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Will pastel tights make me look like a schoolgirl? Add to ...

I've been seeing a lot of pastel tights for spring. How on earth does a grown woman wear these and not look like she's in grade school?

It's tricky, isn't it. The alarming fact is that a large number of accoutrements considered feminine is also considered small, weak and youthful - in other words, girlish. The ideal woman over the past few hundred years of fashion has been treading a careful line between girly cute and creepily infantile. Social biologists may go on about evolution - youth means fertility, fertility is attractive to males - but even I find it troubling that I am helplessly attracted to opaque coloured tights on women of all ages. Are they pulling on some deeply buried proto-sexual kindergarten attraction? Or is it pointless to agonize over my natural desires? Worry about this if you like, but, if you are too nervous about appearing childlike, the danger is that you will end up dressing sternly and soberly, which is no fun. I say wear them with whatever you like - it's acting like a grownup that's the more important thing.

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy, was recently published.

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