Why bare legs are a national style crime

By Lauren Bravo on March 23rd, 2010 3 comments

wenn2711201.jpgLauren Bravo writes:

Fact for the day: did you know that in France, a girl wearing a winter coat with a miniskirt and bare legs is said to be dressing “a l’anglaise”? It’s true, I heard it somewhere.

Now, I’m not suggesting we should all be cowering with collective national shame – after all, our oh-so-chic Gaelic cousins have never quite understood British style endeavours. Across the channel, fashion rules prevail with the force of William the Conqueror. No black with brown or navy, no cleavage, no garish makeup, no dyed hair, non non non! We, meanwhile, are categorised by our somewhat ‘laissez-faire’ attitude toward dressing (I believe in translation that means “falling headfirst into a wardrobe and wearing whatever comes out stuck to you”), complete with daring ‘dos, colour clashing and yes, maybe, a little flesh-flashing when the mood takes us.

But I can’t help feeling that on this occasion, maybe we should pay heed to les femmes françaises. Because if they think that the English are a nation of under-clothed Cinderellas, wandering numbly through the snow with our legs out, I’m afraid I’m inclined to agree with them. Zeut alors.

Unseasonal bare legs are becoming something of an epidemic, sweeping the country like a monster from a ’50s B-movie. It’s practically sport, on an average night out, to keep a tally of every girl you see sporting the stilettos-and-blue-veined-stubble look, complete with massive coat poached off a man under the guise of helpless femininity (Why these blokes never just say “You should have dressed for January then, you silly bint” will remain an eternal mystery). Bonus points if it is raining, or she is walking barefoot and carrying her shoes.

Why, then? Aside from a lyrca allergy or maybe malaria, I can’t find a single reason for bare legs with a mini before June. Our shops are well-stocked with tights of every colour and print imaginable, leggings are still riding first-class on the trend train, and this season we have the additional pleasure of socks to toy with – yet so many women still plump for the chicken skin and hypothermia.

Obviously British Weather is partly to blame. In our flighty climate, particularly during these transitional months, it’s hard to know what to wear. Put on the big coat and the sun will come out, put on the little jacket and it will start snowing as soon as you get to the bus stop. And this is coupled with our traditional hardiness, and proud optimism where the onset of summer is concerned. It’s the same reason we go out and buy a Calippo as soon as we hear a bumblebee, and spend our bank holidays sitting on pebble beaches under a blanket saying “Well, isn’t this nice?”

Then there’s the celebrity factor. Celebs do bare legs all the time, and yes, most of the time they look ruddy gorgeous.But as far as I can deduce, being famous means you become suddenly impervious to weather. You don’t feel cold, or wind, or rain, and so you can stay committed to the cause of leg-baring on red carpets throughout the winter months. As an antidote to this deception, I suggest you look in the mirror before a night out and ask yourself: Am I a celebrity? Am I going to the Brits? Or am I in fact a normal girl, going to a Wetherspoons in Chorley?

On that note, ladies, think of all the great reasons there are to keep your legs covered until summer. For starters, the obvious: you won’t need to shave! You’ll save so much time! Take up crochet or something (in fact, crochet yourself some long johns, there’s a plan). Then the almost-as-obvious: you will be WARMER. You can stop borrowing coats from men, you won’t have to do that frostbitten hobble to the kebab shop, and hell, you might not even NEED the kebab because you won’t be losing as much of your body heat through your thighs.

There are also style kudos to be earned – much as the WAG contingent of our glossies has been trying to persuade us otherwise, true fashionistas know the truth: miniskirts were just made to be worn with tights. Think about it; it’s the reason they were both invented in the ’60s. With tights you can go even shorter, cover your modesty, save yourselves from blisters, make a handy tea strainer if needed, and avoid people asking if you’ve ever witnessed an English November before.

Yes, I am prepared to add this matter to the list of Things the French Get Right, under steak, Chanel, cheese and Thierry Henry. Come summer, you can frolic around as bare legged as you like. But for now, I will say zis only once: leave the goosebumps on the frogs’ legs, and keep yours under wraps.

Photo: The Saturdays out on the town in January. Yes, January.
Credit: Will Alexander/Wenn.com

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  • anonymous

    I’m a Candian who spent a fair bit of time in Wales, and what surprised me was the sandal-wearing that went well into the winter months. Quite unnecessary.

  • Lariz

    1. A woman in trousers never looks as good as a woman in a skirt.
    2. A woman in a skirt with pantyhose never looks as good as a woman in a skirt with bare legs.
    3. A woman in a skirt with bare legs in HOT WEATHER never looks as good as a woman in a skirt with bare legs in THE COLD.
    Sexual attractivity expresses itself by good health. Women showing off their legs in the cold prove that they have good genes and resist to the weather.

  • Raina

    Oh get over it! It’s fun to “bare legs”! Especially pretty healthy ones that have been worked out and toned up. It’s comfortable, freeing, sexy, delicious…

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