Fishnets out of water

Ode to a diamond-patterned glimpse of skin.


Salon Staff
February 13, 2001 1:21AM (UTC)

I may have missed the birth of punk by 10 years and 10,000 miles, but trends creep slowly into suburbia, and when I hit high school in the mid-'80s punk was still hanging around. My best friend was a blue-haired lesbian who made her own culottes from camouflage material she picked up at a thrift store. We'd pull on military jackets from Army-Navy surplus stores and slather on cheap black lipstick that left a gummy paste on our teeth before going to dance to, yep, Bauhaus.

It was the purposefully torn fishnets that were my most secret thrill -- the peep-show tights that, when I laced them up my legs, transformed me from 15-year-old straight-A student to slutty sexpot. I only had the guts to wear my fishnets a handful of times during high school, they were that powerful. And then, as I outgrew the slatternly ways of the alternative youth lifestyle, I retired them for the safety of opacity and demure little Hues patterns coordinated with my skirt color.

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But fishnets are back, thanks, perhaps in part, to the fashion industry's recent flirtation with punk, and I recently ran out and bought four pairs in beige and black. Although I may not be totally embracing the return of some of my youthful fashion indiscretions (leather pants I can appreciate, but I draw the line at safety pins and the intentionally ugly), I'm thrilled to have a winter-warmth alternative to collegiate cotton stockings or secretary hose.

Fishnets turn the most mundane office-friendly outfit into a sexy come-on -- that diamond-patterned glimpse of skin -- without the tawdry implications of miniskirts or leopard skin or Lycra. Think the Folies Bergère, the fancy French whore in her satins smoking a cigarillo; it's a whiff of glamour in a white paper package.

This time, though, I wear them without the rips. I hope Vivienne Westwood would still approve.

-- Janelle Brown


Salon Staff

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