How To Style Fishnets Like A Fashion Girl
Fishnets are one of those accessories you may have considered, only to decide you could never pull them off. Fair enough. These bad boys may be best known in traditional sense for being sexually suggestive, subversive even. Best left to flappers, punk rockers and Madonna. Which is the disquiet when giving this textile styling look a try.
A Brief History of Fishnets....
Fishnet stockings have an alluring history full of edgy ethos. Adding a hint of subtle sexuality, they became popular with flappers in the 1920’s as hemlines rose (to below the knee – gasp.) Punks of the 70s made them more extreme, with rips and tears. Then 80s pop goddess and fashion icon Madonna took the look to a whole new level by dressing in fishnet tops, gloves, and body suits. Come the 90s, fishnet became a normalized mainstay within the fashion realm.
The suggestive connotation of this garment has made it a symbol of “sex” but it has also served as a bit of an “F-YOU” to the male gaze. In some ways the fishnet stocking represents western culture’s obsession with the putting women in a box, sexually speaking. You are either a good girl or a bad girl. In sexual politics, women are often viewed as one or the other, limiting sexual expression, by only offering two exclusive ways to construct a sexual identity. (Prude/trashy, respected/desired.) Which is totally backwards. Fishnets are delightfully gratifying in that they show some skin, but don't reveal all, allowing women to play with this dichotomy on their own terms. Fashion should be about looking past labels (literally and figuratively) and breaking down stereotypes.
Today, these fashion-forward tights are having a major comeback in the street style scene, and all it takes is the right amount of inspiration to work them into your current wardrobe. Styled right, they become a mixture of mordern and cool. Isn’t that how fashion works? It takes a risky (or in this case risqué) fashion move and morphs it into a trend.
There are a few ways to approach fishnet tights to keep them looking current. One is to view them as an add-on accessory, letting them peak through your ripped jeans or showing off a few inches just above the waistline. (Done with a cropped top and high-rise bottoms.)
The other way is to let them be the focal point, keeping the punk vibes strong in a mini skirt with heavy boots for an outfit that is sure to turn heads.
Fishnets are an easy and inexpensive way to add a touch of tough of edge to your favorite dressed-down ensemble. (You can usually find them for under $10.) Plus, a netted layer does an amazing job of emphasizing curves and accentuating tone definition.
I went for a layering trifecta (read up on my third piece post here) with an oversized leopard print as my outerwear (à la Olsen twin) with a black long-line blazer, and a sweatshirt/tee combo. Keeping the look street-cool, with classic white sneaks and a slouchy beanie. (I literally grabbed this hat in the grocery store checkout lane one day. Ha! You never know where fashion inspiration may be lurking.)
Still not convinced? Scroll through Instagram, or pictures from fashion week around the world. You will see fishnets are indeed everywhere. Layered with cropped pants, letting the upper ankle make a subtle play, or with loafers for a ladylike twist. Styled grunge, with a graphic tee and bold print jacket (as leopard and fishnet is never too much) or with a simple 90s slip dress. You can always take it a little softer in a white, nude or a pale color pallet, or even more delicate ankle socks. Play around with dimensions, as the design can be can be small diamonds or large-scale checks. The latter seems to own the fashion elite’s consensus.
If you are feeling inspired, the modern fishnet is all about taking a fashion risk with unexpected parings, so be bold. While the fishnet may appeal to the male gaze, it has always been a symbol of reclaimed female sexuality. Fishnets say: "I know you think I'm a tease, and I don't care." In other words, fishnets are all about female empowerment, which of course, is always in style.
Coat: Nicole Miller (old, similar here) Longline Blazer: Urban Outfitters Silence + Noise (similar here and here) Sweatshirt: Old (similar here) Tee: Brandy Melville Jeans: Forever 21 Distressed Boyfriend Hat: Old Fishnets: Forever 21 (similar here) Necklace: Satin Choker Shoes: Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers Lips: Revlon 001 Nude Nails: Essie Go Go Geisha
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What are your thoughts? Do you already own or a pair of fishnets or are you snatching up a pair to wear this season?