what's legs got to do with it?

As per usual: please click on this great MTV video, for your viewing enjoyment.

At some point in my early 20s - after college, pre-meeting Mr. Dot - I was basically living a Carrie-esque existence in NYC. I didn't write a column (I was a freelance graphic designer & art director - I even worked on the early MTV animations) but I had this really fun, creative, and occasionally, glamorous life. My college friend, Dani, had a boyfriend - now husband - who was five years older, and their extended family of friends were just sooo cool. And amongst these friends was a really tall, skinny guy named Ed.

Now Ed - bless him - we were great friends. But he wasn't my type. I had a lot of boyfriends, but not Ed. He'd always say 'why not me?' and I'd say things like 'because you smoke' and he'd stomp out the cigarette, throw the pack away, do all these gestures.. no matter how many excuses I'd come up with, he'd always have an answer. He kept bring up that time, on the boat, when we were leaning on each others' backs the whole ride and he kept saying 'don't deny it, you KNOW there's a connection.' Finally, in desperation, I needed a reason that he could not change, so I told him he was too tall. Fair enough, but he never did stop trying. And then when I'd meet one of their friends, and we'd start liking each other, they'd invariably say 'I can't do this to Ed!'

Too Tall Ed used to sing this song out loud, but his version was 'What's legs got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a leg, when a leg can be broken?'

Which reminds me of something I read recently. They did one of those surveys. I forget the percentage, but a lot of women - a majority vote - wish their legs were longer. Apparently we women own, on average, something like 56 pair of shoes (which means - since I have far less - that somewhere across town, there is a woman with 287 pair, to balance me out). And, also apparently, most of our shoes are very high heels, because we think it makes our legs look longer.

As someone who is average height, or even small - 5'4" - I'm often told I have 'great legs'. I don't even know what this means! I think I have maybe a short torso, so my legs are proportionately longer? No one ever says, for example, that I have a great waist - altho this year it's looking flatter than last. My bum is nothing to write home about, unless you like pancakes. And no one raves about my breasts, which are somewhere between an A and a B - maybe an A+ - and which, for some reason, I've always been rather proud of. They're inoffensive, not very 'in your face'. And, while we're on the subject of perfection: if you scrutinise the photos of these catwalk models - these perfect beings - you'll find some little imperfections here and there. Proof that they're actually, you know, human, after all.

Maybe the thing about legs are, they're a part of our physicality that it's tricky to change, cosmetically. You can't- far as I know - get a leg job. Perhaps you can. Who knows. All I know is, I've been doodling those classic Court shoes - like the Louboutins shown here, at the Holly Fulton show last Feb - (other shots are David Koma, with the polka dots, and the knits are Mark Fast) - since I was a girl. I love the IDEA of wearing heels. In practice, I'm running round most of the time in flip flops, flats, and Converse. Maybe that's the secret to great legs: keep them moving, cupcakes!

And come to think of it: Tina Turner, bless her cotton socks, isn't all that tall, and her legs aren't very long. But they're certainly fabulous!

Must run: things to do, then Vogue's Fashion Night Out tonight. I get overwhelmed figuring out which invites to prioritise, so I'm going to just meet Sabine and we'll do a quick brisk run around for a short time - dressed for speed, not style. It's just a matter of choosing which Converse: the vintage blue or the less old, i.e. seven year old, cream ones.

All photos by me, at the Holly Fulton (Louboutin heels), David Koma (polka dots) and Mark Fast (knits) catwalk shows. Somerset House, Day Four, London Fashion Week, 21 February, 2011.


Style At Every Age said...

Lovely story about Ed, are you still in touch? Love the Loubs and all the fantastic legs in these great pics xx

jill said...

Thanks, Fab. Actually I saw him years later - at a party, he married a really nice woman and gave a group of us a ride home. He's a great guy.

I'm more in touch with Dani & her husband: which reminds me, I should give her a call. Ask how Ed's doing! ; )

Anonymous said...

yep, there is such a thing as a leg job! It's actually called a leg-lengthening surgery. They break your bones and add in a metal device. I believe you can go up to 10 cm. (I know this because I was obsessed with reaching a model's height for a while..haha). But I would really hate it if this became a common surgery in the next years. It's bad enough that I feel short next to everyone even though I'm 5'6'', since I don't like to wear heels.ugh.

styleeast said...

Enjoy Fashion's Night Out, and have fun with Sabine. I was a bit gutted to get the invite after I'd already booked my train (which I'm on now!) xx

Anonymous said...

