Time for a little hosiery hoopla

Winter leg art promises to be wonderfully frivolous with patterned tights and stockings. You'll see polka dots, paisleys, plaids, and prints galore. And if those don't strike your fancy, there are checks, stripes, herringbone, and lace. In France, black mesh with floral and bow-knot designs has moved into the limelight, along with the return of the out-and-out vamp in seamed hosiery. That means going back to the constant chore of keeping those seams straight: There's nothing worse than a serpentine line up the back of the legs. Stockings with ``clocks'' -- those are the decorative tendrils or motifs that set off the ankle bones -- are also being revived.

Fortunately, those with strait-laced tastes can breathe a sigh of relief, because the fall fashion circuit still includes conservative foot and leg wear. If you have a closet full of pumps and oxfords and a drawerful of plain nylons, bring them out and wear them. Today's fashion hoopla still hasn't been able to nudge out the classic look. -- Margaret Dean

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