible. They try to keep us from looking, worried perhaps that the enormity, or rather height, of what we’re about to do might put us off. There’s a rickety stepladder leading down to the platform. Personally, I consider this more terrifying than the abseil itself; I don’t trust them when painting, let alone on the edge of a 100ft drop. I get down but now any bravado I had has well and truly left the building, from the roof.

Going over the top is the worst part by a mile, because that’s about as far away from the ground as you feel. Then suddenly, I’m away… hanging slightly precariously above Kensington High Street. I’m literally bouncing of the wall when I realize that this is probably the most personal space I’ve had in ages (well, I do live in London). It is an amazing yet terrifically terrifying experience, and before I can see how far I’ve come, I touch down in front of Marks and Spencer’s. Which is handy really, as I’ve run out of milk.

So, there we go: Abseiling – tick! And at least today, this Cat landed on her feet.

PPQ asks a Pretty Personal Question… Do you Fez?

I’m a highstreet girl, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take style cues from the catwalks. The last London fashion Week offered some interesting inspiration, and one particular collection has really stuck in my head…

The PPQ show was the last of the first day at this year’s LFW, so the atmosphere was buzzy, almost celebratory. Which is odd, because this cheery lot fulfilled none of my fashion stereotypes. However, that is very PPQ. It’s the gang of hipsters (what is the collective term?), cool kids and extroverts. PPQ did reinvent the skinny jean after all. Oh yes, and the celebs that were there: Paloma Faith, Jamelia, Amber Rose and out of left field, Reggie Yates.

On to the after party: there were round the block queues to get into the curiously chosen Plaza Hotel, near Waterloo. Perhaps the venue choice had something to do with the coziness of last years, however, this impersonal hotel ballroom felt more conference than concept. A crowded bar and a set by the Like, who although likeable didn’t really blow me away, didn’t do anything to overcome the limitations of the location. However, what I was pleased to see was lots of cool kids wearing H&M. Seriously. I would have expected the fashion elite, not your high street super heroes to be the clothing of choice. What I saw was lots of oversized skirts in sheer fabrics and shorts.

The high street and high fashion really aren’t so far apart…

I’m Running off to Join the Circus [Space]

After discovering, in a fairly wild and mischievous way, earlier this year that I had apenchant for Aerial Hoop (before your naughty minds go any further, it’s a circus art, nothing sordid) I’ve reignited a childhood dream to run off and join the circus. So, this week I’ve signed myself up for an induction at the appropriately named Circus Space: (check it: http://www.thecircusspace.co.uk) it’s like a big-tent nestled into a warehouse in the back of Hoxton. So far, so cool.

When I arrive, we’re sat down and given the health and safety t’s & c’s. Which, thankfully, for all those that were worried, included a note about thin straps and boobs popping out. I feel smug, I’ve got 3 layers on AND a bra. We then move in to one of the awesome sweeping spaces alarming called the Generating Chamber. Feels more SyFy than children’s party. First we warm up; the particularly hot guy leading it gets us to do some skipping, arm swinging & hopping. Ah, now it’s a bit more children’s party. So much for clowning around though, I quickly find myself panting and I must be grimacing as the hot boy grins at me and suggests I smile. I blush instead.

Afterwards, we’re split into two groups. Half for ropes, the other traipeze and the plan is to swap half-way through. In my foursome are two lovely, bubbly girls and a boy; we’ll call him Paul. Seeing as that’s his name it would be odd to call him anything else. Paul is clearly a dancer; he has that walk that looks like someone’s stuck a rod between his bum cheeks, marrionettish. He’s obviously fit and in a group full of girls reckons he’ll be a bit of a dab hand at this circus malarkey. It’s true what they say though, pride comes before a fall off the traipeze.

We learn quickly: Circus is hard and it hurts. A lot. I also notice that one girl might have been particularly nervous about the whole exercise as she swings above our heads and make a mental note never to wear light grey. The lady teaching us is fairly kooky and she seems to take great delight in our inexperience. I like her though and she knows her stuff. After we’ve all had a chance to flail about on the traipeze and tie ourselves in knots on the ropes we’re told we are good enough to sign up for the Circus Arts course. Hurray, I’m in.

Now all I need is a spangly leotard and a ringmaster boyfriend.