Love how you've linked the images with this story Jill - I laughed out loud at the part where you told Ed that you going go out with him because he was too tall! I'm completely with you on the shoe front - I gaze in admiration at the people who can walk in beautiful heels, and whenever I'm in shops I always have a cheeky try on just to see how impossible it actually is to walk in them, but in reality the only heels I possess are: two pairs of wedges (so they don't really count, are really quite low wedges, and have straps across the front to prevent my feet escaping if I happen to be running for the bus or anything!) and two pairs of t bar mary janes with low, chunkier heels.

Like you, I live in converse (I'm now up to four pairs and recently had to throw my favourite pair away because I had worn them so much the rubber wore through! To boot they were free, second hand from a friend and they are the best pair of shoes I have EVER owned!)and brogues. I bought a black leather pair from Clarks a few weeks ago and I've been in them ever since. They are so comfortable and easy to walk in AS WELL as being really lovely shoes (which doesn't happen very often) I'm seriously considering buying them in the other colours they are made in so I can wear the same style with other outfits!

I laughed at you 'leg job' comment as well - why would people even want to go through the pain of having METAL implanted into their legs BY CHOICE?! Isn't that just INSULTING to the people who have to have metal implanted into them for medical reasons and hate it?! As to legs, I love my legs. True, they aren't catwalk model-length but they're long enough and healthy and always stay quite tanned and I should be grateful that I have legs that work unlike other, less fortunate people. I'm not going to spend my life fretting that they aren't those few cms longer! I think legs are a great part of the body because I love wearing dresses with wacky multicoloured tights, or cable knit ones in autumnal colours and it just makes me happy! In fact I'd say I'm happier with bright tights on than I am in bear legs - not because I don't like bearing my legs - but with tights I can express myself!

(Sorry for the last paragraph ranting about tights!) Have a lovely weekend Jill, take care xxx

ediot said...

oh legs.
these are fantastic photos. Such stunning detailing in the garments, thanks for the close ups of that as well.
nice tune too.

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Poor Mr. Ed. He does have a sense of humor though.

I love these leggy photos and how you've highlighted that even these glamazons are not perfect. Interestingly, I have a half-edited post that's been sitting on my computer for weeks discussing this whole leg and body image problem, this time from a ballerina's perspective.

Enjoy FNO with Sabine! Can't wait to see the photos you get. xxx

jill said...

Yes Mr. Ed did make me laugh! And they do say, that's the important thing. Then again - Mr. Dot has me in stitches most of the time (not literally, luckily) AND he's cute.

In no particular order - thank you all - Alexandra, you mentioned Clarks - you're not the first person who's said they have a pair of Clarks. I was curious - that brand has had such a, let's just say.. well we all know - anyway, they've got some pretty interesting stuff! But the thing that really caught my eye were the desert boots:

And Alexandra- I love the way you write! It's comforting to know someone else writes long comments on posts. I always feel it's a kind of - gift of one's time. And we're so on the same page.

Anonymous: that leg job sounds HIDEOUS. I'd like to know who has elected for that. But that's just me: I just don't get elective cosmetic surgery, period. Whenever those shows are on tv, I can't switch the channel fast enough. Having nursed and supported both parents through non-elective surgery... I just don't understand. Even my best childhood friend - who is quite let's just say vertically challenged - I can't imagine her going thru something like that.

And StyleEast: you were with us in spirit, darling!


Unknown said...

I love the pop culture touch -such a great song- and legs ensured for millions of dollars. Pfft, celebrities. This makes me feel a bit awkward about my height.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill! I absolutley love the blog, I love how you write and include little personal stories among the pictures- Beautiful!

About long legs! My mum always used to say I have the most amazing long legs! I never used to believe her. My figureskating coach used to say my legs were my very best asset- if I could only learn to control them!!!

I absolutley love heals and used to wear them all the time! Now with driving, cobbled stone floors at the shop and running after kids, I love my trusted converse myself!

LOVE LOVE the story about ed and his version of the tina turner song! made me laugh!!!

I really enjoy your blog! ANd lovely to meet you briefly the other day- Lucie speaks very highly of you!

Anne K @631 the ramp

adrielleroyale said...

Suddenly, looking at these pictures, I'm amazed that we can all walk in these heels! Look at their feet! Anyway, loved the back story too :)

Mulika Harnett said...

I am that woman with the 278 pairs that is balancing you out! Does that mean I get to claim some sort of compensation?!

And yes, what a great lead-in story.