Hosiery in fashion: The fall and rise of over the knee socks

Over the knee socks are in right now

Over the knee socks: back on the runway

Over the knee socks are laden with cultural references, for sports fans they bring back memories of their favourite players on the football field. Then there are the numerous school connotations, from St Trinian’s girls school to 90s flick: Clueless. Over the knee socks come in many styles, from thick woolen fabrics to sheer looks with a focus on print and pattern.

And this season they are back, over-the-knee socks are making their catwalk rise again. Spotted at Fendi in Milan just today and Tommy Hilfiger in London earlier this week, over the knee socks are set to take us through A/W 17 and into S/S18, according to designers.

Fendi : Milan Fashion Week

Tommy Hilfiger

And where has this sudden rise come from? Well, we’ve taken a look back through our WGSN fashion archive to chronicle the recent fall and rise of this hosiery must-have.

SXSW 2013: The street style influence. Hip-hop influenced fashion was a key look at the festival, drawing inspiration from 90s R&B acts and Rihanna, think: midriff-baring crop tops and cut-off tops, teamed with knee-length and over-the-knee socks and sneakers. Raw, cut-off hems added a DIY element, while gold chunky jewellery and caps completed the look.

A/W 14/15 -Women’s footwear dictates the hosiery. The resurgence of brands such as Dr Marten’s drove an interest in school shoe styling. Flat and heavy T-bars and and sensible lace-ups in black were important for juniors through to older markets. Styling was essential here, such as school shoes paired with socks and midi-skirts for childlike looks or with over-the-knee socks and miniskirts for a more rebellious look.

Forever 21

Patent T Bar shoes by Topshop

2014- On the football field. Even before his dramatic exit from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Neymar Jr’s on-field skill and off-field style was making waves. And his signature style? Over-the-knee socks and custom gold Nike HyperVenoms.

S/S 15: Sheer hosiery- a jovial/ commercial edge. This season saw retailers stocking fun, fashionable, faux over-the-knee tights with sheer tops and opaque bottoms. The key feature: cut-out cat faces, heart shapes, bunny ears and geometric designs.

A/W 15/16- The over-the-knee sock on the catwalk. Grungy over-the-knee socks in black and grey were worn with lace-up boots and flats for a commercial, youthful look.

Courreges A/W 15

Paul Costelloe A/W15

S/S 16 – A street style staple again. A key item that we spotted in Milan, Paris and Tokyo. The over-the-knee sock makes a comeback, with styles in soft pink hues feeling particularly new. This item can be easily styled with trainers or heels, in contrasting or tonal colours.

Tokyo street style

Paris street style

Milan street style





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