Byline: Marc Karimzadeh

NEW YORK — As the thermometer reached record heights and boots were being shunned in favor of sneakers and sandals, novelty socks, with cute motifs such as swinging monkeys and frogs, and wide fishnets emerged as top-selling legwear trends with junior retail chains.
Junior merchants said their legwear business is moving along at a steady clip, because juniors are more daring when it comes to dressing their legs with bright color, prints and fun motifs.
“Juniors treat legwear like a bracelet or handbags,” said Anh Tu, accessories buyer at Up Against the Wall, which sells Hot Steps, Leg Avenue and Z International. “A girl may own six to eight prints to go with whatever her outfit is.”
Tu explained that the legwear business is currently 40 percent over last year, mainly driven by graffiti-printed tights and fishnets.
“Fishnets are hot right now, particularly the really large weave ones in black and nude, which are good colors in apparel,” she noted. “A lot of music stars, such as Pink, wear them now, which helps drive sales.”
“Fishnets are very good, and the wide mesh is very good,” said Jeremy Archer, co-owner of three-unit chain Lord of the Fleas.
The store sells socks by Hot Sox and Darn, and Archer said that while black basics continue to sell strongly, bright novelty prints, in blue and turquoise, are increasingly more popular.
“In socks, we are mostly selling striped sheers and lacy looks and a lot of different prints, which corresponds to what is happening in fashion now,” he noted.
At teen catalog and Web site Brat, open-work knits such as lace and crochet currently top legwear trends. “They are popular because of the romantic, peasant and Victorian looks that are happening in sportswear,” said Mike Burwasser, vice president. “Junior customers are influenced by what music groups and the young actresses on teen-oriented shows are wearing.”
Other top sellers at Brat include novelty embroideries such as soccer balls and animal prints, particularly monkeys and frogs.
“Novelty, monkeys or frogs sell better,” said Debi Johnson, merchandise manager at Girlfriends L.A.
Johnson noted that because juniors are starting to wear sandals and sneakers, footlet socks have become a key item.
“[Legwear’s] more utilitarian right now,” she said. “That’s why Peds are popular because you don’t really see them.

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