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Sheer nude knee-highs: Kate wears them, so can I?

The Duchess of Cambridge listens to a speaker during a tour of the ENMAX Conservatory at the Calgary Zoo in Calgary, Friday July 8, 2011.

Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The question

I have skinny cropped pants that I wear in warmer weather with a bare foot in ballerina and heeled shoes. In cooler weather, should I switch over to sheer nude knee-highs?

The answer

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I know the papers say that the Duchess of Cambridge normalized the old flesh-coloured nylons by wearing them to summer events, but respectable does not mean sexy. There are few female accoutrements less youthful-looking or less romantic than the dreaded nude knee-high sock. A glimpse of its elastic top will kill even a teenager's hormonal ardour – it looks so medical. It makes one think of bag ladies in parkas and sandals, of ancient gardeners scrabbling in allotments under bridges – you glimpse them from high-speed trains and turn with a fearful shudder back to your electronic screen, ignoring the flashing in your head: My girlfriend, too, will soon grow old; so will I. Stop – stop thinking about it.

But that, believe it or not, isn't actually your primary problem. The problem is not with the hose but with the trousers. What are you doing wearing capri pants, anyway? They break the line of the leg and make you look shorter. What's the upside? And why would you want to wear them in winter, if they make you cold? Ditch the capris – and bear in mind that you can always wear black nylon knee-highs with trousers; just never let anyone see the elastic tops.

Russell Smith's latest novel is Girl Crazy. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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